Hello. My name is Dr. Victoria Smithers, I am a family physician in Rockwall, TX. I spend a great deal of time counseling my patients on how to stay healthy.
It is so important to take prevention seriously. Everyone should schedule a regular examination to discuss which lifestyle changes and preventive measures are right for you. Some of the recommendations are tailored depending on an individual’s family history or personal habits so be sure to get guidance from your doctor. Here is some current information about Disease Prevention Through Nutrition, Healthy Lifestyle, and Routine Health Screenings by Your Doctor.
There has been extensive research into which screening tests are affordable and effective. There are some differences in recommendations made by the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and specialty association recommendations like American medical Association (AMA),American Association Family Practice (AAFP) and American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) as well as leading associations like American Cancer Society.
How to Maintain a Healthy Weight Through a Healthy Diet and Regular Exercise
Disease Prevention Through Nutrition, Healthy Lifestyle, and Routine Health Screenings by Your Doctor:
- Eat a healthy diet- Eat lots of vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy products, and lean protein.
- Limit alcohol intake- pregnant women should not drink, non-pregnant women should limit to 1 drink daily and men to 2 drinks (12 oz beer, 5 oz wine or 1.5oz of liquor)
- Monitor your cholesterol and lipids levels- Start at age 20 and get checked every 5 years until 50 then you can start yearly.
- Get regular exercise- at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week and strengthening exercise twice a week.
- Maintain a healthy weight- BMI of 18.5-25 is ideal; over 25 is overweight; over 30 is obese
Lung Cancer Screening for Health and Wellness
Stop smoking-ask your doctor for help quitting.
A yearly low-dose CT scan of the lung is recommended for people who are 55-80 years old who smoke, have quit within 15 years and those with a 30-pack-year history of smoking.
Do I Need a Diagnostic Mammogram for Breast Cancer Screening
For women breast cancer screening is recommended by clinical breast exam every 1-3 years and Mammogram yearly or every 2 years starting after 40- discuss screening with your health care provider to determine your individual risk factors. BRCA, genetic testing is available for high risk women.
Cervical Cancer Prevention with Pap Test and HPV Testing
For women, cervical cancer screening with a PAP test, that looks for microscopic changes of your cervix begins at age 21 and is every 3 years until 30. From age 30-65 provider can do PAP smear every 3 years or PAP and HPV testing every 5 years. If you have ever had an abnormal PAP smear be sure to discuss increasing surveillance with your provider. It’s important to continue disease prevention through nutrition, healthy lifestyle, and routine health screenings by your doctor.
Do I Need a PSA Test ad Testicular Screening
For men, routine PSA screening is not recommended by USPSTF. Talk to your provider about your risk factors and they can help you determine best screening for you.
For men, testicular screening is not recommended if you do not have symptoms.
Colonoscopy and Colorectal Screenings to Prevent Colon Cancer
Colorectal cancer screening for adults age 50-75 is done by colonoscopy, a small camera at the end of a tube is used to directly examine your colon- alternatives include yearly home test kits to check for blood (FOBT) in colon and genetic test kits every 3 years screening the stool for cancer.
. It’s important to continue disease prevention through nutrition, healthy lifestyle, and routine health screenings by your doctor.
How to Prevent Skin Cancer
Skin cancer – do an annual head to toe skin exam and monitor for changes in moles, use sunscreen, protect yourself with hat, long sleeves and sunglasses whenever you are in the sun.
How to Prevent Heart Disease, Diabetes and Hypertension (High Blood Pressure):
- Age 18-39, monitor blood pressure every 3-5 years and yearly after 40.
- Increased risk of heart attack and stroke- people with high blood pressure, who are overweight or are African Americans. Screen men age 35 and women age 45 for lipid disorders,
- Women age 55-79 may need to take an aspirin to prevent stroke- discuss with your provider.
- Men age 45-79 may need to take an aspirin to prevent heart disease-discuss with your provider.
- Age 45 have screen for diabetes every 3 years; if overweight and have 1 risk factor start earlier and have yearly.
- Men age 65-75 who are current or former smokers should have a one-time screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm.
How to Prevent Infection and Disease
- Practice safe sex- Use condoms; Women age <24 and sexually active screen for GC and Chlamydia ; >24 and at high risk also can be screened for GC and Chlamydia. Screen for HIV risk factors (having unprotected sex, having sex with high risk partners, IV drug abusers and men who have sex with men) and test those at risk and consider pre-exposure prophylaxis if at high risk.
- Stay current with your immunizations. Tdap booster for all grandparents; Yearly flu shots. Pneumonia vaccine- Prevnar 13 and Pneumococcal at age 65 and sooner for high risk.
- Hepatitis B- high risk patients should be screened; People with HIV and AIDS, IV drug users, men who have sex with other men, hemodialysis patients, and transplant patients.
- Hepatitis C – now recommended for all patients born from 1945-1965 and those who are at high risk ; IV drug use, tattoos, Hepatitis C infected mother and incarceration or all risk factors.
Osteoporosis is a condition related to loss of minerals and strength with aging and the bone becomes brittle and people are at increased risk of fracture. This is common in postmenopausal women and in some older men.
- Women Age 19-50 Take Calcium 1000mg and Vit D 600IU daily; Age 50-70 Get 1200mg Calcium and 600IU of Vit D daily; Age >70 Get 1200mg calcium and 800IU of Vitamin D; weight bearing exercise, avoiding smoking and excess alcohol also help prevent osteoporosis
- Bone density screening is recommended every other year after 65 and sooner if at high risk.
I hope that this condensed review has helped you establish some basic steps you can take to improve your health. Be sure to schedule a regular visit to your health care provider to take care of your basic health maintenance. . It’s important to continue disease prevention through nutrition, healthy lifestyle, and routine health screenings by your doctor. Don’t forget healthy daily practices like a heart healthy diet and exercise.
Disease Prevention Through Prevention, Healthy Lifestyle, and Routing Health Screenings by Your Doctor
Health and Happiness!