“Prevention can reduce the significant burden of disease in addition to improving the length and quality of people’s lives” (CDC,2017).
Prevention has become a house name in the medical world. According to THE American Academy of Family Physicians, there are three types of prevention of diseases and they are primary, secondary and tertiary prevention. Primary prevention is done to prevent a disease from happening. Secondary prevention is done to control progression or severe impact of a disease someone has already acquired. Tertiary prevention is lessening the impact a disease has on someone’s life (AAFP, 2016)
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Many researchers have found the importance of prevention on controlling and managing diseases. Most proponents of child immunization for example argue that it is very efficacious in preventing preventable and life-threatening disease like Measles and Polio. In fact, the CDC stated that vaccinations from 1994-2013 will prevent a total of 322 million diseases, 21 million hospitalizations, 732,000 deaths and save the nation a total of $295,000,000,000 in health care (CDC,2017). Primary prevention is very efficacious for prevention of diseases. For example, exercising and physical activity of more than 150 minutes can reduce the rate of diabetes Type 2 by over 58% irrespective of race or gender. The United States for example spends a lot on treatment of HIV, prevention of HIV by using safer sex methods and Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) saves a total of $355,000 for providing life-time treatment. Tobacco use accounts for about 11% of Medicaid costs and 10% of the Medicare costs. It is estimated that the tobacco screening could result in a lifetime savings about $9,800 per person. Just by reducing the average population sodium intake to 2300 milligrams per day could save $18 billion in health care costs annually. It is estimated that just the patients visits accounts for $1,9 billion, that is nearly equal to 4.8%of the total health care costs (Sarah, 2015).. A study shows that the 2 out of 3, that is around 1.2 million emergency department visits were avoidable saving approximately $1.3 billion dollars (Sarah, 2015).. We also can prevent around 50,000 hospital admissions and 22,000 hospital readmissions saving $373 million and $ 237 million dollars respectively (Sarah, 2015).
Child vaccinations for example is very important in preventing the prevalence of diseases and an epidemic of certain diseases. German measles for example has been eradicated in countries like Australia that invest so much in making sure children are vaccinated as at when due. The money spent on treating diseases are far more than the money spent on preventing them. Prevention of disease is the key role in maintaining a disease-free world. A way we can do this is by advising and encouraging people to try in their own little way to stay healthy. Vitamin C for instance has been studied extensively in the prevention of various cancers, we can start by encouraging people to eat more citrus fruits. We can start by putting more posters on the wall showing success stories for people who prevented disease that would cost millions to treat by simple acts of prevention. Not everyone is in favor of vaccination, but we can change that by actively showing people the importance of vaccination. We won’t do it in a day, but with constant effort, people would take more care of their health. We can also prevent diseases by encouraging people to be more active. Activity matters a lot and has been show by various websites to cut down the risk of cancer and various cancers in contrast to a lax lifestyle. Healthcare professionals can help save more money for the United States as a whole by actively being involved in their patients’ day to day life. Nurses for example can prevent cardiovascular disease by educating the people on the beginning symptoms of heart diseases and encouraging people to always do cholesterol checks to ensure their cholesterol levels are in normal ranges. They can also do more education on the danger of tobacco use to dramatically cut down the use of tobacco among those most at risk of getting lung cancer. They can also cut down HIV rates more by educating first and giving free resources like condoms and lubes so people can prevent and protect themselves from getting HIV.
Role of Technology in preventing diseases
Apps like Sweat coin have become a good resource in our time. Sweat coin is an app that rewards you for taking walks and being active. You get money for walking and this has greatly increased walking among people as the drive to make a few more dollars lead people to walking and the outcome is; a healthy weight and a healthy lifestyle. “An example of a mobile-friendly technology that is likely to have an enormous impact on cardiovascular health is the AliveCormobile ECG system(Campbell, 2015). This device, developed by Dr. David Albert, a cardiologist and medical entrepreneur, allows a user to obtain a real-time heart rhythm tracing known as an electrocardiogram – also referred to as an ECG or EKG – from their mobile phone. I serve on the medical advisory board for the company and have come to appreciate the significant impact that mobile devices are likely to have on patients and families in the future. The AliveCor device has received FDA clearance and the company plans to release another version that will allow health care consumers to obtain a real-time ECG on their Apple wristwatch in the coming year (Campbell, 2015). This type of technology puts a very powerful medical tool in the hands of patients, who are then able to assess their heart rhythm by placing their fingertips on electrodes attached to their smart phone. The ECG can then be transmitted to their physician to facilitate medication changes, assist with medical decision-making and help health care providers triage emergencies. Most importantly, the technology allows the patient to better interpret their own symptoms and gauge the impact of certain behaviors on their health status.” (US NEWS). Apps like this and a few other great apps out there improve the quality of life for many people. Technology can also provide reminders for people to remember their exercise routine. For example, a few people have reminder that tell the, when to go to the gym, the type of body parts to train and the exercise intensity they require for that day. The questions of are apps useful in prevention of diseases is a good question and the answer is YES!!! What about nutrition, there are a few apps out there like “Calorie Counter” that monitor directly what people eat and give suggestions on what people should be eating. This is indeed a good app for people who suffer with obesity as they can monitor what they eat and eat healthier in addition to exercising properly. Technology should also be a virtual guide for people who do not want to have a physical trainer. This would be another step in solving and preventing diseases. Technology device can also help people prevent disease by reminding them about their medical appointments. This is a very vital part in disease prevention. A good adherence to medical routine sometimes could be all that makes the difference.
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More than 810,000 Americans die of stroke and heart related disease each year. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. Over 1.7 million people are diagnosed of cancer each year and 600,000 eventually die from it. Over 29 million people have diabetes in the United States and over 86 million people mostly adults have a condition called pre-diabetes that makes them highly susceptible to getting diabetes Type 2. Obesity is a big problem in the United States thanks to all the junk food and cheesy foods that is consumed daily. Over a hundred billion dollars is spent annually to treat obesity and the opportunistic diseases brought on by obesity. All these data stare at us and makes us wonder at how bad we are faring at preventing diseases. Although disease like cancer and diabetes are because of polygenes, we must not forget that the environment plays a huge role in the development and restrictions of certain polygenetic expressions (Shortell, 2010) We need to really put ourselves out there and do more to stay healthy. These results are not in any way falsified and they just show us that currently, we as a nation are doing poorly in preventing diseases. It is everybody’s job not just the job of the healthcare practitioners. Walking 1 miles each day is very healthy and very good for the cardio-vascular system, eating low fat-based foods are good, avoiding smoking is a good step (Jagadeesan, 2007). All these are preventive methods. Smoking accounts for most cancers in the body from lung to even anal cancer hence smokers are at an increased risk of cancer in their lifetime. We can cut down not eliminate our disease risk by checking our behaviors and making conscious effortto show we want to stay alive (Johnson, 2016). It starts with all of us.
References and Citations
- American Academy of Family Physicians (2016, April). Does Prevention Save Money? That’s the Wrong Question. Retrieved from https://www.aafp.org/news/blogs/freshperspectives/entry/does_prevention_save_money_that.html
- Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (2017, September). Preventive Health Care. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/healthcommunication/toolstemplates/entertainmented/tips/PreventiveHealth.html
- National Prevention Strategy. Economic Benefits of Preventing Diseases. Retrieved from https://www.surgeongeneral.gov/priorities/prevention/strategy/appendix1.pdf
- Campbell. K (2015, November). Patient Engaged: Preventing and Managing Disease with Mobile Technology. Retrieved from https://health.usnews.com/health-news/patient-advice/articles/2015/11/20/patient-engaged-preventing-and-managing-disease-with-mobile-technology
- Euroscientist (2016, February). Innovation has a Role to Play in Chronic Diseases Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.euroscientist.com/innovation-has-a-role-to-play-in-chronic-diseases-prevention/
- Jagadeesan. R (2007, October). Preventable Illness at Core of U.S. Health Costs. Retrieved from https://abcnews.go.com/Health/Diet/story?id=3683683&page=1
- Heath. S (2015, July). $2 Billion Spent on Preventable Healthcare Costs, Says MHD Study. Retrieved from https://revcycleintelligence.com/news/2-billion-spent-on-preventable-healthcare-costs-says-mhd-study
- Johnson, Y. C (2016, December). The U.S. spends more on health care than any other country. Here’s what we’re buying. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/12/27/the-u-s-spends-more-on-health-care-than-any-other-country-heres-what-were-buying/?utm_term=.4ee3bbd78949
- Shortell. S (2010, October). What’s the biggest driver of health care costs? Our personal behaviors. Retrieved from http://blogs.berkeley.edu/2010/10/27/whats-the-biggest-driver-of-health-care-costs-our-personal-behaviors/
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