Prevention is defined as the plans for, and the measures taken, to prevent the onset of a disease or other health problem before the occurrence of the undesirable health event.
There are three distinct levels of prevention.
1. Primary prevention
2. Secondary prevention
3. Tertiary prevention
Primary prevention aims to prevent disease or injury before it ever occurs. This is done by preventing exposures to hazards that cause disease or injury, altering unhealthy or unsafe behaviours that can lead to disease or injury, and increasing resistance to disease or injury should exposure occur.
Secondary prevention aims to reduce the impact of a disease or injury that has already occurred. This is done by detecting and treating disease or injury as soon as possible to halt or slow its progress, encouraging personal strategies to prevent reinjury or recurrence, and implementing programs to return people to their original health and function to prevent long-term problems.
Tertiary prevention aims to soften the impact of an ongoing illness or injury that has lasting effects. This is done by helping people manage long-term, often-complex health problems and injuries (e.g. chronic diseases, permanent impairments) in order to improve as much as possible their ability to function, their quality of life and their life expectancy.
Example of Primary prevention
Ø Education about healthy and safe habits (e.g. Eating well, exercising regularly, not smoking)
Ø Immunization against infectious diseases.
Example of Secondary prevention
Ø Regular exams and screening tests to detect disease in its earliest stages (e.g. Mammograms to detect breast cancer)
Ø Daily, low-dose aspirins and/or diet and exercise programs to prevent further heart attacks or strokes
Example of Tertiary prevention
Ø Cardiac or stroke rehabilitation programs, chronic disease management programs (e.g. For diabetes, arthritis, depression, etc.)
Ø Support groups that allow members to share strategies for living well
CIRCUMSTANCES AND SETTINGS IN WHICH EACH LEVEL IS INDICATED
All over the world, breast cancer is one of the most leading cause of death due to cancer among the women. So if we think this circumstances women can take up necessary steps in all levels of prevention to prevent themselves from such deadly disease.
In Primary prevention: Woman can develop good habits of performing breast self-examination to detect early signs of breast cancer. Education can be given regarding breast self-examination and breast cancer.
In Secondary prevention: Routine check-up, screening test like mammograms should be done to detect breast cancer.
In Tertiary prevention: For a woman who has already diagnosed as breast cancer, she should take up rehabilitation programs, join support groups (e.g. Many NGO are there who work for the welfare of cancer patient) that allow woman to share their experience and improve their strategies for living well.
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