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Nick Rivera

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Prevention is better than cure. The best way to prevent disease is through a combination of diet and exercise. Prevention takes time to build up, but the results are usually long-lasting. Although not always immediate, diseases often develop gradually over time. Thus, in order to slow down the progression of certain diseases, proper preventive care is needed.

Prevention is one of the key elements of good health. However, achieving and maintaining a healthy and balanced life requires more than just good eating and exercising. Preventive medicine, or preventive care, focuses on the overall well-being of an individual. The prevention of diseases helps people live longer, improves their quality of life, prevents disability, improves survival rates, promotes optimal health, and contributes to economic productivity. Prevention influences all aspects of a person’s life.

Prevention can be achieved by improving the overall well-being of patients, while delaying the onset of clinical symptoms and preventing the development of health issues. Physicians should work to identify and treat any underlying causes for diseases that affect the cardiovascular system and/or the gastrointestinal tract, such as diabetes. While there has been some improvement in preventive medicine over the past few decades, particularly in the area of heart disease and depression, many physicians recognize the need for comprehensive and timely intervention to provide effective treatment for patients with chronic health issues.

Preventive medicine helps us maintain optimal health and well-being by helping us to avoid the disease before it starts. Proper dietary and nutritional practices, weight management, physical activity, quitting smoking and alcohol, quitting harmful medications, quitting addictive behaviors such as drug abuse, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and eating disorders are all important aspects of preventive medicine. Our culture seems to thrive on highly processed foods and a sedentary lifestyle. In an effort to remain “in shape”, we may skip breakfast, skip lunch, and consume fast food at every meal.

Our lifestyles and eating habits impact our health. This is why primary care physicians incorporate prevention methods into their practice. A physical examination is the first step toward preventive medicine. Through careful inspection of the patient’s medical history and carefully developed case history, primary care physicians can detect and document high risk factors for diseases and conditions. We can then take steps to prevent these conditions from developing into serious health problems, if we detect them in time.

Prevention can also be achieved by improving the quality of life of patients who seek outpatient treatment. Family practitioners and other physician-centers often have the opportunity to provide counseling on healthy living, nutrition, fitness, weight loss, and stress management to patients seeking medical care. Doctors incorporate these methods of prevention into their practices in an effort to improve the well-being of patients. Improving the well-being of individual patients can help them to avoid conditions that can lead to health problems such as depression, diabetes, osteoporosis, and heart disease. These are all conditions that, if they are allowed to develop into serious health problems, can result in significant financial burdens for family members as well as for the individual patients themselves.

The benefits of preventive medicine physician education programs are well known. In fact, many state health departments mandate that physicians take this course. At the graduate level, many programs now offer a core course in preventive medicine that is available to all students. This course emphasizes basic principles of medicine along with the application of those concepts to the clinical setting.

At the undergraduate level, a course in preventive medicine can promote health awareness, empower patients to take control of their lives and promote health care delivery at a community college or technical/vocational school. At the postgraduate level, a more advanced study of preventive medicine might be necessary for professionals interested in becoming full-fledged physicians. At the graduate level, more specialized training may be needed in order to specialize in a particular area of preventive medicine. However, many individuals with bachelor’s degrees in public health care management have chosen to become health care specialists, including nutritionists, nurses, and epidemiologists. All these career fields, especially those who went on to become practitioners, show an interest in the prevention of disease and are very passionate about the promotion of good health.

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