In this Feb. 23, 2012 photo, family nurse practitioner Terrance James, left, examines Kamiyan Cooper, 1, as his mother, Kesha Wilson, holds him at the Multnomah County’s Mid County Health Center, in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer/File)
January is a great month to set goals for the year. For many people, their goals involve being healthier—eating healthy foods, getting more exercise or losing weight. One part of being healthier is to not only reverse health problems but to stop illness or disease before they happen, which is referred to as preventive health care.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes preventive health care as “health services like screenings, check-ups and patient counseling that are used to prevent illnesses, disease and other health problems, or to detect illness at an early stage when treatment is likely to work best.”
Researchers have determined which preventive services are most helpful based on a person’s age and health status. There are many different tests or procedures that people can have to monitor their health throughout their lifetime. Health care professionals will make suggestions based on people’s age and personal and family health history. But, in general, preventive health services include: