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Healthy Aging - Getting the Medical Care You Need

Medical prevention, regular checkups, and prompt treatment play a key role in your quality of life as you age.

Prevention

Your grandparents' generation had few protections from life-threatening conditions, but you now have the advantage of immunizations and regular screenings. Screenings and immunizations may help you live a longer, higher-quality life. But there comes a time when some screening tests won't be helpful, so talk to your doctor about which tests to have.

To learn more about recommended health screenings, see the topic Health Screening: Finding Health Problems Early.

For more information, see the Interactive Tool: Which Health Screenings Do You Need? calculator.gif

Managing your health care

Be an informed health care consumer. When you are concerned about a medical condition, read as much as you can about it and its possible treatments. Make a list of unanswered questions and talk to your doctor about them. Explore all treatment options before deciding how to treat a problem. And get at least one second opinion if you're considering a surgery, medicine with dangerous side effects, or experimental treatment.

For more information, see:

Be your own best health advocate. Make it your goal to work in partnership with your doctors. In general, people who make health decisions with their doctors are happier with the care they receive and the results they achieve. It's important to share in every decision about your health. The decisions you make influence your overall well-being as well as the quality and cost of your care. Whenever you have a medical appointment:

  • Bring your health and medicine history with you, as well as a list of questions you want answered during your appointment.
  • Make sure you understand your doctor's key points about your health and any possible tests and treatments.
  • You can bring along a friend or family member to support you and help you remember key information for later on. This can be especially useful when you're under a lot of physical or emotional stress.

For more information about how to work in partnership with a doctor, see:

Get organized. Feeling organized and in control of your health care can be a challenge, especially when something comes up unexpectedly. Your best approach to managing your health care is to get organized now—create a personal medical information file, including an ongoing record of your:

  • Health professionals' names and numbers.
  • Medicines, herbal supplements, and vitamins. For each, include the dosage, who prescribed it and why, and any side effects you have had. Use this form.(What is a PDF document?)
  • Any known allergies to medicines, foods, or insects (include the type of allergic reaction).
  • Immunization record.
  • Symptoms, health conditions, and treatments. For each, jot down dates and any details that you might easily forget. Use this form(What is a PDF document?).
  • Exam and test results.
  • Emergency medical information, such as pacemaker use or chronic disease diagnosis.
  • Insurance policy and payment receipts.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 28, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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