Preventative care is a vital part of the health care system in that it takes measures to stave off disease, rather than treat existing conditions. Approximately half of all deaths in the United States are the result of behaviors and exposures that are entirely preventable. Conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and chronic respiratory disease are often the result of lifestyle choices. A poor diet and sedentary lifestyle are tremendous contributors to disease and early mortality.
Preventative care seeks to engage individuals with the health care system in order to screen for treatable conditions, keep immunizations up to date, and learn vital information for remaining healthy. High blood pressure, hyperglycemia, and high cholesterol are but a few of the preventable conditions that regular check-ups can forestall.
There are three levels of preventative care. Primary prevention teaches methods that avoid diseases, and include such steps as immunizations, a health diet, and the avoidance of smoking. Secondary prevention detects and address existing diseases before the appearance of symptoms. Screenings for cancer and hypertension treatments are types of secondary prevention. Tertiary prevention is actions taken to reduce the negative impact of disease through treatment or rehabilitation. Surgical procedures that halt a disease’s progress are types of tertiary prevention.