Preventive medicine or preventive care refers to measures taken to prevent diseases, (or injuries) rather than curing them or treating their symptoms. The term contrasts in method with curative and palliative medicine, and in scope with public health methods (which work at the level of population health rather than individual health).
This takes place at primary, secondary and tertiary prevention levels.
Simple examples of preventive medicine include hand washing and immunizations. Preventive care may include examinations and screening tests tailored to an individual's age, health, and family history. For example, a person with a family history of certain cancers or other diseases would begin screening at an earlier age and/or more frequently than those with no family history. On the other side of preventive medicine, some non-profit organizations, such as the Northern California Cancer Center, apply epidemiological research towards finding ways to prevent diseases.
Gordon (1987) in the area of disease prevention, and later Kumpfer and Baxley in the area of substance use proposed a three-tiered preventive intervention classification system: universal, selective, and indicated prevention. Amongst others, this typology has gained favour and is used by the U.S. Institute of Medicine, the NIDA and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.
Outside the scope of this three-tier model is environmental prevention. Environmental prevention approaches are typically managed at the regulatory or community level, and focus on interventions to deter drug consumption. Prohibition and bans (e.g. smoking workplace bans, alcohol advertising bans) may be viewed as the ultimate environmental restriction. However, in practice environmental preventions programmes embrace various initiatives at the macro and micro level, from government monopolies for alcohol sales, through roadside sobriety or drug tests, worker/pupil/student drug testing, increased policing in sensitive settings (near schools, at rock festivals), and legislative guidelines aimed at precipitating punishments (warnings, penalties, fines).
Professionals involved in the public health aspect of this practice may be involved in entomology, pest control, and public health inspections. Public health inspections can include recreational waters, pools, beaches, food preparation and serving, and industrial hygiene inspections and surveys.
In order to become board-certified in one of the preventive medicine areas of specialization, a licensed U.S. physician (M.D. or D.O.) must successfully complete a preventive medicine medical residency program following a one-year internship. Following that, the physician must complete a year of practice in that special area and pass the preventive medicine board examination. The residency program is at least two years in length and includes completion of a master's degree in public health (MPH) or equivalent. The board exam takes an entire day: the morning session concentrates on general preventive medicine questions, while the afternoon session concentrates on the one of the three areas of specialization that the applicant has studied.
In addition, there are two subspecialty areas of certification:
These certifications require sitting for an examination following successful completion of an MT or UHB fellowship and prior board certification in one of the 24 ABMS-recognized specialties.
Prophylaxis (Greek "προφυλάσσω" to guard or prevent beforehand) is any medical or public health procedure whose purpose is to prevent, rather than treat or cure a disease. In general terms, prophylactic measures are divided between primary prophylaxis (to prevent the development of a disease) and secondary prophylaxis (whereby the disease has already developed and the patient is protected against worsening of this process).
Some specific examples of prophylaxis include:
Leading causes of preventable death worldwide as of the year 2001.
|Cause||Number of deaths resulting (millions per year)|
|Sexually transmitted infections||3.0|
|Overweight and obesity||2.5|
|Indoor air pollution from solid fuels||1.8|
|Unsafe water and poor sanitation||1.6|
Leading causes of preventable deaths in the United States in the year 2000.
|Cause||Number of deaths resulting|
435,000 deaths or 18.1% of the total deaths
|Overweight and Obesity||
365,000 deaths or 15.2% of the total deaths.
85,000 deaths or 3.5% of the total deaths.
75,000 deaths or 3.1% of the total deaths.
55,000 deaths or 2.3% of the total deaths.
43,000 deaths or 1.8% of the total deaths.
|Incidents involving firearms||
29,000 deaths or 1.2% of the total deaths.
|Sexually transmitted diseases||
20,000 deaths or 0.8% of the total deaths.
17,000 deaths or 0.7% of the total deaths.
Prophylaxis (Greek "προφυλάσσω" to guard or prevent beforehand) is any medical or public health procedure whose purpose is to prevent, rather than treat or cure a disease. Roughly, prophylactic measures are divided between primary prophylaxis (to prevent the development of a disease) and secondary prophylaxis (whereby the disease has already developed and the patient is protected against worsening of this process).
Some specific examples of prophylaxis include:
Prophylaxis is the central idea in preventative medicine. People usually think medical treatment helps sick people to get healthy. Prophylactic treatment is helpful in a different way. Primary prophylaxis tries to stop healthy people from getting sick. Secondary prophylaxis tries to stop people who are sick from getting worse.
Prophylaxis may also be used as a synonym for birth control. Condoms are prophylactic, because when you use them, a female will not get pregnant, and it reduces the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.