Heart Health Articles

Five Easy Prevention Steps To Save More Than 100,000 Lives A Year

August 11, 2017

Five health prevention strategies could save more than 100,000 lives a year, according to recent research reported in the March issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource.

Cost, busy schedules or just plain doctor avoidance prevent some people from seeking important preventive care. But skipping important screenings increases the risk of illness or having an illness diagnosed at a later stage when it's harder to treat or cure.

The research shows that Americans can do better in receiving preventive care. Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource outlines five steps to get on track with preventive screenings:

Get an annual flu shot. If 90 percent of adults 50 and older received an annual flu shot, 12,000 American lives would be saved each year. About 37 percent of adults get this annual vaccine.

Keep current with breast cancer screenings. Women age 40 or older should have a mammogram and clinical breast exam at least every two years. If 90 percent of women did this, 3,700 American lives would be saved annually. Today, 67 percent of women in this age group have been screened for breast cancer in the last two years.

Stay up-to-date with colorectal cancer screenings. At age 50, it's time to ask a doctor about the best colorectal screening choice and schedule it. If 90 percent of adults were up-to-date with this screening, 14,000 American lives would be saved each year. Fewer than 50 percent of adults in this age group are current with screenings.

Talk to a doctor about resources to stop smoking. If 90 percent of smokers were advised by their doctors to quit -- and were offered medications and resources to help -- 42,000 American lives would be saved each year. Today, only 28 percent of smokers receive these services.

Ask a doctor about aspirin therapy. If 90 percent of women over age 65 and men over 40 took a daily aspirin to help prevent a heart attack or stroke, 45,000 American lives would be saved each year. Today, fewer than half of adults in the United States take aspirin preventively. Consulting with a doctor is important before starting aspirin therapy.

Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource is published monthly to help women enjoy healthier, more productive lives.

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