Preventive healthcare basically focuses on various steps to prevent the onset of disease and not its cure, as we all know that ‘prevention is always better than the cure”. In fact, diseases stem from both physiological as well as psychological factors depending upon a person’s genetic history, environmental factors and lifestyles.
In most of the cases, ranging from diabetes to polio and even cancer, the patient realizes a bit too late that he or she has reached the point of no return due to either ignorance or lack of early (periodical) diagnosis and timely preventive measures.
Global Health Scenario
Globally, there is a constant rise in disability and death due to diseases like diabetes, respiratory or cardio-vascular diseases and cancer which could be prevented from becoming chronic and fatal if diagnosed in time and nipped in the bud. All such deaths are preventable but the people at large are not aware of their existence till the eleventh hour.
WHO’s statistics reveal that about 55 million people died worldwide in 2011 from such non-communicable disease that could be prevented (from spreading) in earlier stages, hence the emphasis on PHC (or Preventive Health Care).
Preventive Healthcare: The way forward
The key to preventive health is visiting your doctor at regular intervals for periodic check-ups even if you are healthy. A good dentist can take the overall X-ray of your entire set of teeth and tell you to brush or floss properly to check dental cavity or prevent root-canal and other painful cures, if discovered at an early stage.
Similarly, a number of diseases like hypertension, diabetes, high blood cholesterol, breast cancer (and other cancers), HIV (and other sexually transmitted diseases) could be checked by timely diagnosis and preventive measures. However, economics being the main denominator, the common man cannot afford costly diagnosis which is where the Government and philanthropic bodies and private sector should pitch in.
Preventive Health Care has reached new horizons in terms of the latest diagnostic technologies, which is bound to detect early diagnosis of deadly diseases like cancer and treat it in time before it spreads further.
Though such a quantum leap in technology is a welcome sign, but what it is more important is that the poor masses must have easy access to such diagnostic facilities, without any economic burden upon them.
The tragedy of these modern times is that everyone is either very busy, or following an unhealthy schedule of ‘’hurry, curry and worry’ ’especially in developing countries like India where one- third of the adults suffer from hypertension and two-thirds of these patients are not even aware of its existence.
And, by the time the truth dawns upon them, it is a bit too late – leading to other complications like heart problems, etc. Statistics unfold that hypertension is the single biggest silent killer in India.
(…story continues in next article)