The power of preventive medicine is in detecting disease at an early stage when treatment is likely to be more successful. In addition, by periodically reviewing with your physician basics of healthy living we can work together to form lifelong habits that can help you live longer with a greater quality of life.
Doctors Womble, Outlaw, Capps and Ms. Sarno practice evidenced-based medicine. This means that our recommendations are based on scientific evidence as to what testing or other treatments have proven benefit.
For both men and women the following are guidelines for routine components of health screening as proposed by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).
Diet and Exercise Guidelines
Taken from Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Website
The following links are to evidence supported guidance on diet and exercise:
Have your body mass index (BMI) calculated to screen for obesity. (BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight.) You can also find your own BMI with the BMI calculator from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute here. BMI calculator click here.
Have your cholesterol checked regularly starting at age 45 for women and 35 for men. If you are younger than this, talk to your doctor about whether to have your cholesterol checked if:
- You have diabetes.
- You have high blood pressure.
- Heart disease runs in your family.
- You smoke.
High Blood Pressure
Have your blood pressure checked at least every 2 years. High blood pressure is 140/90 or higher.
Have a test for colorectal cancer starting at age 50. Your doctor can help you decide which test is right for you. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, you may need to be screened earlier.
Have a test for diabetes if you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
Your emotional health is as important as your physical health. If you have felt down, sad, or hopeless over the last 2 weeks or have felt little interest or pleasure in doing things, you may be depressed. Talk to your doctor about being screened for depression or complete the Depression Screening Form.
Have a test to screen for HIV infection if you:
- Have had unprotected sex with multiple partners
- Are a man who has had sex with men since 1975
- Are a woman who is pregnant.
- Have used or now use injection drugs.
- Exchange sex for money or drugs or have sex partners who do.
- Have past or present sex partners who are HIV-infected, are bisexual, or use injection drugs.
- Had a blood transfusion between 1978 and 1985.
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Talk to your doctor to see whether you should be tested for gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, or other sexually transmitted infections.
In addition for men:
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm – If you are between the ages of 65 and 75 and have ever smoked (100 or more cigarettes during your lifetime), you need to be screened once for abdominal aortic aneurysm, which is an abnormally large or swollen blood vessel in your abdomen.
In addition for women:
- Breast Cancer: Have a mammogram every 1 to 2 years starting at age 40.
- Cervical Cancer: Have a Pap smear every 1 to 3 years if you:
- Have ever been sexually active.
- Are between the ages of 21 and 65.
- Osteoporosis (Thinning of the Bones): Have a bone density test beginning at age 65 to screen for osteoporosis. If you are between the ages of 60 and 64 and weigh 154 lbs. or less, talk to your doctor about being tested.
- Chlamydia and Other Sexually Transmitted Infections: Have a test for chlamydia if you are 25 or younger and sexually active. If you are older, talk to your doctor about being tested.
Smoking is the number one preventable cause of disease. Smoking cessation is associated with reduction in death from heart disease, and reduces the accelerated rate of decline in lung function seen with smoking regardless of the age at time of cessation. In addition, cessation is associated with improvements in risk for a variety of other disease states including diabetes, ulcer disease, and multiple different cancer types.
There are two types of aids which your physician can prescribe to help you in the process of quitting:
- nicotine replacement therapies (patches, gum, etc.)
- neurotransmitter active medications (chantix, zyban)
If you are interested in quitting cigarettes please discuss these options with your physician.
Routine tetanus immunization is recommended every 10 years. If your last tetanus immunization was a Td (tetanus and diphtheria) then you will need to update this with the now recommended Tdap vaccination which includes protection against pertussis (whooping cough). This is particularly important for those who are in contact with infants and small children who are most at risk from pertussis.
Pneumonia vaccination protects against the most common cause of pneumonia and is recommended at age 65 for all people. It is also recommended for other high risk patients, including those with chronic cardiovascular disease, chronic pulmonary disease (including asthma), or diabetes mellitus, at any age.
Shingles Vaccine. Shingles is a painful rash that develops more commonly in older adults. A Study of over 38,000 patients demonstrated that the shingles vaccine reduced the incidence of shingles by 50% (3% of placebo patients vs 1.5% of vaccinated patients) and also reduced the severity and duration of pain in those who did get shingles. Vaccine is recommended even in those who have had previous shingles infection.
Hepatitis A and B vaccination may also be reasonable vaccination depending on risk factors.