What it is
Preventive care is care you receive at the doctor’s office that helps prevent or detect illness. Preventive care might mean immunizations (shots) and blood pressure screenings, or advice on how to quit smoking or make other healthy changes. Your age, gender, background, family history and other factors all have a part to play in what your doctor will look for. Getting preventive care helps you understand your risks so you can make changes. It helps detect any problems early.
How to get it
To detect problems early instead of waiting until they are worse, you need to go to the doctor for checkups from time to time, even if you feel fine. At your checkup, your doctor will screen for diseases, consider your risk for future medical problems, encourage you to make healthy choices and update your vaccinations. Preventive care helps you stay healthy by catching health problems before they become larger issues. For example, your family history may include an illness that tends to run in families. Regular screenings for this illness could help you avoid becoming sick.
Many preventive care services are covered at 100 percent under most medical plans. It can be hard to find time in our busy lives to make and keep an appointment, but good preventive care is worth it. To find out how often you should be seeing your doctor, see this guide from the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
You can also visit the Community Checkup to see how specific providers and health plans in Washington score on preventive care.