As a family physician, my focus is to try to keep my patients well. I would rather spend my time counseling my patients to wellness than prescribing increasingly unaffordable medications and treatments.
The one advantage of the affordable care act is that it legislated coverage for screening tests, physical exams, and vaccinations. I can see my patients yearly, do a physical exam, and check cholesterol and blood glucose without worrying about how much it will cost. Vaccinations are updated to prevent tetanus, pneumonia, and other infectious diseases. Age-determined cancer screenings can be ordered. Screening colonoscopies are covered to check for the polyps that can lead to colon cancer-preventing cancer from ever developing.
With the onslaught of high deductible plans, patients should take advantage of these wellness services. Treating disease is expensive. Would you rather have help losing 10 pounds or take a medication that will drain your wallet not just for the cost of the drugs, but the follow up office visits and blood testing?
Another advantage of the pursuit of wellness is to avoid those conditions such as dementia, cancer, and heart disease that are so dependent on our day-to-day choices.
Exercise reduces the risk of diabetes, heart attack, and stroke, along with certain cancers such as colon, breast, uterus, and lung. According to the Centers for Disease Control, only a few lifestyle choices have as large an impact on your health as physical activity. People who are physically active for about 7 hours a week have a 40 percent lower risk of dying early than those who are active for less than 30 minutes a week.
What can you do? Make an appointment for a ‘wellness’ evaluation with your personal doctor here at Montrose. Even Medicare pays for this now. Get online at the CDC and look for their prevention pages. You can enter your age, sex, etc. and get a list of the current recommendations. Print it out and take it to your doctor. Write down any particular concerns you have regarding your family history of disease. Talk to your family about illnesses that might impact your health and share that with your doctor.
Take charge of your health, not just your health care. Your choices now impact the length and quality of your lives.
Make a step towards wellness today!
Cynthia Weinstein MD