June 20, 2019
You’re a dad. You tell the funniest jokes, give the best piggy-back rides, and make a mean burger on the grill. You’re always there to lend some muscle when it’s needed, and you seem to know how to fix everything. But do you know what you need to do to keep yourself in top shape?
We’ve got you covered with a list of preventive screenings and tips to make sure you stay healthy -- and ready to give those piggy-back rides.
Get to know your PCP
First, make sure you have a primary care provider, or PCP. Your PCP can coordinate your care and keep in step with your health goals. An annual visit to discuss any health concerns, check vitals such as heart rate and blood pressure, and review current and future health plans is the best place to start. If any concerns come up, your PCP can direct you to a specialist who can better manage your care.
Vaccines are your first line of protection against preventable diseases. Go over your immunization history with your PCP and make sure you’re up to date on your vaccinations. Not sure what you need? Follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for adult immunizations.
As a SmartHealth member, preventive history and physical examinations are covered once annually. Need to schedule an annual wellness visit with a PCP? Visit mysmarthealth.org to find a provider near you.
Preventive health screenings
Preventive health screenings do just that – prevent health issues from emerging or becoming worse. Preventive care is meant for people who feel healthy or don’t have any immediate health concerns but want to make sure there aren’t any hidden medical conditions that need to be addressed. Individuals with risk factors or a family history of certain medical issues should also schedule preventive screenings.
Below are several screenings that should be performed routinely:
Blood pressure - Have your blood pressure checked at least once every two years if you have normal blood pressure (120/80 or below); and at least once a year if you have a history of high blood pressure or are at increased risk of heart disease or stroke.
Cholesterol - Get a cholesterol screening once every five years unless you have risk factors for heart disease. If so, discuss with your PCP whether you should be screened more frequently.
Diabetes - If you have certain risk factors, such as obesity, high blood pressure, or are aged 40 to 70, ask your PCP for a diabetes screening.
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test - Make sure your prostate is healthy by completing an annual PSA test. As part of your SmartHealth benefits, the medical plan will cover one PSA test annually.
Colonoscopy – According to the CDC, colorectal cancer is second only to lung cancer as the leading cause of cancer deaths from cancers affecting both men and women. Colorectal cancer screenings are covered once every 10 years from ages 50 to 75 for SmartHealth members as part of your preventive care benefits.
Healthy diet and lifestyle
An important part of a healthy life is a healthy lifestyle. This includes adopting good eating habits, getting plenty of physical activity, and maintaining a positive mental outlook.
Choosing healthy foods can take extra weight off, give you more energy, and boost your self-confidence. Start slowly, and make healthy eating a habit. Try out these healthy dinner recipes and impress your family by following up with a nutritious yet delicious dessert. Craving a middle-of-the-day snack? Have some fresh, sliced veggies ready to go in the fridge. Keep them in the front – where you can see them – for when you need to grab a quick snack.
For SmartHealth members who need a little more help with managing diet, behavioral counseling in primary care to promote a healthy diet and diet counseling benefits are available. SmartHealth will cover six sessions per calendar year for those aged 19 and older. For help with maintaining a healthy weight, SmartHealth members can receive an obesity screening (covered for ages six years and older) up to seven sessions per calendar year.
Talk with your doctor if you need help managing your weight.
Working out doesn’t have to be work. Take the dog for a walk, go for a bike ride with the kids, or get out the bat, ball, and glove and head to the park with the family. When you make physical activity fun, it’s easy to forget you’re even exercising. Plus, it’s a great way to teach the kids the benefits of staying active and off electronic devices.
Mental health is health, too
Don’t neglect your mental health. Taking time to focus on your mind is important. Whether it’s relaxing on the lake, or resting in your favorite chair, you need to take the time to clear your head. If mental health is a concern, talk to your PCP for treatment options.
Don’t underestimate the power of support. Get the whole family on board with healthy eating, physical activity, and listening to your bodies. Cook healthy meals together and plan a family activity that gets your heart rate going. Not only is it great family time, but it’s healthy family time – ensuring you’ll be there for each other for the years to come.