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Thoughts on Preventative Medicine (1 of 3)

Posted: February 23, 2014 at 10:43 am by

My grandfather had many interesting expressions. One of my favorites was “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

You bring your car in for an oil change every 3000 miles. So why not treat your body similarly.

Preventive care has been shown to be the most cost-effective care that can be provided. Whether its immunizations to prevent common serious illnesses, screening mammograms or colonoscopy the evidence is clear. Done properly, screening saves lives.

Lets start with the easy stuff. Blood pressure, height and weight should be checked every 1-2 years. Over 40, these should be checked annually. Lifestyle changes and medication can be useful in treating hypertension. And if you are overweight, losing a few pounds can make all the difference.

Eye exams are important, largely because the symptoms of early glaucoma can go unnoticed. Between 20 and 39, it is recommended that you have a one-time comprehensive exam. Between 40-54 screening should be done every 2-4 years. At age 55, screening moves to every 1-2 years. Your opthalmologist will test your intraocular pressure during the exam (which is completely painless). High values may indicate glaucoma.

Those are the basics, I’ll delve deeper next week.

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