Prevention of disease has always been a part of medical practice; however, many patients still consider it a time-consuming and expensive process. This is because they do not fully understand the concept of preventive medicine. It is all about taking steps to reduce the risk of contracting a disease before its onset. In a way, prevention is a form of insurance. Here is how it works.
Preventive medicine, or preventive care, involves steps taken for illness prevention before an illness actually begins. These steps can involve the habits you have while you are living your life, or the activities you perform, or eating habits and any other factors that can put you at risk of developing a certain disease. Environmental factors, genetic predispositions, disease triggers, and even lifestyle choices can all affect illness and disability, and are often dynamic processes that start long before patients realize that they are at risk.
It has been noted that people who go to doctors for preventive care are less likely to experience a major illness in their lifetime. This is because they take steps to take care of existing problems and also maintain healthy eating and living habits. Thus, doctors can help us to achieve better health conditions, through regular checkups and examinations. A good doctor will also encourage his/her patient to change unhealthy habits, for example, smoking or drinking, which are proven causes of ill health, but are easy to let go of given the right environment.
One of the most common methods of preventing disease and disability is through maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Smoking cessation, exercising, weight loss and diet control are all examples of healthy habits. Some other habits that can make the difference between being healthy and being unhealthy include avoiding tobacco, alcohol abuse, cholesterol levels, stress, and heart disease. Smoking and drinking together can cause many illnesses such as lung cancer, gum disease, cancer of the liver, throat cancer and heart disease. Dieting can help us lose weight, maintain a healthy body mass index, and is especially important in terms of heart disease, since it reduces blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. A very close friend of mine (who actually works for a Solar Screens related company in Spring) always maintains a healthy lifestyle. And he always inspires us to do this and says that all of us should live with a healthy lifestyle, so that body and mind both are better.
The best way to prevent diseases is to ensure that we live a healthy lifestyle. If people are not healthy, they cannot protect themselves against these diseases. Hence, they must visit their doctors regularly for examinations and preventive care, in order to promote good overall health. However, many of these diseases are preventable, through dietary modification and exercise, or using pharmaceuticals to control them.
Prevention through preventive medicine refers to the practice of making decisions about the spread of diseases among a defined population. For instance, it might be in the best interests of white Americans to reduce the incidence of heart disease and diabetes among this group, so that the overall well-being of this demographic would be improved. Similarly, an ethnic minority would be well served to take steps to ensure the prevention of obesity, high blood pressure and other associated conditions in this population. The focus of preventive medicine is also on the well-being of the environment and society, as well as on the individual. Thus, prevention rather than curative medicine is preferred.
Primary care physicians often work closely with health care specialists to provide preventive medicine. They may refer their patients to specialists when necessary, for instance to treat sexually transmitted diseases. Primary care physicians have a lot of experience with common diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, which are often associated with preventable conditions. Primary care physicians also have a lot of training in nutrition, which can prove helpful to patients who are at risk for nutritional deficiencies. For example, a lack of ample calcium in the diet can lead to osteoporosis, a painful and debilitating disease.
Prevention can also be achieved through lifestyle changes, such as maintaining a regular exercise regimen and eating a balanced diet. Behavioral influences include keeping alcohol and tobacco use under control, avoiding sedentary activities and quitting excessive smoking. Some experts believe that behavioral influences alone can be effective in reducing health care costs. A recent study by the Rand Corporation showed that for the lower-income group, controlling dietary factors, like saturated fat, was more costly than controlling behavioral influences, such as eating the right foods. Other studies have shown that these interventions can reduce health care costs by as much as 30 percent.