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Wellness and Prevention in an Era of Patient Responsibility

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Listen and Learn

Once your healthcare provider has assessed your health status and reviewed your test results, it is time to listen to his or her counsel and recommendations. This is a very important part of the prevention process; you will probably need to take notes and may have follow-up questions. Don't be afraid to ask for clarification if you don't understand something. You can expect to be counseled about changes you can make regarding things you have control over.

Discussing your lifestyle, activities, and behaviors that affect your health with your healthcare provider will help you prevent illness. Likely topics are injury prevention, nutrition and exercise, substance abuse (including alcohol, tobacco, and drugs), and activities that place you at higher risk, including, for example, your occupation and sexual activities. Listen for what changes you can make and discuss areas that present difficulty. Even small changes can be the beginning of better health. Some of the areas in your control are:

  • Smoking
  • Seat belt use
  • Abuse of alcohol or other drugs in general and particularly while driving
  • Physical activity
  • Eating habits and diet
  • High risk sexual practices

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