Make a Difference in the Rest of Your Life

How important is prevention—and reducing your risk—of serious illness? This question is addressed to you, whether you are 32 or 72, and to your family.

The easy answer is: Very Important.

The honest answer, if you are like many Americans, “Not Too Important Now”—until you or a family member is ill and your doctor suggests that perhaps you or your family member failed to get a vaccination or a screening test, or to change unhealthy habits like smoking or overeating.

And then it may be too late to say “Very Important.” The illness that caused the doctor visit may be a chronic illness such as diabetes or heart disease that developed slowly with very few symptoms, or a serious infection or cancer that might have been prevented.

As you consider how important this is to you, the contents that follow will help you in your decision. This section of the Patient Resource Center is designed to identify the immunizations, the screening tests, and the changes in health habits that can prolong and improve the quality of your life or that of a family member. The focus is on the areas of prevention and risk reduction most valuable to people over 65, but the recommendations are applicable to adults of any age.

Why is the focus on people over 65? Because the Affordable Care Act, passed by Congress in 2010, provides prevention and risk reduction services for all Medicare beneficiaries as of January 1, 2011—free of charge to those beneficiaries. If you are not yet covered by Medicare, you may soon see similar coverage from other health insurers.

For additional information on Prevention and Risk Reduction, visit the following pages:

Reduce your Health Risks

Immunizations:  A Checklist for You and Your Family

Which Screening Tests for You if You are 65 or Older

The HPV Vaccine:  Who Should Have it?

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