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Mayo Clin Proc. 2004 Mar;79(3):416-27.

Preventive health care in the elderly population: a guide for practicing physicians.

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  • 1Division of Community Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minn 55905, USA.


Preventive medicine provides important benefits to all persons, including older adults; however, these benefits may be seen more clearly in younger adults than in older persons. Smoking cessation, proper nutrition, exercise, and immunizations are important regardless of age. The prevalence of illness increases as we age; at the same time, life expectancy decreases. All physicians and patients should consider the potential benefits of screening and treatment vs conservative management. We discuss lifestyle recommendations such as smoking cessation, exercise, and good nutrition, as well as the role of screening for cardiovascular disease, cancer, and sensory and other disorders. These recommendations are derived from evidence-based guidelines when available; issues not associated with established guidelines are discussed on the basis of best current thinking.

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