Prevention is indeed better than cure. That's, It's easier to stop something happening in the first place than to repair the damage after it has happened



Prevention is the act of stopping something from happening or act of stopping someone from doing something. Disease prevention in the other hand involves actions to reduce or eliminate exposure to risks that might increase the chances that an individual or group will incur disease, disability, or premature death. Prevention is paramount in maintaining overall health and well-being. Adopting a proactive approach to health can significantly reduce the risk of various diseases.

 Regular physical activity, balanced nutrition and adequate sleep form the foundation of a healthy lifestyle. Engaging in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week enhances cardiovascular health, boosts the immune system, and helps control weight.

A nutritious diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins provides essential nutrients that support the body's immune function and ward off chronic diseases. Limiting the intake of processed foods, sugary beverages, and excessive salt helps prevent conditions like obesity, diabetes, and hypertension.

Vaccinations play a crucial role in preventing infectious diseases, creating herd immunity that protects communities. Routine health check-ups and screenings can detect potential issues early, allowing for timely intervention and prevention of further complications.

Lifestyle choices also contribute significantly to disease prevention. Avoiding tobacco, limiting alcohol consumption and managing stress levels are key components of a health-conscious lifestyle. Additionally, practicing good hygiene, such as regular handwashing, reduces the spread of infectious diseases.

Ultimately, a holistic approach to health that incorporates these preventive measures empowers individuals to take control of their well-being and build resilience against a myriad of diseases.






The natural history of a disease is classified into five stages, viz:

·       Underlying

·       Susceptible

·       Subclinical

·       Clinical and

·       Recovery/disability/death.


Classifications of Prevention:

These preventive stages are primordial prevention, primary prevention, secondary prevention and tertiary prevention. Combined, these strategies not only aim to prevent the onset of disease through risk reduction but also downstream complications of a manifested disease.

Primordial Prevention

In 1978, the most recent addition to preventive strategies, primordial prevention, was described. It consists of risk factor reduction targeted towards an entire population through a focus on social and environmental conditions. Such measures typically get promoted through laws and national policy. Because primordial prevention is the earliest prevention modality, it is often aimed at children to decrease as much risk exposure as possible. Primordial prevention targets the underlying stage of natural disease by targeting the underlying social conditions that promote disease onset. An example includes improving access to an urban neighborhood to safe sidewalks to promote physical activity; this, in turn, decreases risk factors for obesity, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, etc.

Primary Prevention

Primary prevention consists of measures aimed at a susceptible population or individual. The purpose of primary prevention is to prevent a disease from ever occurring. Thus, its target population is healthy individuals. It commonly institutes activities that limit risk exposure or increase the immunity of individuals at risk to prevent a disease from progressing in a susceptible individual to subclinical disease. For example, immunizations are a form of primary prevention.

Secondary Prevention

Secondary prevention emphasizes early disease detection, and its target is healthy-appearing individuals with subclinical forms of the disease. The subclinical disease consists of pathologic changes but no overt symptoms that are diagnosable in a doctor's visit. Secondary prevention often occurs in the form of screenings. For example, a Papanicolaou (Pap) smear is a form of secondary prevention aimed to diagnose cervical cancer in its subclinical state before progression.  

Tertiary Prevention

Tertiary prevention targets both the clinical and outcome stages of a disease. It is implemented in symptomatic patients and aims to reduce the severity of the disease as well as any associated sequelae. While secondary prevention seeks to prevent the onset of illness, tertiary prevention aims to reduce the effects of the disease once established in an individual. Forms of tertiary prevention are commonly rehabilitation efforts.


David Nwebonyi

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