In addition to treating you when you are sick, your doctor can help you follow a program designed to help you stay healthy. Many doctors follow the guidelines of the US Preventive Services Task Force. This panel of experts advises doctors about the preventive services you need, depending on your age, medical history and family history.
What is a preventive service?
A preventive service could be a test, an immunization or a vaccine, or it could be the advice of your doctor Preventive services can detect a disease or help prevent diseases or other health problems. Preventive services may include the following:
Medical tests (also called screening tests) to monitor your general health or the health of certain parts of your body
Periodic measurements of weight and blood pressure
Advice on diet, exercise, tobacco, alcohol and drug use, stress and accident prevention
Immunizations (“vaccines”), for children and adults
Special tests at certain times in your life, such as during pregnancy and after age 50
What preventive services do men need?
Adult men should monitor their weight and blood pressure regularly. Men over 35 should check their cholesterol levels regularly. Men should be tested for colon-rectal cancer from 50 years of age and up to 75 years. Some people may need to continue screening for colon-rectal cancer until age 85 If your doctor prescribes these tests, it does not mean that you think you have cancer. This is a routine test that everyone should take. Your doctor will also make sure you have all the vaccines you need.
Your doctor can give you advice about exercise and a healthy diet. Your doctor can also give you advice on tobacco, alcohol and drug use, and sexually transmitted infections. The doctor may also talk with you about injury prevention practices, such as the use of safety belts and smoke detectors in your home.
What preventive services do children need?
Vaccines are one of the most important preventive services for children. Injections (also called vaccines) protect children from diseases such as polio, measles and mumps.
A detail about vaccines
Sometimes, there is not enough of a certain vaccine for the number of people who need it. Read more about vaccine shortages here.
Your doctor will examine your child to make sure he or she is growing and developing properly. Your doctor will tell you what you can do to keep your child’s teeth healthy. Your doctor will tell you what you can do to keep your child’s teeth healthy. Your doctor can also give you advice on how to keep your child safe from accidents and injuries (for example, use safety seats and seat belts, and keep your child away from poisons and electrical outlets). Your doctor will also talk with you about how to teach your child healthy eating and exercise habits. Your doctor can tell you how to teach your child the dangers of drugs, alcohol and tobacco. You can also ask your doctor for advice on how to talk to an older child about preventing pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections.