Primary prevention uses education and specific interventions designed to maintain an already existing healthy state of well-being. Thus, primary prevention seeks to increase the resiliency of healthy individuals and prevent disease and injury from occurring. Specific interventions such as immunizations, as well as the adoption of healthy and safe lifestyles have proven highly effective in maintaining health and preventing disease.
Secondary prevention involves identifying diseases in individuals before they produce any symptoms. This consists of using a variety of screening modalities designed to identify the presence of diseases at very early stages so that they can be cured before they impair the functioning of individuals. Properly instituted, this strategy increases the likelihood of maintaining health and extending lifespans.
The Stages of Prevention
Tertiary prevention is effectively treating diseases so as to prevent their complications. The proper treatment and management of chronic diseases is particularly important, as this has been proven to prevent or reduce complications, which usually improves the quality of life and lifespan of individuals. This is best accomplished when a system is in place to provide primary healthcare to individuals, including care that is comprehensive (sufficient to meet the needs of 80% of all patients at first contact, including children), continuous (provided by doctors who know the patient), and coordinated (provided within and across specialties).