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Preventive health care


The most important part of preventive health care is maintaining good health habits. This includes:

In addition to these habits, some screening services may help prevent or minimize disease.

1. It is important and recommended for adults to have the following periodic screening tests:

See also: Physical exam frequency

2. Many diseases can be effectively treated when detected early. See your primary health care provider right away if:

  • A lump or persistent sore appears on your body.
  • You have unexplained weight loss.
  • You have a lasting fever.
  • You develop a chronic cough.
  • You notice continued body aches and pains.

Have a plan for getting professional care before the need arises.

3. Keep immunizations up-to-date. See: Immunizations - general overview


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Accessed February 22, 2009.

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Guide to clinical preventive services 2008. Rockville, MD. 2008. AHRQ publications 08-05122.

Woolf SH. Principles of preventive health care. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2007:chap 12.

Review Date: 2/22/2009
Reviewed By: Linda Vorvick, MD, Family Physician, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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