Just like your pension, your health is a long-term investment for your future, that you cannot afford to drop to the bottom of your priority list. Despite knowing that you must look after your health, knowing what the best steps to take are in order to stay healthy isn’t always. There is a lot of conflicting information and health advice out there that can be very confusing to unpick. Should you get a mammogram at 40 or 50? Is a nightly glass of wine ok, or is this too much? How much should you worry about the extra pounds you put on over the holiday season?
By taking steps to future proof your body, you can stay healthier later in life, reducing healthcare costs, time spent ill, and the risk of being unable to work or care for your family. For extra security, make sure you have TrueCoverage medical insurance in case you do fall ill.
The health priorities you should focus on will vary depending on your age.
In Your 20s
When you’re in your 20s, you have the best opportunity to lay down the groundwork for a bright future, with your finances, career, and your health.
If you develop good habits early on, like regular exercise and wellness checkups, you keep healthy in the short-term but also serve you well in the future. If you’re looking for a good dentist, be sure to check out the professional dental clinic in Concord.
Sign up for a basic insurance plan
For some, this might be as easy as checking the right box when completing new-hire paperwork. If you are a contract worker or work for companies that offer a menu of plans, this isn’t as simple.
20-somethings are likely to be healthy, so they have fewer incidences of heart diseases, a more functional digestive system, and denser bones, so there are several basic insurance plans that will suit you.
Look for a plan with low monthly premiums, so you can stay healthy at a low cost, but still avoid being bankrupted in the event of a medical emergency. A plan that covers preventative care is probably wise too.
Pick a doctor and schedule a physical
It might seem obvious, but establishing a strong relationship with your primary care provider is key. You need a doctor that you trust, so you have someone to call if you have questions or need help. Do your research online to find the perfect doctor and doctors office to suit your needs. Finding a place with Urgent Care and hours of operation to make visiting the doctor a breeze is key. If you have a young family, or are planning on starting one, you may wish to look for a family medicine Fort Collins doctor, or a family doctor wherever it is you are, so that you will be able to continue visiting them over the years as your family grows.
At your first appointment, your doctor should give you a basic health assessment. They will record stats like your height, weight, and blood pressure. This will help you to spot any issues that might causes problems later on, such as early warning signs of diabetes or high blood pressures.
Your doctor will also keep track of immunizations that are essential for preventing disease.
Establish an exercise program
When people are young, they can underestimate how their lifestyle can affect their health. Physical activity improves cognitive function and reduces the risk of heart disease, some cancers, and diabetes.
It’s recommended to log 150 minutes of cardio every week, with two or three days of strength training. Do whatever exercise sounds fun to you, whether you go to the gym, go to a dance class, swim, cycle, or walk with a friend.
Any activity is good activity. Decide what you like to do, and schedule it into your calendar to make it part of of your lifestyle.
In Your 30s
As you reach your 30s, you might not immediately notice a difference in your physical health, but your priorities might shift. You might want to start a family, for example, so your healthcare game plan will change.
It is also important to maintain the habits that you worked to develop in your 20s since these can continue to help you to minimise the risks of diseases, and prepare you for the demands of family planning and parenthood.
Upgrade your insurance
Depending on the health insurance you took out in your 20s, you might need to upgrade it.
Regardless of what kind of insurance plan that you may have, if you’re in your 30s you need to reevaluate your current and future health care priorities to determine whether more comprehensive coverage would benefit you. If you find that your needs are changing, then it is a good idea to upgrade your insurance sooner rather than later.
Choosing a plan with higher premiums but expansive benefits, such as the ability to schedule several primary care of specialist visits each year for a lower co-pay, can save you more money in the long run. This can afford you regular preventative visits to healthcare providers such as Exceptional Dental Care providers for free or lower payments to avoid having to pay out for more expensive restorative treatment. The better your overall health, the less you will need to pay for expensive healthcare visits. So always check what your plan includes and take advantage of any perks such as free bi-annual dentist check ups or yearly physician medical assessments.
It can be tempting to just add yourself to your spouse’s policy, but it’s advisable to do this carefully.
It can be a better idea to purchase separate plans, especially if you have different medical needs and preferences. If one of you is managing an illness, for example, then they will need a plan with more benefits and a larger network, while the other might be fine with a more basic option.
Address unhealthy risk factors
As we age, we often gain a little bit of weight and blood glucose starts to go up. If left unchecked, this can lead to health problems such as diabetes.
This is why now is the nest time to revisit that risk-factor conversation and get onto the same page with your doctor about how likely you are to develop conditions like obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, based on your habits and lifestyle. If needed, you should create a schedule together for regular screenings.
Make sure you don’t forget to keep up your exercise regimen. Physical activity can reduce your risk of certain conditions, and it can work to help you to reverse any symptoms that might have already manifested.
Talk to your doctor about family planning
If you’re thinking about starting a family in your 30s, you might find it a good idea to discuss your fertility health with your doctors, as these levels tend to peak for women in their 20s.
Preconception counselling can be very beneficial too. A detailed family history and a health exam can help to alleviate any concerns that you might have and address any possible problems.
Your initial evaluation might involve a sperm analysis, lab work to gauge hormone levels, and tests to determine the quality and quantity of eggs in a women’s ovaries.
In Your 40s
In a lot of ways, hitting the big 4 – 0 doesn’t usually require a major shift in your health care strategy, especially when it comes to your regular doctor’s visits and lifestyle habits.
However, in other areas, people in their 40s will need to up their game, and by a lot. This os when proactive people should be scheduling important screenings, especially ones that can detect early-stage cancers.
Lower your health care expenses
If your health needs to start to increase beyond the routine checkups, for example, you have started to wear glasses or have to take new prescriptions, then it’s likely that your medical bills are increasing too.
Seeking out savings tools, such as a health savings account or a flexible savings account, which will allow you to set aside a portion of your income for qualified health care expenses and can help to lessen the financial pressure of health care.
If you have a high-deductible insurance plan to down the HSA route. These are a tax-exempt, triple-threat financial vehicle. You can put aside money tax-free, invest it tax-free, and spend it on care tax-free too.
Get screened for diabetes
If this isn’t already on your radar, then make sure you do it in your 40s. You should get screened every three years, starting at 45. However, those with some risk factors, such as those with a BMI over 25 and high blood pressure, should talk to their doctors about scheduling tests more regularly as soon as they can. Early detection of diabetes can help to shield you from a litany of serious related issues, such as an increased likelihood of heart attacks, strokes, and neuropathy.
Schedule annual cancer screenings
The year that you turn 40 is when you should start getting yearly mammograms. Some believe that it is important to start these screenings at 40 because the risk of breast cancer starts to increase in women of this age group.
The earlier that you can detect and start treating breast cancer, then the more likely you will be to survive it, and the cancer is also much less likely to spread to other areas.
The same is true for prostate cancer in men. These are not routinely recommended for men who lack symptoms, but there are some notable exceptions to this.
If a man is at greater risk, for example, if there is a history of a man’s father and grandfather developing prostate cancer in their 50s, then it is a good idea to screen in his 40s.
Speak to your doctor about what screenings they recommend for you, depending on your family history of ill health, your lifestyle, and other risk factors. Screening can help you catch and treat things much earlier, so don’t skip them.