In the world of prevention, an oft-heard quote is that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Apparently, the founding father Benjamin Franklin wrote this in a letter to the newspaper in Philadelphia in the mid-1700s. He was referring to fire prevention, however, and not health! But he’s right, even if he didn’t know it.
At Vitality, we strive to help people make the healthiest choices every day. Often those choices can seem small and insignificant. After all, how is choosing to eat fruit for a snack today actually going to improve your health? We like to think about all those smaller choices each day as many “ounces” of prevention that can be worth a lot more later.
Perhaps the easiest way to think about prevention is using the example of health screening tests. These are special tests designed to catch a disease or condition long before you might be experiencing any symptoms. It’s important to understand that a health screen does not diagnose a disease and that if your result is positive, you will still need to get an official test or procedure to confirm the diagnosis. What’s the point, then?
One of the primary goals of health screens is to detect a condition early. By detecting it early, you can prevent the disease progression so that you live much longer before you start to experience symptoms. In some cases, treatment options are also “better” with early detection in that they might be cheaper, less invasive, more effective, and all of the above.
Many health screens also help us detect what we call “silent” diseases. These are conditions that do not always have symptoms, even as they progress. That could mean you have the disease for many years as your health worsens before you might seek treatment. Most non-communicable diseases, or NCDs, are silent. These include hypertension and diabetes, and both of these are part of a special set of health screens we call a Vitality Check. The Vitality Check is a biometric assessment that helps identify which areas of your health are strongest and which may need some work, as well as your risk for any potential health problems down the road. Making the simple (but powerful) decision to get screened now can help you avoid disease later.
Screening is an important step in your health journey! The results can provide you with the information you need to adopt healthy lifestyle behaviors in order to reverse any early signs of disease. With the results of a Vitality Check, Vitality members will be more than ready to take those steps.
With a PhD in Exercise Physiology, Jonathan Dugas spends his days thinking about how we can help more people be more active. With four Ironman finishes and 13 marathons and counting, he’ll see you out on the road.