Prevention is better than cure. All of us have been taught about this right since our school days and yet when it comes to practice, we seem to forget about it! Basic reason appears to be an inherent belief that “illness is not for me”, till it catches us and then we start repenting the missed opportunities and start doing what is known as secondary prevention. Let us resolve now to systematically approach our lives and start Primary and Primordial Prevention.
Prevention is a habit and has to develop in all spheres of our lives, be it wearing a helmet, fastening car seat belt properly, avoiding tobacco consumption, knowledge of safe limit of alcohol intake, safe sex, preserving proper vision, avoiding osteoporosis etc.
Broadly, ailments are divided into Communicable and Non-communicable diseases. The latter e.g. obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, cancers etc are on the rise. Incidence of obesity and overweight is around 70% in US today! The average American waistline has increased by 3-5 cm. in last 10 years. To prevent all this, one should strictly follow a healthy lifestyle, which essentially means a balanced diet and an increase in physical activity. In a recent survey, thanks to media campaigns, in last 30 years, there has been a significant increase in physical activity from 20% to 40 % among US adults and a similar drop in smoking status! Simple measures like reducing salt intake in diet decreases incidence of strokes by 35% and heart attacks by 20%!
The earlier one starts prevention, the better are the results. It is estimated that a long-term reduction in serum cholesterol concentration of 10% (which is in the range of lifestyle change) lowers the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) by 50% at age 40, falling to 20% at age 70.
Lots of new and effective vaccines are now available. Our awareness about vaccines is pathetically low. It is unfortunate that we do not have a Global Adult Vaccination Program.
International Modern Hospital, Dubai, has introduced, for the first time, an Adult Vaccination Initiative. It is sincerely hoped that more and more people will use these guidelines to their greatest advantage.
Needless to say, preventive health checkups are very useful in early detection of all types of illnesses and risk factors. In the preventive checkup program at Mayo clinic, 5% people were found to have a life threatening disease and another 30% had a previously undiagnosed severe disease condition.
Lately, large numbers of big corporations are encouraging their employees to undertake Preventive Health Check. There is enough data to show that employees undertaking regular health checks have 45% lesser absenteeism and their medical reimbursements are 20% less. Net return on investment for the organization, purely in financial terms, is
To conclude, preventive healthcare is for YOU. The earlier one starts, the better it is for major gains. Follow the global slogan of Sir K George Alberti, Former President of International Diabetes Federation –“EAT LESS, WALK MORE”, and of course GET VACCINATED.
Dr SUSHUM SHARMA
International Modern Hospital, Dubai