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Physical Fitness
Make Healthy Choices
Prevention: Get preventive screening
Preventive screenings and tests save lives. Unfortunately, many Americans do not routinely follow some basic health screening recommendations. Routine screenings can identify a previously undiagnosed condition or risk of condition. This allows physicians to intervene early with treatments and therapies to control the condition or inform the individual of lifestyle changes that can be taken to improve health outcomes and costs.

For example, screening for high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol is an important first step in identifying individuals who are at risk for chronic diseases but may be undiagnosed. Screening and appropriate follow-up for high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol can also save the lives of those at risk for heart disease. Early detection and treatment for diabetes can improve health, and the CDC recommends health professionals screen high-risk patients periodically, even when those individuals are visiting their doctor for another reason. Such opportunistic screenings can alert a health professional to troubling results requiring follow-up care.

Many studies have shown that dietary changes and therapies can dramatically reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, especially when these modifications reduce high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol. When coupled with lifestyle changes, these therapies can be even more effective in lowering the risk of a heart attack or stroke. About 90 percent of all adults now have their blood pressure measured at least once every two years. In 1998, only 67 percent of adults had had their blood cholesterol checked within the preceding five years. Of the estimated 17 million people with diabetes in the country, about 5.9 million are undiagnosed. Without effective diagnosis and treatment, diabetes becomes a leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, and stroke.

There are additional simple, preventive measures many Americans can take to reduce bad health outcomes. Pneumonia and influenza are responsible for more than 30,000 deaths among older adults each year. Immunization can substantially reduce the severity, risk of hospitalization, and risk of death from these diseases.


Blood Pressure




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