Dr. MJ Bazos MD,
for Healthy Living
What can I do to keep myself
The choices you make about the way you live are
important to your health. Here are some choices you can make to help yourself
- Don't use any form of tobacco.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Exercise regularly.
- Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all.
- Don't use illegal drugs.
- Practice safe sex.
- Use seat belts (and car seats for children) when
riding in a car or truck.
- See your doctor regularly for preventive care.
What can my doctor
do to help me stay healthy?
In addition to treating you when you are sick,
your doctor can follow a program designed to help you stay healthy. This program
tells the doctor which preventive services are needed for people at different
What is a "preventive service"?
A preventive service might be a test or it might
be advice from your doctor. Preventive services can include the following:
- Tests (also called screenings) to check your
general health or the health of certain parts of your body.
- Measurements of weight, cholesterol levels and
- Advice about diet, exercise, tobacco, alcohol and
drug use, stress and accident prevention.
- Immunizations ("shots") for both children and
- Special tests at certain times in your life, such
as during pregnancy and after age 50.
Will my doctor tell
me which preventive services I need?
Yes. Follow your doctor's advice about
check-ups, about healthy life choices and about medicines that prevent health
problems, such as blood pressure medicine. Preventive services are sometimes
offered in your community (for example, blood pressure tests at the local
shopping center). If you're not sure you need the service being offered, ask
Who pays for preventive services?
Most health insurance companies pay for at least
some preventive services. If you aren't sure what your insurance will cover,
read your health plan's patient manual or call the health plan's office.
What preventive services do women
Adult women should have their weight, blood
pressure and cholesterol levels checked. They also should have a Pap test every
3 years to screen for cervical cancer. After the age of 50, women should have a
mammogram every year to screen for breast cancer. They should also be tested for
colorectal cancer. These are routine tests that everyone should have. If your
doctor orders these tests for you, it does not mean he or she thinks you have
cancer. Your doctor will also make sure you have all the shots you need.
Your doctor may give you advice about exercise
and diet--for example, how much calcium you need to prevent bone problems,
taking folic acid before you get pregnant, and lowering the fat and cholesterol
in your diet. Your doctor may also give you advice about alcohol and drug use,
and about sexually transmitted diseases. As you get close to menopause, your
doctor will talk to you about hormone replacement therapy. Your doctor may also
talk to you about ways to prevent injuries, such as using seat belts and having
smoke detectors in your home.
What preventive services do men
Adult men should have their weight, cholesterol
levels and blood pressure checked. Men over age 50 should be tested for
colorectal cancer. If your doctor orders this test, it does not mean he or she
thinks you have cancer. This is a routine test that everyone should have. Your
doctor will also make sure that you have all the shots you need.
Your doctor may talk to you about the importance
of diet and exercise, testing for prostate cancer, and avoiding alcohol,
tobacco, drugs and sexually transmitted diseases. Your doctor may also talk to
you about ways to prevent injuries, such as using seat belts and having smoke
detectors in your home.
What preventive services do children
Shots are one of the most important preventive
services for children. Shots (also called vaccines) protect children from
diseases such as polio, measles and mumps. Your doctor will check your child to
make sure he or she is growing and developing properly.
Dental health is also very important. Your
doctor will tell you what you can do to keep your child's teeth healthy.
Your doctor may also give you advice about how
to keep your child safe from accidents and injuries (for example, using car
seats and seat belts, and keeping your child away from poisons and electric
outlets). Your doctor will also talk to you about teaching your child healthy
eating habits and exercise habits. Your doctor can tell you how to teach your
child about the dangers of drugs, alcohol and tobacco. You can also ask your
doctor for tips on how to talk to an older child about avoiding pregnancy,
sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS.