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Prevention is better than cure

3 minute read

When it comes to our health, prevention is much better than cure. Several diseases and injuries are preventable, and can be managed much better if identified earlier on.

It is common for people only to go to the doctor when they are feeling unwell. A regular check-up with your doctor helps them to assess your overall health and to identify your risk factors for disease. By knowing what's normal for you early on, you'll be able to detect any serious changes later.

What's involved in a regular check-up?

During the session, your doctor is likely to:

  • ask you about your current health, and both your personal and family medical history
  • examine you carefully, looking for any signs of illness
  • ask you to do relevant urine and blood tests
  • ask you about lifestyle habits (such as the ones we'll discuss below)

This assessment will help your doctor to know if you have or are at risk of developing any chronic diseases. This is a great chance for you to ask your doctor about your health and about current recommendations and guidelines. It is best for adults have a check-up every 2 years and every year after age 40.

By knowing what's normal for you early on, you'll be able to detect any serious changes later.

What can I do between doctor visits?

In between doctor's visits it is up to you to try your best to stay healthy. Try out these lifestyle tips to help keep your heart and body healthy.

  • Stay away from smoking. Even second hand smoke increases your risk.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. If you are unsure about what is healthy for you, ask your doctor during your next visit. For heart health, the National Heart Foundation recommends that men have a waist circumference of less than 94cm and women less than 80cm.
  • Eat a balanced diet. If you are unsure of how much you should be eating, take a look at the Australian Eat for Health guidelines and check out our favourite foods from each of the five food groups.
  • Avoid drinking too much alcohol. The National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines recommend adults have no more than two standard drinks on any given day and include two alcohol-free days per week. Those who are pregnant, breastfeeding or are under 18 years old are recommended to avoid alcohol completely.
  • Keep active. Aim to do 30 minutes or more of moderate intensity physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week. Moderate intensity exercise causes a noticeable increase in the depth and rate of breathing while still being able to talk comfortably. Check out our tips on making physical activity part of your day.

Decide which lifestyle factors you can start working on today! Why not get a friend, workmate or family member involved to help you get started. Once you are in a good routine, prevention is much easier and cheaper than relying on a cure, and can help you stay healthier for longer.

Interested in a health coach?

The COACH Program® is a confidential free health coaching service delivered over the phone by nib's Accredited Practicing Dietitians to help those at risk of, or with, Coronary Heart Disease. Based on a self-management model, it's all about helping you to take better care of yourself. Please phone 1800 339 219 or email [email protected] for more information.

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