Primary prevention is a medical term that covers the basic idea that the best way to handle a disease is to avoid getting it in the first place. Of course, in the real world, it’s never that simple. No matter what you do, there are conditions that you just can’t avoid. And all the prevention in the world won’t make you immune to some conditions like fibromyalgia.
But by using some good practices, you can do a lot when it comes to improving your overall health. And at the very least, you can remove some of the risk factors that make you more likely to develop certain diseases. So, here are some good ways to practice primary prevention.
How to Practice Primary Prevention
The first step is awareness. Primary prevention is aimed at helping people who are in what’s called the “susceptibility phase” of a disease. Essentially, that means that they have some risk factors that make them likely to develop a condition. For people with a condition like fibromyalgia, the biggest risk factor is probably genetics. People with a relative who has fibromyalgia are more likely to develop it themselves. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do about that.
But by knowing that this puts you at a higher risk, you can take steps to minimize the other risk factors and thus reduce the odds that you’ll develop the condition. So the first thing to do is to educate yourself about what sorts of disease you are at risk for. Usually, this involves a trip to the doctor. Your doctor will usually want to establish if you have any of these risk factors, which is why you’re often asked to fill out forms about your family’s medical history when you go in for a check-up.
And you can usually do the same by doing your own research about different diseases. But you should, of course, never take anything you read on the internet as personal medical advice without first clearing it with your doctor.
So to begin with, make sure that you’ve followed all of the basic prevention steps recommended by healthcare professionals. Keep up to date on vaccinations. And many health organizations keep lists of all the basic tests and screenings they recommend. For instance, the American Cancer Society recommends that women aged 40 to 44 get mammograms every year to check for breast cancers. These yearly exams are a great example of good practices and it’s always a good idea to follow these guidelines.
By following the guidelines for different illnesses you can’t prevent yourself from ever developing those conditions. But you can lower your risk and if you do develop the condition, you can catch it early. And early treatment means that your symptoms are going to be less severe and that you have a better treatment outcome than you would if you had waited to get treatment.
This is such an important part of healthcare. Treating a disease in the early stages typically makes it much easier to treat. And it prevents the development of complications that are costly or even life-threatening.
In fact, it is such an effective means of dealing with disease that many countries are increasingly trying to shift their entire health care systems to focus more on preventive care. That makes sense given that if primary prevention was practiced more effectively, those countries would save billions on healthcare costs.
But on a personal level, the two major factors of primary prevention are early treatment, which we just covered, and eliminating risk. You’ll never be able to totally eliminate all risk when it comes to your health. But, you can eliminate behaviors that lead to higher risk of disease. The Center for Disease Control identifies five major causes of death. These are things that range from heart disease to cancer.
And so far, we can’t prevent these causes of death in all cases. But what’s alarming is that the CDC estimates that 40 percent of the deaths from each of these causes was completely preventable. That’s because they were caused by behaviors that could have been changed.
Smoking is still a major cause of preventable death in America and in much of the rest of the world. And though we don’t often talk about it, alcohol continues to kill hundreds of thousands of people every year in deaths that were completely avoidable. Finally, obesity is fast becoming a major killer, but deaths from obesity are also preventable.
By changing behaviors that lead to medical risk, you can significantly improve your overall health. That’s why practicing good primary prevention is so important. So let us know, how do you practice it?
Tell us in the comments.