Preventive Services for Healthy Living

Preventive Services for Healthy Living

What can I do to keep myself healthy?

The choices you make about the way you live are important to your health. Here are some choices you can make to help yourself stay healthy:


What can my doctor do to help me stay healthy?

In addition to treating you when you are sick, your doctor can follow a program designed to help you stay healthy. This program tells the doctor which preventive services are needed for people at different ages.

  • Don’t use any form of tobacco.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all.
  • Don’t use illegal drugs.
  • Practice safe sex.
  • Use seat belts (and car seats for children) when riding in a car or truck.
  • See your doctor regularly for preventive care.

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What is a “preventive service”?

A preventive service might be a test, or it might be advice from your doctor. Preventive services can include the following:
  • Tests (also called screenings) to check your general health or the health of certain parts of your body
  • Regular measurements of weight, cholesterol levels and blood pressure
  • Advice about diet, exercise, tobacco, alcohol and drug use, stress and accident prevention
  • Immunizations (“shots”) for both children and adults
  • Special tests at certain times in your life, such as during pregnancy and after age 50

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Will my doctor tell me which preventive services I need?

Yes. Follow your doctor’s advice about checkups, about healthy life choices and about medicines that prevent health problems, such as blood pressure medicine. Preventive services are sometimes offered in your community (for example, blood pressure tests at the local shopping center). If you’re not sure you need the service being offered, ask your doctor.

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Who pays for preventive services?

Most health insurance companies pay for at least some preventive services. If you aren’t sure what your insurance will cover, read your health plan’s patient manual or call the health plan’s office.

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What preventive services do women need?

Adult women should have their weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked regularly. They should also have a Pap test at least every 3 years to screen for cervical cancer starting at age 21 or approximately 3 years after they have sex for the first time. After the age of 40, women should have a mammogram every 1 to 2 years to screen for breast cancer. After the age of 50, they should also be tested for colorectal cancer. These are routine tests that everyone should have. If your doctor orders these tests for you, it does not mean he or she thinks you have cancer. Your doctor will also make sure you have all the shots you need.

Your doctor may give you advice about exercise and diet. For example, your doctor may tell you how much calcium you need to prevent bone problems, or he or she may talk to you about taking folic acid before you get pregnant and lowering the fat and cholesterol in your diet. Your doctor may also give you advice about alcohol and drug use and sexually transmitted infections. As you get close to menopause, your doctor will talk to you about hormone replacement therapy. Your doctor may also talk to you about injury prevention practices, such as using seat belts and having smoke detectors in your home.

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What preventive services do men need?

Adult men should have their weight, cholesterol levels and blood pressure checked regularly. Men older than 50 should be tested for colorectal cancer. If your doctor orders this test, it does not mean he or she thinks you have cancer. This is a routine test that everyone should have. Your doctor will also make sure you have all the shots you need.

Your doctor may talk to you about the importance of diet and exercise, testing for prostate cancer and avoiding alcohol, tobacco, drugs and sexually transmitted infections. Your doctor may also talk to you about injury prevention practices, such as using seat belts and having smoke detectors in your home.

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What preventive services do children need?

Shots are one of the most important preventive services for children. Shots (also called vaccines) protect children from diseases such as polio, measles and mumps.

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A note about vaccines

Sometimes the amount of a certain vaccine cannot keep up with the number of people who need it. More info…

Your doctor will check your child to make sure he or she is growing and developing properly.Your doctor will tell you what you can do to keep your child’s teeth healthy.Your doctor may also give you advice about how to keep your child safe from accidents and injuries (for example, using car seats and seat belts and keeping your child away from poisons and electric outlets). Your doctor will also talk to you about teaching your child healthy eating habits and exercise habits. Your doctor can tell you how to teach your child about the dangers of drugs, alcohol and tobacco. You can also ask your doctor for tips on how to talk to an older child about avoiding pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and AIDS.

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Other Organizations

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Written by editorial staff.

American Academy of Family Physicians

Reviewed/Updated: 08/07
Created: 09/00

31 Responses

  1. I think that “preventative services” or “prevention” is a misnomer. The various steps advised in this and other articles as we get to differerent life stages can at best lower the risk of diseaseas like breast or prostate cancer, not prevent them. I’ve addressed this in my book, Conquer Prostate Cancer (
    For instance, not smoking at all and not drinking alcohol excessively, – and much more (no or litte red meat, plenty of antioxidants through selected vegetables, etc.) can reduce the chances of getting cancer by a factor of five, ten or even twenty. But steps you should take to lower the risk of getting cancer do not guarantee you’ll prevent cancer onset.
    For now we also have to rely on having good genes and a safe, non-toxic environment, – matters which are not under individual control.
    So keep taking steps to lower the personal and collective risks known to cause cancer;, but with so many variables, don’t assume we can prevent cancer iteself,

  2. […]If you able to always stay on your healthy eating plan you’ll feel that eating healthy foods isn’t a diet but it’ll become your living habit[…]

  3. The old saying that prevention is better that cure has never made more sense than it does today. With the rising cost of doctor and hospital visits, going natural when it comes to personal care is option number one.

    The human body with all it’s splendor, creativity, and limitless wisdom, has many “can’t afford to miss daily routines”. Despite our ability to advance technology and fix the economy, we seem to have dropped the ball on the “can’t afford to miss daily routine” of showering and moisturizing our bodies.

    We all have some sort of annual budget subconsciously allocated for things like “seasonal name brand clothes” and “fancy restaurant meals” but not much attention to detail is placed on finding out what ingredients are in our “everyday usage bath & body skincare products”. Have you ever noticed that the moment you get out of the shower your skin feels very dry, which then leads you to automatically apply lotion? Some will say it’s because of the water, but is it really just that simple?

    The truth of the matter is, the inexpensive five pack of bar soap that you love to throw in the shopping cart along with the inexpensive bottle of lotion that tags along is not really your friend and further more, these same soaps and lotions were not designed to work together to save you money.

    These “mass produced basic popular skincare products” were designed for you to consume as much of it as possible in a relatively short period of time, then return for a refill and do it all over again. Now don’t get me wrong, if the ingredients used in these products were beneficial for your long term health, then everything would be fine but that is to the contrary.

    The good news is, “A Forward Thinking Company” named ARDNIBody NATURALS did all this research and have compiled everything all in one place. Now we can all learn for ourselves and do something about it.

  4. I wouldnt call these preventative services as they do not prevent you getting ill i would call them more along the lines of health assistant services since they assist you to stay healthy not prevent you from getting ill.

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