Disease prevention encompasses a wide variety of approaches promoting health and lowering the risk of contracting chronic illness. Reducing the likelihood of being sick or hurt is central to disease prevention, which aims to improve health and extend people’s lives. It also helps those with preexisting health issues cope better with their symptoms.
We often hear the phrase “Prevention is the best medicine”, and it couldn’t be any more accurate than this! The approach encompasses a wide range of activities and strategies to promote wellness, and it can be applied at individual, community, and population levels. Are there any categories of disease prevention? Certainly yes!
Categories of Disease Prevention:
Primary prevention: It attempts to stop health problems before they emerge. It includes actions aimed toward the general populace or at the individual level. Methods of primary prevention include:
- Health Promotion: Encouraging people to exercise regularly, eat a balanced diet, and stay away from drugs and alcohol.
- Immunization: Programs that give vaccines to stop contagious diseases.
- Safety measures for the environment and the workplace: Include rules and habits that keep people from being exposed to dangerous health situations in public.
- Campaigns for education and awareness: Spreading awareness through communication and visuals about the risks and benefits of things.
Secondary Prevention: Secondary prevention aims to stop illnesses before progressing through early diagnosis and effective treatment. Everything from:
- Screening programs: Includes routine lab exams and testing to identify illnesses like cancer, including mammograms and colonoscopies.
- Early Intervention: To delay or halt the course of a disease, early intervention entails identifying risk factors and administering suitable measures, such as medicine or lifestyle modifications.
Tertiary prevention: Improves the quality of life for those already living with a chronic illness. These include things like:
- Rehabilitation: Care and treatments provided to help patients cope with the consequences of illness and reduce the risk of further problems.
- Supportive Care: Focuses on the emotional and social needs of patients with long-term conditions, giving people with chronic diseases the tools and services they need to deal with the problems that come with them.
- Preventing Complications: Refers to actions taken to lessen the severity of a disease’s side effects.
Healthy choices, healthy life
World Health Organization (WHO) highly encourages the approach of preventive medicine and quotes:
“By taking preventive measures, individuals can better manage their health. Instead of only focusing on treatment and cure, it encompasses a wide variety of social and environmental interventions that aim to promote and safeguard persons’ health and quality of life.”
What are Chronic Diseases?
Chronic illnesses and conditions are a broad category of diseases and health issues characterized by an extended period of illness or disability. Cancer, respiratory illness, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and diabetes are a few examples of chronic illnesses. Some statistic by the CDC suggests that:
- Chronic illnesses cause most deaths and disabilities.
- 70% of deaths each year are caused by long-term illnesses.
- These diseases can be avoided, but they still make life less enjoyable and raise the cost of health care—75% of one’s income goes to treating them.
- Diabetes is still the main reason why people aged 20 to 74 lose their kidneys, go blind, or must have a lower limb amputated due to infections.
How are Chronic Diseases caused?
Numerous risk factors can lead to long-lasting illnesses and conditions, including biological, social, environmental, behavioural, and economic ones. These factors are:
- Alcohol consumption
- Bad food habits and Unhygienic food
- Physical inactivity
- Toxic environment
- Limited health awareness
A Healthy Tomorrow Starts Today! To protect yourself from future adversities, you need to start prevention at the earliest. Health should always be first; everything else will follow! Following is a list of 8 habits to ensure your health and well-being by making them a part of you:
- Be tobacco-free: Smoking is the greatest devil, and the best you can do for yourself is to quit it! Heart, cancer, and stroke-related diseases are more common among smokers than nonsmokers. The chance of dying from cancer is also raised by smoking.
- Screening saves lives: Getting regular checkups can save your life. They are meant to detect malignancies and other major disorders at an early stage when they are easier to cure. Health screenings, whether for women or men, aim to detect disease in its earliest, symptom-free stages. Diseases like cancer, where early identification may make a big difference in treatment and even life expectancy, are becoming increasingly common.
- Adequate Sleep: Restorative sleep has a significant impact on our mood and health. Going to bed, getting up at the same time every day and staying away from heavy foods and drinks are all parts of a sound sleep schedule.
- Avoid Sugar: Potential health problems can be avoided by limiting sugary and processed foods and drinks, including soda, candy, and desserts. Long-term effects of diabetes include harm to the cardiovascular system, kidneys, eyes, and nerves.
- Maintain a Healthy Body Mass: Obesity is associated with several serious health concerns, including cardiovascular, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, breathing difficulties, and cancer. Initiate yourself on the path to your ideal weight by scheduling appointments with your doctor or a nutritionist and sticking to a well-planned, nutritionally complete diet.
- The BMI scale guide for you to start with:
- Under 18.5: Underweight
- 18-24.9: Normal
- 25-29.9: Have overweight.
- 30: Have obesity
- Physical Activity: What matters when it comes to exercising is how consistent you are. Starting slow is as good as anything. Begin by watching your daily steps, consciously adding more daily steps to reach a goal.
- Nutrition and Diet: What you eat at the start of the day sets the flow of your entire day! Initiate by consuming healthy snacks like fruits and nuts, then make conscious food choices for yourself and your family. This will ensure regulated body mass and blood pressure levels, significantly contributing to preventive measures. Avoid processed food.
- Know your family history: If there is a history of chronic diseases in your family, it increases the likelihood of you developing the same disease. It is vital to communicate your family health history to your doctor. By doing so, your doctor can assist you in taking proactive measures to prevent certain conditions or detect them at an early stage.
Don’t Let Illness Define You
Disease prevention includes a lot of different actions and plans that can be used at the individual, group, and population levels. The exact steps to prevent a disease rely on the type of illness, its causes, its risk factors, and the available resources and healthcare infrastructure. Ultimately, disease prevention aims to lower the cost of treatment and care, make people and communities healthier, and reduce the impact of sickness.