Many people only consider making a doctor’s appointment after they’re already sick, be it innocuous symptoms like coughing or a runny nose, or in some extreme cases, only seek medical care for more extreme symptoms like vomiting. This mentality of only seeing a doctor when sick completely overlooks one of the best ways to stay healthy, preventative care.

What is Preventative Care?
Preventative care is essentially any treatment or care that takes place before symptoms begin to arise. This includes check-ups, yearly physicals, routine dental cleanings and x-rays, vaccines, and regular tests and exams. These preventative care measures give your healthcare professionals the ability to notice changes and symptoms that you might not see. Increased cholesterol levels in blood work could indicate hypertension; high bilirubin levels could be a sign of kidney problems, etc.

Why Use Preventative Care?
Many life-altering or chronic conditions start as a preventable or treatable disorder, the most common of these being certain forms of diabetes, heart disease, and early stages of cancer. Without preventative care, high cholesterol or hypertension can go unnoticed until it becomes a major issue. This can result in being on cholesterol medication for the rest of your life or getting a CABG (Cardiac Artery Bypass Graft) to direct blood flow around blocked arteries. This is assuming you, or your healthcare provider catches the condition before it results in death.

Since 7 in 10 deaths result from chronic conditions often treatable or manageable if caught early, preventative screening can improve your quality of life and help you financially in the long run, as the treatment for chronic conditions can get expensive, even with insurance.

Other Benefits of Preventative Care
There are a few other lesser-known benefits of preventative care. One is that preventative care provides you with peace of mind. It can be incredibly liberating knowing you don’t have to worry about heart problems, liver disorders, or other chronic conditions, thanks to routine check-ups.

Another benefit is it establishes a clear medical history. A clear medical history helps doctors focus on specific symptoms or rule out certain potential causes for symptoms when you do get sick. For example, if you have antibodies for a disease due to having it in the past, doctors can potentially rule out that disease when trying to diagnose you. Alternatively, if you have a predisposition towards certain conditions like chronic upper respiratory issues, your doctors might start testing for things like pneumonia.

Preventative care is an integral part of establishing and maintaining your health. Keeping up with proper preventative care can not only prevent serious health risks later down the line, but it can also help save you the expense of treatments for chronic diseases.