Preventive Care Information

QUIT SMOKING (including cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco and smokeless tobacco)

DRINK ALCOHOL IN MODERATION - maximum of 1-2 drinks/day (1 drink = 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1 shot liquor)


  • The ideal is at least 30 minutes every day of the week; any exercise is better than none.
  • Aerobic exercise, defined as exercise which raises the heart rate and keeps the heart rate elevated steadily (i.e. walking, bicycling, cross country skiing, aerobics, swimming, roller blading), ideally 3-4 times per week. Interval training is ideal, meaning alternating between bursts of intense aerobic exercise for 30-60 seconds with intervals of less intense aerobic exercise.
  • Weight training (i.e. 8-12 reps for 2-3 sets) 2-3 times per week.
  • Balance and flexibility training should be part of a comprehensive exercise program


  • Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables (at least 5 portions per day), with diversity from one week to the next
  • Eat a variety of nuts and seeds (unroasted, unsalted, store in refrigerator)
  • Eat WHOLE grains, NOT refined carbohydrates
  • Consume plentiful amounts of monounsaturated fat and omega 3 fats (fish)
  • Limit milk and milk products (cheese, yogurt, ice cream) 
  • Limit fatty, greasy, fried foods
  • Limit meat, especially red meat, and markedly limit intake of processed meat (fatty fish twice a week is good as a substitute)
  • Limit sweets
  • Limit sugar-sweetened beverages
  • AVOID trans fats (hydrogenated oils, shortening)

BRUSH your teeth at least twice a day AND FLOSS at least once a day

SEE A DENTIST once a year for a routine teeth cleaning, more often if plaque or tartar build-up

DENTAL X RAYS for screening every 2-3 years, unless you are prone to cavities

WEAR A SEAT BELT when in a car; WEAR A HELMET when bicycling or roller blading

LIMIT SUN EXPOSURE or use a SPF 30 or greater sunscreen

SAFE SEXUAL PRACTICES - monogamous relationship is best; condoms for prevention

GUN SAFETY - if you own guns, consider keeping them locked up


  •  Heart attacks are the number one killer of adults in the United States.
  • Most deaths from heart attacks occur in the first hour, and most occur suddenly from disturbances in heart rhythm.
  •  If you think you might be having a heart attack, call an ambulance.  Prompt emergency treatment can save lives.
  •  Slow, deep breathing may also decrease the risk of death, as heart rhythm disturbances may be less likely if one can stay relaxed.
  •  Heart attacks are uncommon under age 50, but can occur at any age, especially in cigarette smokers, diabetics, and cocaine users.
  •  Heart attack pain is typically experienced as a constant pressure or heaviness in the chest, often accompanied by shortness of breath or sweating.
  •  If you think you might be having a heart attack, call an ambulance. Prompt emergency treatment can save lives.


  •  Common symptoms of a stroke include sudden weakness of the face, arm, or leg; sudden loss of vision; or sudden difficulty speaking.
  •  Pain is usually not an indication of a stroke - the only exception is sudden onset of a severe headache.
  •  If you think you might be having a stroke, call an ambulance. Prompt emergency treatment can save lives.


American College of Physicians Complete Home Medical Guide. David R. Goldman (ed). 1999.

 TEN TIPS FOR HEALTHIER FAST FOOD DINING (Patient Care, 6/02, page 78)

  • Avoid ordering anything with the indication “big” or “large.”
  • Say “No” to fried foods.
  • Choose broiled or grilled chicken breast sandwiches or hamburgers.
  • Choose sliced meat or deli-style sandwiches.
  • Avoid cheese.
  • Eat salads with light dressing.
  • Try whole vegetables.
  • Skip the usual sauces.
  • Avoid regular soda.
  • Do not save room for desserts and shakes.


  • This is a time honored tradition, initially advocated by the American Medical Association in the 1920's (JAMA. 1923. 80. 1376-1381).
  • In the 1970's, the principles of evidence were applied to the components of the periodic health exam (J Fam Pract. 1975. 2. 29-36 and 123-129 and 189-194 and 283-289).
  • In 1979 the Canadian Task Force on the Periodic Health Examination first suggested that the few preventive health care interventions which were well supported by evidence could be done at visits for other purposes, rather than at a scheduled annual physical (Can Med Assoc J. 1979. 121. 1193-1254).
  • Since 1979, the American College of Physicians, American Medical Association, USPSTF, and U.S. Public Health Service have all agreed that comprehensive annual checkups of adults should be abandoned and replaced by a more selective approach (Ann Intern Med. 1981. 95. 729-732; JAMA. 1983. 249. 1626-1633; Ann Intern Med. 1991. 114. 758-783).
  • A periodic health evaluation with a focus on a healthy lifestyle and disease prevention is considered by most authorities to be the successor to the annual complete physical (Arch Intern Med. 1999. 159. 909-910).

DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS FOR PREVENTION (for a detailed narrative, go to the Educational Information tab on this site and click on Vitamins, Minerals, and Dietary Supplements for Optimum Health)

  • Consider a multivitamin/multimineral daily
  • Consider additional Vitamin D 1000 - 2000 IU daily, depending upon sun exposure and the amount of vitamin D in the multivitamin
  • Consider a whole food fruit and veggie supplement – examples include Swanson® Fruit and Veggies 4 Life (available by mail order), Juice Plus + ® (multi level marketed)
  • Consider magnesium (glycinate or citrate) 150 - 300 mg daily
  • Consider omega 3 (fish oil capsules) 1000 mg EPA + DHA daily
  • Consider Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) 100 IU daily
  • Consider Vitamin C 250 - 500 mg twice a day
  • Consider selenium 200 micrograms daily (or 2 Brazil nuts daily) if your  multivitamins does not contain 200 micrograms of selenium
  • Females of child-bearing age, consider additional folate 0.4 mg daily
  • Females, consider calcium citrate 300 - 500 mg daily
  • Over age 50, consider vitamin B12 0.1 – 1 mg daily
  • Over age 50, consider Coenzyme Q 10 50 mg daily

Page Updated June 14, 2018