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Let’s talk about preventive medicine

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    Traditional medicine, the one we have known since we were very young, focuses on improving health by identifying and treating health problems that have previously produced symptoms or complications. However, in recent times, we have heard about another type of medicine called preventive medicine.

    This type of medicine focuses on avoiding health problems before they occur. It is the medical specialty responsible for disease prevention, based on a set of actions and medical advice. “Prevention rather than cure” could be the best summary of the objective pursued by preventive medicine.

    Objective of preventive medicine

    The general objective of prevention is to reduce a person’s chances of getting sick, becoming disabled, or dying prematurely. This type of medicine is not generic, meaning it is not a set of actions or medical advice that anyone can include in their daily life. Instead, the aim is to create a medical profile for each individual and establish personalized goals.

    These goals are determined based on factors such as age, sex, genetic background, lifestyle, and physical and social environment. The circumstances that increase this possibility are known as risk factors.

    Curative and preventive medicine are complementary. Each is used at a different time in a patient’s life, but it is preventive medicine that has the ability to generate a qualitative change in people’s quality of life, avoiding the emotional and social costs associated with illness.

    Objetivo De La Medicina Preventiva

    Types of preventive medicine

    Preventive medicine has different facets depending on the stage of the disease, and four types of prevention in medicine can be distinguished.

    Primary prevention:

    Its main objective is to prevent the onset of a disease or problems related to the patient. It focuses on individuals who are healthy and is carried out through specific actions and preventive control of certain agents. Some examples include vaccination, administration of drugs or vitamins to prevent disease, control of risk factors in cardiovascular diseases, promoting healthy habits, ensuring safe environments, and preventing accidents in workspaces.

    Secondary prevention:

    In this case, the aim is early detection of a disease, which allows for specific treatment in its initial phase. By detecting a disease in its early stages, the success rate of treatments applied to the patient is increased, preventing its progression. Some examples include routine tests for the detection of breast, colon, or prostate cancer; self-examination or exploration.

    Tertiary prevention:

    The main objective is to reduce the consequences or complications of a disease already detected in the patient. The idea is to prevent psychological, emotional, and social wear and tear. Some examples include glycemic control in diabetes, support services to prevent deterioration in the elderly, rehabilitation processes following cardiac diseases.

    Quaternary prevention:

    In the present, due to the overuse of diagnostic tests or the significant power of pharmaceutical companies, there is a high number of patients with overdoses, self-diagnosed cases, or over-treated cases. This type of prevention aims to avoid the impact caused by unnecessary or redundant medical actions.

    Some examples include prescribing antibiotics for diseases that do not require them, thyroid protectors in dental X-rays, overdosing on painkillers or anti-inflammatories, unnecessary X-rays, etc.

    Genetics plays a fundamental role in preventive medicine, as well as self-awareness to prevent or reduce the risks of future diseases. Today, we want to recommend and remind you of the importance of attending an annual general check-up with your trusted doctor to review values and perform necessary routine tests that allow for health monitoring. And if necessary, take treatment measures.

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