Preventive medicine is a specialty branch of medicine that focuses on the overall health and well-being of each patient. Preventive medicine encompasses all aspects of the patient’s life and seeks to protect health, combat disease, and promote well-being using a variety of clinical and nonclinical techniques. Healthcare practitioners work hand in hand with their patients and offer-personalized suggestions on lifestyle modifications, including diet, exercise, and smoking cessation. Practitioners utilize a variety of screenings and tests to help prevent disease.
Preventive medicine helps patients by suggesting nutritional modifications for a healthy lifestyle. The practitioner will spend time with the patient discussing the patient’s diet and activity level.
The physician or healthcare practitioner may prescribe a variety of dietary changes, such as limiting the amount of red meat, incorporating more fruits and vegetables in the diet, and cutting out simple carbohydrates. To help ensure that the patient is receiving the appropriate nutrients, the practitioner may also prescribe a variety of vitamins, minerals, and nutritional supplements.
A physician specializing in preventive medicine may also recommend increased exercise or other physical activity. The American Heart Association recommends healthy patients receive a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. Most healthcare practitioners recommend 30 minutes of exercise five times a week which can help improve respiratory and cardiovascular functions. Exercise helps the body release endorphins, which are feel good hormones. By including exercise in their day-to-day lives, patients can improve their mood, lose weight and help prevent a plethora of health conditions.
Numerous tests are available to help practitioners diagnose illnesses. By screening for health conditions on a regular basis, the physician can quickly discern any changes in the body’s chemistry. These tests and screening may include the following:
Numerous blood tests can help the physician determine illness. For example, a fasting glucose test can help the doctor determine whether the patient is at an increased risk of developing diabetes. Cholesterol tests help the physician watch for symptoms of cardiovascular problems. Complete blood count tests look at the type of cells found in the blood, including white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. Other blood tests check liver functions, kidney function and hormonal imbalances.
One of the primary goals of preventive medicine is to help patients and physicians develop a healthy partnership. In order for this partnership to grow, the patient must be honest and open with the physician. Likewise, the physician must dedicate enough time to each patient to get to know and understand the patient. Working together, the patient and physician can help one another improve the patient’s health.
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