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Steps to Protect and Improve Health

Adhering to this list can result in significant benefits. Use it to start a conversation about preventive health actions at your next doctor’s visit.

Some simple preventive health measures, in rank order, are listed below.

  • A daily aspirin to prevent heart attacks and stroke (in men over 40 and women over 50).
  • Screening and brief counseling by doctors on use of tobacco products.
  • Routine colorectal-cancer screening (for adults 50 and older by any recognized method).
  • Hypertension screening via routine blood-pressure tests and medication (if necessary).
  • Annual flu shots (for adults 50 and older).
  • Immunization of adults 65 and older against bacteria that cause pneumonia and related diseases.
  • Screening and brief counseling of problem drinkers by their physicians.
  • Vision screening (for adults 65 and older).
  • Cervical cancer screening (for sexually active women and women over 21).
  • Cholesterol screening (for men 35 and older and women 45 and older).
  • Routine breast-cancer screening (for women 50 and older and discussion with women ages 40 to 49 to set an age to begin screening).
  • Calcium-supplement counseling (for adolescent girls and women).
  • Obesity screening (for adults) and high-intensity diet and exercise counseling (for the obese).
  • Depression screening (for adults).
  • Hearing-impairment screening (for adults 65 and over).
    • Those preventive measures that are ignored by more than half who would benefit from them are indicated by asterisks.

Source: Information provided by the Partnership for Prevention, a membership organization advancing policies and practices to prevent disease and improve the health of all Americans.

Web Resources

Pneumococcal Vaccine
The Immunization Action Coalition offers a detailed Q&A page explaining and educating on the pneumococcal vaccine.