Well visits can help you stay healthy. Your doctor has checked your overall health and may have suggested ways to take good care of yourself. Your doctor also may have recommended tests. At home, you can help prevent illness with healthy eating, regular exercise, and other steps.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
How can you care for yourself at home?
- Get screening tests that you and your doctor decide on. Screening helps find diseases before any symptoms appear.
- Eat healthy foods. Choose fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein, and low-fat dairy foods. Limit fat, especially saturated fat. Reduce salt in your diet.
- Limit alcohol. Have no more than 1 drink a day or 7 drinks a week.
- Get at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week. Walking is a good choice. You also may want to do other activities, such as running, swimming, cycling, or playing tennis or team sports.
- Reach and stay at a healthy weight. This will lower your risk for many problems, such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
- Do not smoke. Smoking can make health problems worse. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor about stop-smoking programs and medicines. These can increase your chances of quitting for good.
- Care for your mental health. It is easy to get weighed down by worry and stress. Learn strategies to manage stress, like deep breathing and mindfulness, and stay connected with your family and community. If you find you often feel sad or hopeless, talk with your doctor. Treatment can help.
- Talk to your doctor about whether you have any risk factors for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). You can help prevent STIs if you wait to have sex with a new partner (or partners) until you've each been tested for STIs. It also helps if you use condoms (male or female condoms) and if you limit your sex partners to one person who only has sex with you. Vaccines are available for some STIs.
- If you think you may have a problem with alcohol or drug use, talk to your doctor. This includes prescription medicines (such as amphetamines and opioids) and illegal drugs (such as cocaine and methamphetamine). Your doctor can help you figure out what type of treatment is best for you.
- Protect your skin from too much sun. When you're outdoors from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., stay in the shade or cover up with clothing and a hat with a wide brim. Wear sunglasses that block UV rays. Even when it's cloudy, put broad-spectrum sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) on any exposed skin.
- See a dentist one or two times a year for checkups and to have your teeth cleaned.
- Wear a seat belt in the car.
When should you call for help?
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if you have any problems or symptoms that concern you.
Where can you learn more?
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