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Preventive health care services include annual checkups, patient counseling and screening to help prevent illness, disease and other underlying health issues that might otherwise go undetected. They can save and lengthen your life. Preventive health care is meant to keep healthy people healthy.
Detecting health-related issues before they get out of hand gives you a better chance of a full recovery. While you may not think about going to the doctor unless you’re sick, consider yearly check-ups. Preventive measures like these will help you live a healthier, fuller life so you can keep doing the things you love most.
By keeping up with primary care and preventive health, your provider will track four important numbers that are indicative of your overall health. Here’s a briefing of the numbers that count the most when it comes to maintaining whole-person wellness.
1. Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a leading cause of heart failure and stroke. Also called hypertension, high blood pressure can cause blockages in the arteries, reducing the flow of oxygen to the heart and making it work harder.
The American Heart Association guidelines for blood pressure and treatment are:
Normal: Under 120/80
Stage 1 Hypertension: 130-139/80-89
Stage 2 Hypertension: Higher than 140/90
Your provider will help you understand what new target numbers mean for you, and if any treatment is necessary. Treatment may include a heart-healthy diet, more physical activity or medication to help control your blood pressure.
Cholesterol is a naturally occurring substance that is found in the body and produced in the liver and other cells. It can also come from eating foods that are high in fat. High levels of cholesterol can cause blockages of the arteries, potentially leading to a heart attack.
A desirable total cholesterol level is less than 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). An annual blood test can monitor your levels and help your doctor make recommendations tailored to your health.
3. Blood Sugar
High blood sugar levels may indicate that you have diabetes or pre-diabetes, two conditions that can greatly increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. The American Heart Association considers diabetes to be one of the major controllable risk factors for heart disease.
A normal blood sugar level after fasting is 100 mg/dL.
4. Body Mass Index (BMI)
Being overweight or obese is a major risk factor in many life-threatening diseases, including diabetes, cancer, high cholesterol, metabolic syndrome and heart disease. Your BMI is a calculation based on your height and weight and can indicate whether you are overweight or obese.
People are considered overweight starting at a BMI of over 25 and obese at 30 or higher.
Those 15 Minutes Count
Your annual physical takes fifteen minutes out of your year that counts toward a lifetime of wellness. Your simple health screening gives you the data you need to live a healthy life. Talk to your primary care provider about what preventive measures or screenings are right for you.
Your doctor can also assess your heart health at your annual physical, an important part of managing your whole health.
This is just one of many reasons you should visit one of our convenient Health Park locations, where you’ll find all the health care services you need under one roof, from primary care and specialty care to imaging, physical therapy and much more.