The importance of preventive medicine

Published 9:03 am Friday, August 16, 2019

By Judith Victoria Hensley

Plain Thoughts

Taking steps to prevent sickness or disease is referred to as preventive medicine. If we can keep ourselves healthy, it is certainly easier to do than to let our health fail and then try to fix it.

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I’m preaching to myself, too. I know the importance of regular exercise. I know the importance of a good night’s sleep. I know the importance of a balanced healthy diet. Responsibilities of caring for others often cause me to let time slip away and to ignore my own needs. It’s nobody’s fault but my own.

I can manage my time better. I can plan a calendar more efficiently so that I have time to keep my appointments. I can plan around working out and doing what is good for me.

A simple thing that most people fail to do that makes an important difference in health for everybody is to make sure to drink enough water. Coffee, tea, diet soda, or any other liquid is not as healthy as drinking an adequate amount of water every day.

I can say with certainty that there is not a woman alive in her right mind who enjoys or looks forward to a mammogram. Men have no clue the discomfort and stress it can cause a woman, but it is essential as preventative medicine. Breast cancer found in its earliest stages makes all the difference in the woman’s chances for survival.

For men, a prostate exam is important. It might not be a preferred doctor’s visit, but as in women and mammograms, for men it is very important. An early diagnosis can make a huge difference.

Smokers have no one to blame but themselves if they refuse to give up their cigarettes and end up with lung cancer. According to, 90% of lung cancers happen in cigarette smokers. It might be hard to quit, but it’s certainly easier than the alternative.

My family has had a multitude of medical appointments in the last couple of years. No one enjoys waiting endlessly in a doctor’s office, but I never mind the time and energy devoted to making sure my parents and I get the medical attention we need on a regular basis. I don’t want any of us to get scared or be hypochondriacs about every little thing that comes along, but I would much rather spend the time making sure we are taking measures to stay healthy than to not.

Preventive medicine is also called preventive health care. Some clinics offer health screenings to check blood pressure, blood sugar, and a multitude of other factors in a person’s health in one visit.

According to Community Cares Rx, “Preventive services are the most basic form of health care recommended for all individuals. Unfortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that Americans only use them at about half the recommended rate. They also predict that if everyone in the U.S. received the recommended level of clinical preventive care, more than 100,000 deaths could be prevented each year. Today, more than 900,000 Americans die prematurely each year from the five leading causes of death —heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, stroke, and unintentional injuries. Between 20 and 40 percent of these deaths could be avoided by taking preventive steps.”

If a person loves their family and cares for them, they also need to extend this love to themselves and take care of their own health. This is one of the greatest gifts we can give to those whom we love, staying alive, staying healthy, and sharing a quality of life with them that results from good health.