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Preventive healthcare

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**Levels of Preventive Healthcare**:
– Primal prevention focuses on health promotion starting at conception.
– Primary prevention aims to prevent diseases by eliminating disease agents or increasing resistance.
– Secondary prevention involves detecting and addressing diseases before symptoms appear.
– Tertiary prevention focuses on reducing harm from symptomatic diseases through treatment.
– Quaternary prevention aims to mitigate unnecessary interventions in the health system.

**Food and Nutrition in Preventive Healthcare**:
– Food deserts and initiatives to promote local food cultivation.
– Importance of healthy diets and food education in preventive healthcare.
– Role of food safety monitoring and balanced diets in overall well-being.

**Protective Measures in Preventive Healthcare**:
Water purification, sewage treatment, and genetic advancements for tailored treatments.
– Monitoring of water quality, air pollution, and food safety for public health.
– Importance of preventative measures like vaccines and screenings for disease prevention.

**Specific Disease Prevention**:
– Strategies for preventing child mortality, sexually transmitted infections, malaria, thrombosis, cancer, obesity, and dementia.
– Screening programs, early interventions, and lifestyle modifications for various diseases.
– Importance of early diagnosis, treatment, and disability limitation in disease prevention.

**Global Health Disparities and Economic Considerations**:
– Health disparities based on age, race, income, and education.
– Barriers to healthcare access and disparities in quality of care.
– Economic impact of lifestyle-based prevention and the need for economic models to guide investments and policies.

Preventive healthcare, or prophylaxis, is the application of healthcare measures to prevent diseases. Disease and disability are affected by environmental factors, genetic predisposition, disease agents, and lifestyle choices, and are dynamic processes that begin before individuals realize they are affected. Disease prevention relies on anticipatory actions that can be categorized as primal, primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention.

Preventive medicine physician
  • Physician
Occupation type
Activity sectors
Education required
Fields of
Hospitals, clinics
Immunization against diseases is a key preventive healthcare measure.

Each year, millions of people die of preventable causes. A 2004 study showed that about half of all deaths in the United States in 2000 were due to preventable behaviors and exposures. Leading causes included cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, unintentional injuries, diabetes, and certain infectious diseases. This same study estimates that 400,000 people die each year in the United States due to poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle. According to estimates made by the World Health Organization (WHO), about 55 million people died worldwide in 2011, and two-thirds of these died from non-communicable diseases, including cancer, diabetes, and chronic cardiovascular and lung diseases. This is an increase from the year 2000, during which 60% of deaths were attributed to these diseases.

Preventive healthcare is especially important given the worldwide rise in the prevalence of chronic diseases and deaths from these diseases. There are many methods for prevention of disease. One of them is prevention of teenage smoking through information giving. It is recommended that adults and children aim to visit their doctor for regular check-ups, even if they feel healthy, to perform disease screening, identify risk factors for disease, discuss tips for a healthy and balanced lifestyle, stay up to date with immunizations and boosters, and maintain a good relationship with a healthcare provider. In pediatrics, some common examples of primary prevention are encouraging parents to turn down the temperature of their home water heater in order to avoid scalding burns, encouraging children to wear bicycle helmets, and suggesting that people use the air quality index (AQI) to check the level of pollution in the outside air before engaging in sporting activities. Some common disease screenings include checking for hypertension (high blood pressure), hyperglycemia (high blood sugar, a risk factor for diabetes mellitus), hypercholesterolemia (high blood cholesterol), screening for colon cancer, depression, HIV and other common types of sexually transmitted disease such as chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea, mammography (to screen for breast cancer), colorectal cancer screening, a Pap test (to check for cervical cancer), and screening for osteoporosis. Genetic testing can also be performed to screen for mutations that cause genetic disorders or predisposition to certain diseases such as breast or ovarian cancer. However, these measures are not affordable for every individual and the cost effectiveness of preventive healthcare is still a topic of debate.

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