Row of lab test kits to support preventive healthcare against a teal background

Importance of Preventive Healthcare: Here's Why It Matters

Written on February 19, 2024 by Jillian Foglesong Stabile, MD, FAAFP. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

Table of contents

When it comes to healthcare, most people respond reactively rather than proactively. They will not see a healthcare provider until they are sick, and they will not care for their bodies until issues emerge. People only like spending money on healthcare once they believe it is necessary. The problem is that you will spend far more money repairing a problem than you would to prevent it in the first place. Prevention can even save your life. That is why people need to recognize the importance of preventive health care.

Preventive Healthcare: What Is It Exactly?

A range of medical services are included in preventive health, which aims to diagnose and screen health problems before symptoms appear.[1] You can live a longer, healthier life by receiving preventive healthcare. Adult preventative healthcare usually includes advice regarding healthy eating and quitting smoking, as well as screenings for diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

Preventive healthcare for kids consists of annual physicals, immunizations, and tests for diseases, including autism and lead poisoning.

Early Detection of Health Issues

One of the primary benefits of preventative medical treatment is the capacity to detect potential health issues at an early stage. Regular check-ups, screenings, and diagnostic testing can discover diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, and some malignancies before they cause symptoms. Early recognition allows for timely diagnosis and treatment, lowering the risk of complications and increasing the likelihood of favorable outcomes.

Disease Prevention Through Vaccinations

Preventive medical treatment emphasizes illness prevention through immunizations, vaccinations, and lifestyle changes. One of the best ways to safeguard communities and individuals from infectious diseases is through vaccinations. Individuals who adhere to advised vaccination schedules can safeguard themselves and improve public health by reducing the spread of serious illnesses.

Prevents High Medical Costs

Preventive medical care is not only helpful to individuals but also provides significant long-term cost savings for patients and healthcare systems.[2] Healthcare practitioners can recognize and address health disorders early when treatments are less invasive and expensive.

In contrast, treating chronic or advanced illnesses frequently necessitates expensive procedures, drugs, and lengthy hospital stays. Healthcare expenses can be seriously decreased by emphasizing prevention and making medical care more accessible and affordable.

Increased Quality of Life

Regular preventative care enables people to regulate their health and make educated decisions. Individuals can decrease their risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease by adopting healthy lifestyle habits such as eating a well-balanced diet, managing stress, and exercising regularly.

Counseling and mental health screenings are also part of preventive care, as they can help identify and manage psychological and emotional issues before they become more serious. Individuals who invest in their health proactively can live healthier lifestyles without preventable health complications.

Personalized Risk Assessments and Tailored Interventions.

Preventive medical care goes beyond basic regulations and considers individual risk factors and medical history. Personalized risk evaluations allow healthcare providers to determine specific characteristics that may raise an individual's proneness to certain ailments or diseases.[3]

This information enables preventive measures and targeted interventions to be applied. Individuals with a family history of cardiovascular disease, for example, may receive more frequent screenings as well as tailored therapies, such as medication and lifestyle changes, to minimize their risk.

Empowerment and Health Education

Preventive medical care emphasizes health education, which provides people with the knowledge and resources they need to make well-informed decisions about their health.[4] Regular check-ups allow healthcare providers to educate patients on risk factors, healthy behaviors, and preventive actions.

Whether discussing the necessity of regular exercise, the advantages of a balanced diet, or the dangers of smoking, health education empowers individuals to make proactive decisions and take control of their health, which can lead to long-term wellness.

Long-term Relationships With Healthcare Providers.

Long-term connections between patients and their healthcare professionals are fostered through preventive medical care. Frequent examinations and screenings smoothen continuous and transparent communication, which gives medical staff members an in-depth grasp of a patient's way of life, objectives, and medical history.

This connection motivates people to seek prompt medical advice, guarantees continuity of care, and fosters trust. People who have a specialized healthcare professional who is familiar with their medical history can benefit from timely treatments, individualized advice, and improved healthcare standards.

Types of Adult Preventative Care Tests, Screenings, and Services

Adult preventive care includes immunization against dangerous infections such as COVID-19 and the flu, as well as screening for chronic ailments, including diabetes and heart disease.[5] It also provides counseling and education to support you in choosing a healthy lifestyle that safeguards your general health and well-being. The screenings advised for you could change depending on your age and family medical history. The most popular adult preventative screenings are as follows:

  • Cancer screenings for the prostate, breast, colorectal, and cervical regions: These malignancies are among the most prevalent ones that afflict both men and women, and early detection can prevent them from growing worse or spreading.
  • Blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes screenings: These can aid in detecting common metabolic problems that can be managed with medicine and lifestyle adjustments. If left untreated, they can cause significant sickness and premature death.
  • Immunizations: While immunizations are commonly associated with children, adults must also keep up with their vaccinations. Adults should have annual flu vaccinations, COVID-19 immunizations, and booster doses for vaccines they received as children that may have worn off.
  • Counseling: Preventive counseling may assist you in managing a chronic condition. It may also be used to help you make healthy living choices, quit smoking if you do, or test for mental health issues.

Everlywell Lab Testing Membership CTA

Why Knowing Your Family Health History Is Vital for Preventive Health

If a close family member (such as your mother, father, or sibling) has diabetes, heart disease, or cancer, you are said to have a family history of the ailment. This suggests that screens for that ailment are critical, and you may require earlier or more thorough screening than someone who does not have the same family history.

Learning that you have a family history of a significant health problem can be disheartening and worrisome, but information is empowering. While you cannot modify your hereditary risk, you can participate in health checks to detect this issue early, allowing for more effective treatment.

Additionally, you can reduce your risk of some disorders by taking action once you know your family history. Making healthy lifestyle choices is something you can do proactively to help stop these diseases from getting worse or from occurring in the first place. Talking to your close family relatives about your uncertain family health history could be beneficial.

During your next visit, mention any information you learn about the likelihood of specific diseases in your family to your healthcare provider. They can assist you in determining which preventive screenings might be good for you and whether you should get checked for these conditions more often or at a younger age than others.

Distinction Between a Diagnostic and a Preventative Test

After consulting with your healthcare provider, you may undergo various tests; some may be diagnostic, while others may be preventive.[6]

Screenings that identify illnesses and disorders before symptoms appear are known as preventive tests. However, once symptoms appear, diagnostic testing is done to discover more about the ailment.

For instance, having a blood test for diabetes screening when you are symptom-free is a preventive measure. On the other hand, this would be a diagnostic test if you've already been diagnosed with diabetes and you are tested for blood sugar and A1C.

Preventive Healthcare With Everlywell

One of the most beneficial things you can do for your health and well-being is to be checked for any significant diseases before they occur. That is the essence of preventative health, so medical professionals advise all adults and children to get routine exams, screenings, and vaccines.

Preventive health services provide significant health advantages and are often covered by most insurance carriers. In other words, most preventative care services are free of charge. Early treatment will save you money on future healthcare bills if any issues are detected.

Everlywell's online program can assist if you're considering starting preventative health care. You can set up a virtual meeting with a certified healthcare provider to recommend the best testing, nutrition, and lifestyle adjustments for your situation. With our Everlywell+ at-home lab testing membership, you can save on lab tests and maximize your preventative health screening.

When to Test for HIV: Here's What to Know

How Often to Check Cholesterol: Key Points to Know

When to Get Tested for Colon Cancer: Key Points to Know


  1. Villani, J., et al. A machine learning approach to identify NIH-funded applied prevention research. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2018;55(6): 926-931. Medical Citation URL. Accessed February 9, 2024.
  2. Fries, J., et al. Beyond health promotion: Reducing need and demand for medical care: Health care reforms to improve health while reducing costs. Health Affairs,1998; 17(2). Medical Citation URL. Accessed February 9, 2024.
  3. Yoon, P. W.,et al. Can family history be used as a tool for public health and preventive medicine? Genetics in Medicine, 2002; 4(4), 304-310. Medical Citation URL. Accessed February 9, 2024.
  4. Kenkel, D. The demand for preventive medical care. Applied Economics, 1994;26(4) 313-325. Medical Citation URL. Accessed February 9, 2024.
  5. Maciosek, M. V. Priorities among effective clinical preventive services: Results of a systematic review and analysis. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 31(1), 52-61. Medical Citation URL. Accessed February 9, 2024.
  6. Guide to clinical preventive services. Office of Disease Prevention, & Health Promotion. Medical Citation URL. Accessed February 9, 2024.
Everlywell makes lab testing easy and convenient with at-home collection and digital results in days. Learn More