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Published on October 14, 2013

Q&A: Dr. Stephanie Ikeme

How being proactive keeps you healthy.

IkemeStephanie Ikeme, DO is one of the primary care physicians with Mercy Medical Associates at Providence. She gives advice about how to keep you and your family in the best health they can be.

Q: We hear the words “preventive care” a lot. But what exactly does that mean?

The goals of preventive care are to protect, promote, and maintain health and well-being, and to prevent disease, disability, and death. Preventive care puts patients in charge of their health to help prevent disease and detect it more effectively.

Q: How important is it to know your family’s health history when assessing your own health risks?

Knowing your family history creates a complete risk assessment of disorders/disease and helps identify lifestyle and behavior modifications to follow. Identifying your risk of chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers can improve, delay or even prevent adverse health outcomes. Family history is an important tool for health care providers, supporting early detection or prevention of new diseases by reducing risk factors.

Q: What about things like annual physical exams? Does everyone need these?

As Benjamin Franklin wisely stated, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Yes, everyone needs these services during yearly visits to their health care providers. These services help determine a patient’s current health status, assess risk of future medical problems, avoid preventable diseases, and encourage healthier lifestyles. Depending on your age and health risks, your doctor determines the type of physical exams, screenings and immunizations you need.

Q: How do you help your patients establish good health habits?

The key to starting a healthy habit is to have realistic goals. If you aim too high, you will get discouraged and may give up. Your best chance to attain and sustain a new healthy habit is to create a plan or schedule and be prepared for roadblocks and barriers. Healthy habits will help you be the best person you can be physically and mentally.

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