Preventive Medicine and Its Practice for Individual Wellness

We are all aware of the popular saying ‘Prevention is better than cure’. But, how often do we follow this for individual wellness? Preventive medicine – a specific discipline – focuses on preventing diseases and promoting health and well-being of an individual. In general, it involves vaccinations, food safety, improved hygiene, and other programs that educate individuals to maintain good health by avoiding diseases well before they attack. However, the practice of preventive medicine for individual wellness is quite significant, yet least evident.

Why physicians in India do not implement preventive healthcare?
At individual level, preventive medicine is practiced with the help of medical practitioners. It is the doctors’ role to persuade their patients to adopt effective preventive strategies to ensure their good health.

In the United States, preventive means are actively encouraged to avoid unnecessary health expenses. This is well supported by the prevalence of HMOs (Health Maintenance Organizations) where subscribed individuals get managed care by healthcare providers. Initial care is provided to the patients by primary care physicians (PCPs), and they are referred to specialists of hospitals only when needed. HMOs focus on preventative health care (through PCPs) and elimination of unnecessary treatments (associated with hospital care) and help reduce the healthcare costs. However, in India, a negative attitude of physicians towards prevention is evident – the reasons being lack of interest and lack of financial rewards for preventive care. Also, there is a lack of a systematic or continuous approach to prevention.

A lot more focus is there on curative medicine compared to preventive medicine in India. The saying ‘Health is wealth’ has a perfect sense. Ill-health makes you spend money for treatment and big health problems (which may arise because of neglecting preventive measures) are expensive to treat. Taking this as an advantage, some physicians are focused on earnings; examine patients with big problems as they are big spenders. On the other hand, preventive care leads to low income for physicians or hospitals and so is de-emphasized by them.

Healthcare prioritization
With negligence or lack of awareness on prioritization of healthcare needs, people go to hospitals for unnecessary conditions. But, it is not sure if one gets effective counseling and education on prevention from hospitals. Instead, some of them just promote unneeded treatment procedures for more revenue or to avoid keeping equipment and staff idle, leading to losses. Hence, it is necessary to get educated on preventive measures by consulting a physician first.

Regular health check-ups – part of prevention
Even, regular health check-ups which are part of preventive medicine play considerable role in an individual’s health. They help you identify unusual activities in your body, and diagnose at an early stage. Monitoring the regular progress in health, you need to follow necessary changes in work, exercise, sleep and diet patterns to better the positive bandwidth. For instance, if a slightly higher B.P (Blood Pressure) is evident from the check-up, you should reduce salt use and go for regular walking to stay healthy. However, avoiding these check-ups due to lack of time and motivation may make you face some serious health issues in future. Neglecting preventive medicine for individual health tends to unhealthy lifestyle and may end you in financial burden.

Education on health benefits of preventive measures for individual health and wellness is, therefore, compulsory. People should be educated on various practices like proper nutritional diet, exercising, and so on to not only prevent lifestyle diseases but also ensure that they do not fall ill.

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