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What is preventive care? The tests adults need at every age

"A" icon to represent Aetna By Aetna

How do some people stay so healthy? In part, by not waiting until they’re sick to see the doctor. Regular checkups can help prevent you from getting sick in the first place — that’s why they call it “preventive care.” This includes appointments and tests that catch early signs of illness, when treatment is more effective.

“The regular appointments and screenings that make up preventive care help your physician pick up on serious problems, but also subtle changes in your health,” says John Moore, DO, a medical director with Aetna. “If you don’t visit your doctor when you’re healthy, there’s no way to know what your ‘normal’ is.”

Your doctor can also provide personalized recommendations based on your family’s and your medical history. (Something you can’t get from online research.) For example, mammogram screening guidelines vary. The American Cancer Society recommends annual screening for women ages 45-55, and then every other year after that. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends a mammogram every other year beginning at age 50. Talk to your doctor about what is best for you.

And don’t forget about your eye doctor and dentist. In addition to caring for your vision and oral health, these pros can alert you to signs of serious health conditions. Read more about how your eyes are windows into your wellbeing.

Check with your doctor and insurance provider to find out which preventive care screenings are covered by your medical plan. Being proactive is your best chance of staying healthy.


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