Preventive care is key to healthy living - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Preventive care is key to healthy living

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You have probably heard the saying "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."  Find out why that statement is the foundation for preventive health care and what you can do to make sure you are hitting the mark for your own wellness.

It is annual check-up time with family medicine physician, Dr. Josh Whatley, at Lake Charles Memorial's-LSU Family Medicine Program. With a new year, this new doc is urging patients to practice preventive care - from the old down to the young.  "Check a lot of their vital signs, their height, their weight," said Dr. Whatley, "they also check to see if they're up to date on their immunizations."

Kids' appointments are pretty standard and give parents a chance to ask questions. As we go up in age, though, so do our risks for sicknesses and diseases.  "Catching it at an early stage makes it much more treatable and as it gets later on, it's more difficult to treat and you get more complications with it," said Dr. Whatley.

Preventive care is similar for men and women - checking weight, blood pressure and cholesterol. Depending on the age, women need pap tests for cervical cancer, mammograms for breast cancer and colonoscopies for colon cancer.  "We also recommend that at the age of 50 in the general population and if you have a family history you can start sooner," said Dr. Whatley.

Add men to the list for colonoscopies at age 50, along with PSA tests for prostate cancer. One of the keys to successful preventive health care is to have a relationship with a physician before you get sick - that way any red flags or changes to your overall health will already be noted.  "It allows you to be able to feel comfortable with that physician and their decision-making," said Dr. Whatley, "and then make your decisions after that."

Those are decisions that shape your own health and wellness and can start with a step toward prevention.

Under the Affordable Care Act, you and your family may be eligible for some important preventive services - which can help you avoid illness and improve your health, at no additional cost to you. Click here to see that list.

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