Featured Blogs

Prevention awareness: The gateway to being well

by Kelly Menke, Concordia Plans Health and Wellness Educator

Upcoming Health topics: 

1st Quarter Focus: Chronic Disease Prevention

  • February: Heart Health
  • March: Nutrition 

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” – Benjamin Franklin 

Are you familiar with this quote? Do you believe it? What does it mean to you? 

Health and Wellness Educator, Kelly Menke, would like to share a quick personal story with you about what prevention means to her. 

My dad is in his late 60’s. He has been a smoker his whole life and lives with a condition called Barat’s Esophagus, which makes him very susceptible to extreme acid reflux. And you may have guessed it, CANCER … throat cancer to be exact. He may not have been doing EVERYTHING he could to prevent disease, but he was doing ONE thing regularly, as requested by his provider. He was getting regular screening tests done. And it SAVED HIS LIFE! 

During a screening endoscopy, abnormal cells were discovered that came back as cancerous. After a couple more tests, doctors determined that, while it was an aggressive form, it was caught early, and his prognosis was good. I am so grateful to report that he is recovering from surgery well. At this time, because the cancer was diagnosed and treated early, no chemo or radiation will be necessary! 

So, we ask, “Why is prevention important?” 

The CDC reports that 60% of Americans live with at least one chronic disease, like heart disease and stroke, cancer, or diabetes. These are some of the leading causes of death and disability in the US, as well as the leading driver of health care costs. 

Yikes! So, you might ask: How do I prevent a chronic disease? Well, let’s break that down a bit and see what you might already be doing and where there is opportunity. 

There are three levels of prevention: primary, secondary and tertiary.

Primary prevention aims to prevent disease before it occurs. Even if someone has a family history or considered “at risk” for some other reason, a level of prevention is possible. This is where regular screening tests come into play. As well, as healthy lifestyle choices such as regular exercise, balanced nutrition, drinking plenty of water, sun protection, and positive spiritual and social activities. 

Secondary prevention is focused on reducing the impact of current disease or injury at an early stage. This includes the healthy habits already mentioned, in addition to taking prescribed medications and keeping regular appointments with providers and following their recommendations. 

Tertiary prevention includes proper management of chronic illness or injury to improve quality of life and life expectancy. Once a chronic illness/disease has been identified, the goal is to prevent the disease process from progressing too rapidly and negatively impacting daily life. This may be accomplished by a combination of higher level of medications, more strict nutrition and exercise planning, etc. 

Where do you see yourself within these levels of prevention? What are you already doing well? What areas need more attention? If you’re not sure, scheduling a check-up with your provider is a great place to start. They will help guide you to the most appropriate screenings AND you can get your biometric screening (aka Vitality Check) taken care of too! Your preventive care is covered 100% with the Concordia Health Plan. Learn more

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. – 3 John 1:2 

Synod-Wide Challenge: Complete a screening/check-up. 

Dates: Jan. 1-April 21 

Complete at least one of the preventive health screenings that you’re due to get/or recommended by your primary provider. Examples: mammogram, colonoscopy, eye/dental exam, Pap smear. 

Vitality Points:
In addition to the points you already earn for completing these screenings and submitting proof of within Vitality, if you complete your screening exam within the Challenge dates (Jan 1- April 21) you’ll earn an additional 250 Bonus Vitality Points

Since these activities do not automatically flow into Vitality, here’s how to submit your Prevention/Health Management Activity for points: 

Prevention Activities = Annual Dental Screening/Exam, Colorectal Screening (Colonoscopy), Mammogram, Pap Smear 

Steps to submit proof:
In the app > Activities > Prevention > Select Dental or Health Screening > Complete Date of Completion and Details sections > Upload proof of exam > Consent > Submit 

Health Management Activities = Annual Eye Exam

Steps to submit proof:
In the app > Activities > Health Management > Annual Eye Exam > Complete the necessary sections > Upload proof of exam > Consent > Submit