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Paving the way to better health through early detection

Dec. 16, 2023, 10:13 a.m.

Original article published in The Paper



As a physician, I've had the privilege of witnessing the importance of preventive screenings on many lives. In the primary care setting, the adage "prevention is better than cure" couldn't be more relevant.

Preventive screenings stand as a cornerstone of proactive healthcare, offering a pathway to early detection, timely interventions, and ultimately, better health outcomes.

What Are Preventive Screenings?

Preventive screenings are vital tools in identifying health concerns before symptoms manifest. They encompass a range of tests and examinations tailored to assess an individual's risk factors for various diseases or conditions.

 From routine blood tests to sophisticated imaging techniques, these screenings aim to catch potential health issues at their earliest stages before symptoms begin.

The Importance of Early Detection

Early detection is the key for effective preventive healthcare. It allows us to address health concerns when they are most treatable, often before they progress to a more advanced or critical stage.

Think of it as a window of opportunity – a chance to intervene, manage, and even prevent serious health complications.

The Benefits of Preventive Screenings

  1. Disease Prevention: Regular screenings enable the identification of risk factors and markers associated with conditions like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and more. Armed with this knowledge, we can implement strategies to lower risks and prevent the onset or progression of these diseases.
  2. Improved Outcomes: Timely detection often translates to more effective treatment options, better response rates, and improved prognoses. For instance, in cancer, catching the disease at an early stage drastically increases the chances of successful treatment and remission.
  3. Cost-Efficiency: While it might seem counterintuitive, preventive screenings can significantly reduce healthcare costs in the long run. Addressing health issues early prevents the need for more extensive and expensive treatments down the line.
  4. Peace of Mind: Knowing that you're taking proactive steps towards your health can provide immeasurable peace of mind. It's empowering to be in control of your well-being.

Recommended Preventive Screenings

The specific screenings recommended for each individual can vary based on factors such as age, gender, family history, and lifestyle. However, here are some commonly advised preventive screenings:

  1. Blood Pressure Checks: High blood pressure often goes unnoticed without symptoms. Regular checks help in early detection and management, reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other complications.
  2. Cholesterol Levels: Elevated cholesterol levels are linked to heart disease. Periodic checks can guide dietary and lifestyle modifications or medical interventions as needed.
  3. Cancer Screenings: Mammograms for breast cancer, Pap smears for cervical cancer, colonoscopies for colorectal cancer—these screenings aid in detecting cancer at early, more treatable stages.
  4. Blood Glucose Tests: Regular monitoring of blood sugar levels is crucial in managing and preventing diabetes.
  5. Bone Density Scans: Especially relevant for women, these scans help in detecting osteoporosis, a condition leading to brittle bones and increased fracture risk.
  6. Skin Exams: Regular skin exams aid in the early detection of skin cancer, allowing for prompt treatment.

There are a number of other recommended screening tests for specific circumstances that are suggested by organizations like the US Preventive Services Task Force and other specialty societies.

Making Preventive Care a Priority

Despite the evident benefits, many individuals overlook preventive screenings, often due to busy schedules, fear, or a lack of awareness. However, prioritizing your health by scheduling these screenings is a proactive step towards a healthier future.

Here are some strategies to help make preventive care a regular part of your health regimen:

  1. Consult Your Healthcare Provider: Your doctor is your ally in determining the most suitable screenings based on your individual health profile. Discussing your concerns and following their recommendations is crucial.
  2. Create a Schedule: Set reminders or mark your calendar for regular screenings. Treating these appointments as non-negotiable commitments to your health can help ensure you follow through.
  3. Embrace a Healthy Lifestyle: While screenings are essential, adopting a healthy lifestyle through balanced nutrition, regular exercise, and stress management significantly contributes to overall well-being.
  4. Educate Yourself: Understanding the rationale behind screenings and their potential impact on your health can motivate you to prioritize them.

Preventive screenings are not merely medical tests; they are gateways to a healthier, more fulfilling life. By taking charge of your health today, you pave the way for a future with fewer health uncertainties and more opportunities to enjoy life's precious moments.

Your well-being is our utmost priority. We encourage you to take the proactive step of scheduling your preventive screenings at a wellness visit with your primary care provider. Together, let's embrace the power of early detection and pave the way for a healthier tomorrow.


Burke Primary Care is a locally owned, independent practice dedicated to providing the highest-quality medical care to Burke County residents and industry. The Morganton, NC-based practice offers a comprehensive list of ancillary services under one roof to support the needs of industry and patients of all ages including: Occupational health; primary care; radiology services; 3D mammography; laboratory pediatric and geriatric care, same day visits for acute care needs, wellness and preventive visits; care for chronic illnesses and sports medicine while being supported by a local hospitalists program for all admissions.

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