The two main healthcare approaches are prevention and treatment. Preventative healthcare relates to a wide range of measures that can be taken to both avoid disease and to detect diseases early. With improving medical technology and research, disease prevention has never been more simplified and convenient. There are still, however, a few social and structural barriers to preventative care.
Benefits of Preventative Healthcare
The field of medicine has certainly come a long way. Although there are a number of common conditions that are yet to have a definitive cure such as Alzheimer’s and diabetes, many diseases can now be treated and contained. This is a very different picture compared with what it was 100 years ago.
Today, experiencing many medical conditions, as uncomfortable as it might be, is not as terrifying as it could be. Many diseases can be treated with antibiotic treatment, an operation, or any number of other predefined treatments. That being said, it’s so much better to avoid the disease altogether, and this is what preventative healthcare is all about. This can include everything from early screening to lifestyle changes.
The benefits of disease prevention are numerous. Preventing a disease or at least detecting it early can save someone the pain and discomfort of illness, the cost of treatment, the time used for treatment, and other negative effects of having the disease. Many diseases are incurable and unpreventable, but preventative care allows people to do what they can within their power.
On a larger scale, preventative care saves lots of money for healthcare providers and insurers. It has far-reaching effects on the health of the general populace and has been instrumental in this over the years. The impact can be greater still with the right financial backing, education, and support.
Improvements in Disease Prevention
Modern preventative medicine and healthcare include many practices such as health screenings. There are many different screenings available today for various types of cancer and for cholesterol levels. People can have colonoscopies done. For seasonal diseases and other common illnesses flu shots, vaccinations, and immunization are all ways to prevent many illnesses. A great example of the benefits of this type of care it that many early childhood illnesses were contained, prevented, and even eliminated with the discovery of vaccinations.
Lifestyle also plays an important role in health. There is now more information available than ever about the importance of healthy eating, regular exercise, staying hydrated, and getting enough sleep. Educating people about developing these healthy habits is an important step that must start as early in childhood as possible.
Challenges to Disease Prevention
Despite the numerous individual and community benefits of preventative healthcare, there are some challenges to taking it further. On an individual level, it’s so much easier to think about getting medical treatment and taking care of one’s health when the first cough or other symptom starts to emerge. Even then, many people ignore these signs and symptoms. Preventative healthcare must come way before then. It must come when the person is feeling great and healthy or when the earliest signs of sickness are felt.
There has to be a mindset change for preventative medicine to work. It requires inconvenient and education. The impact of preventative healthcare is not dramatic but often happens gradually with consistent good habits and self-care. It’s hard to measure the effects because the success of preventative care is in the disease one didn’t get, or the condition that could have been so much worse had the person waited a few more weeks or months.
Other challenges to prevention are economic constraints. Many people do not have access to adequate health services for financial reasons. As a result, the focus is on avoiding what may seem to be the unnecessary cost of preventative care measures.