As Benjamin Franklin famously said, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Even though medical advancements have drastically reduced the prevalence of diseases that were once life-threatening, patients must still be mindful of the diseases we face that have fatal consequences. As medical providers, we know the bedrock of good health is prevention of the appearance or progression of diseases.
Physicians and patients can rely on certified PAs to provide essential preventive care. As front-line medical providers, we conduct physical exams, obtain medical histories, order, perform and interpret lab tests, and prescribe medication. We are prepared during our graduate-level education in both the classroom and clinical rotations to counsel and educate patients, and our ongoing certification maintenance requirements help us stay up-to-date across the spectrum of medicine and the patient life span.
As one of those PAs, I manage treatment plans for patients who are overweight and/or prediabetic. I work with these patients to lower their hemoglobin levels through lifestyle changes, weight loss, and diet modifications that lower sugar intake. These measures decrease the likelihood of patients becoming overtly or uncontrolled diabetics. Controlled blood pressure levels may cost patients less than $5 a month for medications, while uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to heart attacks or strokes and expensive hospitalizations.
Through early detection, PAs in your office can help prevent the systemic effects these conditions have on patients' bodies. It's less expensive for patients to have controlled blood pressure and blood sugars than to manage kidney disease, neurological disease or other complications.
Like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and many cancers can also be diagnosed and treated early on to prevent long-term complications.
Start with the basics
Patients generally understand that regular check-ups are important to their health, but they may not know what services address their preventive care needs. For example, a patient may have an annual physical but skip bloodwork or decline a prostate exam. PAs can help ensure patients are informed of the appropriate screenings based on their age, gender and other determinants and pre-schedule follow-up appointments before they leave your office.