You know the saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
In the health care sector that Millennials have grown up with, preventive care often has taken a back seat to procedure-driven disease care, meaning that most people wait until an illness disrupts their lives before they invest in their daily well-being. That system is set up to bill for the things doctors and surgeons can do and not focus on how to keep people from being sick in the first place.
Despite what you may have heard about Millennials being “self-absorbed” or “lazy”, Millennial women are responsible and innovative, especially when it comes to their overall wellness. They find that preventative medicine is a more cost effective, sustainable model of care. So why are hospitals and doctors’ offices slow to subscribe?
Preventative care generally emphasizes disease prevention by evaluating your current health and working toward habits that encourage a healthy lifestyle. That includes routine physical care, annual checkups and immunizations, and regular screening tests. Diagnostic care, on the other hand, involves treating or investigating an actual health issue, symptom or risk factor.
“We have now emerged into a technology-driven health state where real prevention is possible via personalized health care specific to each of us. This is fantastic, but it requires each and every individual to do their part,” said Dr. Vonda Wright, founder and CEO of Women’s Health Conversations. “The herd mentality of medicine for all won’t cut it now that it is possible for you to invest in health care for me.”
As the cost of health care continues to rise — plus, don’t forget about insurance companies that leave gaps in comprehensive coverage due to high copays or out-of-reach deductibles — many people have learned to be pragmatic about health. Part of that means taking responsibility for your own lifestyle choices.
To truly be in the driver’s seat of your own health, here are 10 preventative steps anyone can take:
- Eat healthy, whole foods, reduce sugar intake and increase consumption of leafy, green veggies. Doing so decreases inflammation in the body, thus decreasing the risk for disease to take root.
- Be active. It can help boost heart health, increase mobility and improve your mood.
- Stay current with your vaccinations.
- Quit smoking and avoid illegal drugs.
- Reduce your intake of alcohol. When you do drink, never get behind the wheel. (That’s what Uber is for!)
- Speaking of driving — always buckle up.
- Keep an open dialogue with your primary care physician and screen for diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
- Discuss with your doctor any medications or vitamins/supplements that you are taking or are interested in taking.
- Practice safer sex.
- Share your family’s history of diseases or illnesses with your PCP (Primary Care Physician) and create a preventative program to help reduce your risk.
While acknowledging that health care systems depend on us just as much as we depend on it, we can create balance; not just within ourselves and our families’ lives but also with the delicate ecosystem itself.