Wednesday’s Ask Dr. Walt — Primary or secondary prevention?

I enjoy being able to answer questions from the readers of Today’s Christian Living magazine in my “Ask Dr. Walt” column. Here’s a recent Q&A about preventive medicine:

Dear Dr. Walt,

I overheard two friends talking about preventive medicine. They were talking about primary and secondary prevention, but I’m not sure I understand the difference. Do you?

Curious in Connecticut

Dear Inquirer,

I like to explain it this way to my patients: For millennia, the only tool physicians utilized for health promotion was called secondary prevention.

A physician saw a patient, treated their disease(s), and then attempted, secondarily, to prevent worsening or recurrence – thus the term secondary prevention.

But now it is widely accepted that primary prevention is the most effective and arguably economic strategy in healthcare – in other words preventing disease before it starts.

Many of our daily choices and behaviors are associated with dramatic increases or decreases in the quantity and quality of our lives.

We can make choices to prevent or delay chronic debilitating and potentially fatal diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer.

In other words, you can often prevent illness before it starts with primary prevention. It boils down to a series of choices you, your family, and loved ones make on a day-to-day basis.

Dr. Walt

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2021. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.

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