What are the Levels of Disease Prevention?

Prevention of disease comes in 3 different stages: Primary, Secondary and Tertiary.

Disease prevention entails a broad gamut of organized pursuits, agenda and projects. Most of these efforts are undertaken globally together with initiatives at the national, state and local levels. The aim is to minimize if not totally stop health hazards. In the health sector, preventing diseases is achieved by ostensible interventions which have been proven effective by medical professionals. Aside from the federal government and private sector, agencies devoted to disease control include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, Office of Disease Prevention, and the American Cancer Society. Right now, there are three levels in how to prevent diseases. These are primary, secondary and tertiary.

Primary Level

Medical professionals define primary or primordial prevention as dealing with ailments prior to their birth or biological growth. In other words, a situation is established wherein specific health issues are purged. This means that other interferences are not required anymore. One distinct example under this category is the worldwide thrust to get rid of smallpox so inoculations will not be needed anymore. Another is heart disease prevention, particularly hypertension, by doing away with the practice of adding salt in all types of foods. You can also consider the pasteurization or sterilization of milk essentially to remove bacterial pathogens that cause sicknesses. The move to stop smoking and engaging in sustained physical fitness activities and exercise as well as customary searching for hereditary deformities are also examples of primary prevention.

Secondary Level

The secondary level of communicable disease prevention denotes the deterrence of proven disorders. This is implemented through the early detection and cure of diseases and conditions.  Such disorders can become dangerous if not perceived at an early stage. This stage is known as screening. You can find many examples of secondary disease prevention and treatment. Some of these are:

  • Standard bacteriological culture for sexually-communicable organisms among persons who carry diseases but do not experience any symptoms
  • Regular test of blood serum for infections like Syphilis
  • Testing for high blood pressure which may point to clinical hypertension
  • Examination of early stages of chronic diseases like breast cancer utilizing mammography

One variant of secondary prevention is to check for maladies which may be clinically obvious but have not been discovered. These include clinical depression or mental syndrome.

Tertiary Prevention

Tertiary prevention is commonly known as prevention of disease development and supplementary complications after unconcealed clinical diseases become evident. This is the turf of medical professionals. However, the difference between treatment and tertiary preclusion is quite uncertain at times. Tertiary prevention is said to be the least-developed of the three areas and still requires significant research in disease prevention and treatment. One example is the effort to reduce cholesterol levels right after a heart attack. This is expected to preclude the incidence of additional attacks and related disorders like chest pains and strokes.

Recap of the Three Interventions

The concepts of primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention take into account the inception and natural history of explicit human diseases and their effects. One other means of looking at disease prevention is to consider where specific preventive interventions are performed which is through environmental changes such as hygienic services.