Preventive medicine and health maintenance
Preventive medicine is a relatively new concept and approach to the traditional clinical practice of medicine. It developed in the early 1970’s in response to demands to control medical costs as well as to improve the value, quality and outcomes of healthcare. Its main goals are to protect, promote, and maintain health and well being, and to prevent disease, disability and premature death.
Staying current with preventive recommendations is an important part of your overall wellness. Current preventive guidelines are strongly implemented at Premier Family Medical. Individuals increasingly accept responsibility for their health and well being through activities such as diet and exercise programs, and primary care physicians have come to the forefront in their support and practice of preventive medicine. Various groups and organizations—the American Cancer Society, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the Canadian Task Force on the periodic Health Examination—have made significant contributions towards establishing preventive medicine guidelines.
Health maintenance and disease prevention are terms frequently used in the practice of preventive medicine. Health maintenance encompasses modifying personal health behaviors to reduce the risk of disease and injury. Some of the most frequently addressed issues of health maintenance include:
- Alcohol and Drug Avoidance
- Breast Self-Examination
- Low Fat Diet
- Reducing Ultra-Violet Light Exposure
- Safe Sex
- Seat Belt Use
- Testicular Self-Examination
- Tobacco Avoidance
Disease prevention encompasses primary, secondary and tertiary prevention in the practice setting.
Primary prevention involves the completely asymptomatic individual as in the administration of immunizations to prevent disease.
Secondary prevention is identifying and treating asymptomatic persons who have already developed risk factors or pre-clinical disease, but in whom the disease itself has not become clinically apparent. Screening mammography is an example of secondary prevention.
Tertiary prevention encompasses preventive measures in symptomatic patients, an example of which is treating abnormal lipid levels in a person with angina. Some of the main components of disease prevention are:
- Audiometry Screening
- Blood Pressure Screening
- Fecal Occult Blood Testing
- Immunizations: (Tetanus-Diphtheria, Pneumococcal, Influenza)
- Lipid Screening
- Pelvic Exam and Pap Smear
- Colonoscopy and Sigmoidoscopy
- Tuberculin Skin Testing
- Weight Control
In the primary care office setting, preventive medicine is practiced during the periodic health examination, the successor to the “complete annual physical examination”. The periodic health examination encompasses a health maintenance schedule consisting of a series of interventions offered to patients at defined intervals. These interventions include focused history taking, procedures and counseling and are dependent upon age, risk factors and gender.