Prevention - when?
Great potential lies in measures aimed at the field of primary prevention. However, this is also the crux: The effects to be achieved are only to presume and derived from statistics, the effects obtained individually on their extent and with respect to the time individually difficult to measure. How should it be proven that someone 60 years old has a healthy heart because he has done sports regularly? Maybe that's because he did not smoke or just "have good genes"? Another difficulty is that the payers for prevention are often different from those for illness and their social and professional consequences. And matching different money pots is a task that should not be underestimated.
Much of the cost to be saved lies in the area of "common diseases", especially:
- Cardiovascular diseases (for example hypertension, heart attack),
- Musculoskeletal disorders (especially back problems),
- Diabetes mellitus and
Their number increases, due to known risk factors that can be avoided. Therefore, there is a great potential for primary prevention in this area. The focus is on regular and proper exercise, adequate and healthy nutrition and adequate recovery periods. Smoking and alcohol consumption - known risk factors for a variety of diseases - must be stopped or restricted, with mundane complaints, a waiver of drugs should be sought.
Infectious diseases as well as HIV and sexually transmitted diseases can also be contained through vaccinations and appropriate precautionary measures. Also important here is the knowledge about it - an important aspect of sex education.
Another issue is the increase in mental and psychosomatic illnesses. This includes:
- Eating disorder,
- stress related illnesses and
Here, too, awareness-raising and seminars such as learning stress management strategies and relaxation techniques can make an important contribution to prevention. Not to mention the advice of pregnant women and programs for the maintenance of dental health. Here, dentists in particular are asked to educate and guide their patients adequately. Legislative group prophylaxis in children has shown considerable success in dental health over the past 15 years.
Examinations of newborn babies immediately after birth, and at regular intervals thereafter, are an important measure taken by physicians to identify and treat certain diseases and developmental disorders as early as possible. In the context of these investigations usually the recommended vaccinations are carried out with.
In adults, general check-up and cancer screening provide an opportunity to detect disease before it becomes symptomatic.
Prevention - with whom?
Prevention and health promotion should start at an age when patterns of behavior are learned and lifestyle, physical activity and nutrition are particularly well-governed. Therefore, prevention programs must already be introduced in children and adolescents - in kindergarten, school, family and other living conditions. This also reduces the social inequality of health opportunities.
Another area is the world of work. Occupational health promotion and improved occupational safety prevent many occupational illnesses and accidents. A large group are also the elderly. Physical and mental performance are a prerequisite for a self-determined, independent life. It is therefore also an important goal to promote and maintain these in old age.