Traditionally in India, curative healthcare is what has been prioritized. But now, people are beginning to understand the advantages of preventive healthcare and its uptake is on the rise. This blog discusses preventive healthcare in detail.
Preventive healthcare is preventing diseases before they manifest, or detecting diseases in the early stages so that they don’t trigger other medical conditions. With preventive healthcare, treatment too becomes simple.
Most of us visit a doctor only when we are unwell – when the condition makes it difficult to carry on with normal life. Preventive healthcare refers to making regular visits to the doctor to help us maintain our health as it is important to detect an issue before it becomes a major concern.
Giving importance to preventive healthcare is one of the best things we can do for ourselves. Unfortunately, in India, awareness on preventive healthcare is not very high though things have improved after the pandemic.
Fast-paced lifestyles, easy access to junk food, lack of time to exercise, etc. have all contributed to an increase in chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, etc. To fight these health conditions, awareness and adoption of preventive healthcare is of paramount importance.
What Happens During a Preventive Health Checkup?
For adults, a preventive health check will include screening for chronic conditions and staying updated with immunizations. The doctor will also advice the patient on making healthy lifestyle choices, quitting smoking, etc. While the screening tests will vary depending on factors like family history and age, some tests that are commonly done are listed below:
- Cancer Screening: Tests for detecting the common cancers that affect men and women are done as early detection and treatment is crucial for a condition like cancer.
- Hypertension, Diabetes and Cholesterol: It is important to detect metabolic conditions early when they can be treated with medication and lifestyle modifications. Not detecting them in time could result in the patient needing complex management and in some unfortunate cases, premature death too is a possibility.
- Immunization: Many of us are under the impression that vaccines are only for children. This is not true. Adults too need to be vaccinated for influenza, pneumococcal disease, Hepatitis A and other conditions.
- Counselling: This involves counselling for both physical and mental health conditions. The doctor may advice on lifestyle choices that would promote a healthier life. Screening for mental health conditions too is carried out.
For children too, preventive healthcare is important as this is when behavioral and other health conditions can be diagnosed early.
- Well Child Visits: These visits happen frequently in the first year of a child’s life and annually after that. The child will be checked for developmental milestones and the appropriate vaccines too will be administered. Screening for vision and hearing impairments will also be done. Oral health will be checked.
- Vaccinations: Vaccines for polio, hepatitis A and B, chickenpox, etc. are some of the many vaccines that will be given to the child.
- Behavioral Screening: Screening for conditions like autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), conduct disorder (CD), etc. will be done.
Before Going for a Preventive Health Check
It is important that the patient works with the doctor to protect his own health. This involves being aware of family history and common conditions that run in the family. Disclosing this information to your doctor will help your doctor plan and protect your health better.
Getting to know of a serious health condition in the family can be disturbing. However, this is essential knowledge that will help the patient make appropriate lifestyle changes to minimize risk of the condition. The doctor too might advise screening tests specific to the patient’s condition once he is aware of the family history.
The Many Benefits of Preventive Healthcare
Reduced Health Issues:
- With preventive healthcare, the number of health problems that crop up are reduced.
- Even if an issue does arise, early diagnosis is possible which means simpler treatment.
- With vaccinations, people stay protected against dangerous diseases like pneumonia.
- As a result, prolonged lifespan is a huge benefit of preventive healthcare.
Reduced Healthcare Costs:
- When the treatment is simple, it automatically translates into reduced healthcare expenditure.
- In a country like ours where many people do not have health insurance, health expenses can drastically affect finances.
- The situation becomes worse when diseases are detected at an advanced stage and more healthcare spending is required. Preventive healthcare can help avert such a situation.
- A few people may argue that preventive healthcare too is not free, and while this is true, it is also true that when compared to what will be needed for curative care, preventive healthcare is the better and wiser option.
Peace of Mind:
- Going for regular check-ups and staying assured that there are no health issues to be concerned about will definitely reduce stress.
- The peace of mind that comes from this will make life happier.
- Additionally, taking care of oneself and making healthy choices not only improves physical health but also mental health.
Reduced Hospital Burden:
- The burden faced by healthcare professionals too can be significantly reduced with preventive healthcare.
- This will translate to shorter waiting times and improved quality of healthcare for patients.
Challenges Facing Preventive Healthcare
- Curative care has been prioritized for a long time and it will take time for the concept of preventive healthcare to reach the masses.
- While preventive healthcare is slowly gaining importance, there is still a long way to go. Awareness is not great, especially among the weaker sections of society.
- Spending for preventive healthcare is considered an unnecessary expense by some people who are not aware of its long-term benefits.
- People are averse to going to a hospital for check-ups when they do not have any obvious symptoms of health conditions.
- In some unfortunate cases, people do not have a primary care provider or live too far away from one to avail preventive healthcare services.
Preventive healthcare has always received emphasis at Kauvery Hospital. As a key healthcare provider, we take our responsibilities very seriously. We understand that promoting a wholesome lifestyle and preventing diseases when possible are essential for a happy society and a healthy country. In line with that sentiment, we recently launched a diabetes awareness program to help people identify the early symptoms of diabetes and to adopt lifestyles that will prevent the condition.
We look to launch more such initiatives that will make a healthier shift in our society.