Many times we have been told that a fundamental part of well-being lies in having a good diet and exercising every day. And yes it is, but it is not enough. Mental health, a happy family environment, an emotional support network are also an essential part of that vital happiness that we hope to have every day, but where is that side of our physical health, which perhaps requires a little more? care for the same demands that life brings year after year?
It is not about that healing health to which we are all used to being users when something hurts or when we take medications for specific ailments. It is about preventive medicine that considers medical actions aimed at avoiding, as far as possible, the development of diseases or identifying them early to try to reduce the deterioration of people’s health. At the same time, it promotes activities that generate well-being and significant improvements in health.
Dr. Dayami Martínez Sosa, a family doctor at the Vozandes Hospital in Quito, tells us that this medicine generates different benefits for people, “because they will be healthier, have a better quality of life and premature deaths will be avoided.” It also contributes favorably to the health systems of the countries, because it makes them more efficient, allows them to prioritize available resources, plan capital for the future, and converts them into higher quality systems.
In preventive medicine, varied and different diseases are evaluated, according to each population group to find a way to avoid them in the long term. Next, the specialist details the conditions that are most frequently evaluated and where more can be worked with a preventive system, these are:
Cardiovascular diseases such as: high blood pressure, blood lipid diseases, ischemic heart disease.
Obesity, diabetes and chronic kidney disease.
In cancer prevention, through the identification of tobacco consumption and its link with lung cancer.
Detect breast cancer early with mammography performed in a timely manner.
Early detection of cervical cancer in women between the ages of 21 and 65.
Colorectal cancer, when evaluating the individual risks of the people (age, history of inflammatory bowel diseases or family history of colorectal cancer) makes it possible to recommend the performance of a colonoscopy in a pertinent way.
With the regular examination of the skin by an expert doctor, melanomas can be identified, a very common type of skin cancer in our country.
In the case of pregnant women, determine iron deficiency or diagnose diseases such as hepatitis B or HIV.
Through tests on the blood of newborns, serious metabolic diseases are identified, which, diagnosed early, make a difference.
It can also identify sexually transmitted infections, mental health conditions of people that have gone unnoticed and that could be related to depression or anxiety. Occupational risks to which people could be exposed frequently and cause damage to their health.
With special importance, problems with the use of substances such as alcohol and / or drugs are identified; situations of violence, difficulties in vision, hearing, memory and learning.
HOW TO APPLY IT?
And surely, by now, you are wondering what actions or mechanisms you can take to apply preventive medicine. Dr. Martínez indicates that preventive services are all the resources available to carry out “health promotion, identify risks, diagnose diseases early and avoid disabilities.”
In this sense, they are activities that originate from the medical consultation and also at the different moments that the person makes contact with the health system. “An adequate clinical evaluation must precede any preventive intervention. The request for tests according to these evaluated conditions, the recommendation of immunizations that prevent diseases such as: infections of the central nervous system (meningitis), some types of pneumonia, other serious diseases such as tetanus, pertussis, diphtheria, hepatitis, rubella, measles and mumps; as well as all the activities that can be recommended to modify lifestyles, are examples of preventive services ”, highlights the doctor.
To the list of routine checks to maintain good health and preventive medicine, one cannot fail to add the periodic medical check-up, which should include individualized preventive advice and services. In addition, actions or habits can be taken to prevent diseases, to stop their progression as much as possible or reduce their complications. That’s what preventive medicine is all about, a fundamental part of well-being to which we aim a lot.
Preventive health in the time of Covid-19
Although the cases of Covid-19 have decreased due to the vaccination plan, the Ministry of Health has clarified that we still have a long way to go to reach herd immunity. Therefore, it is crucial not to lower our guard and continue to take care of ourselves in times of pandemic. “We have to prevent contagion, disease and death from Covid-19, through vaccination, hand hygiene, the use of a facial mask, physical distancing and avoiding poorly ventilated spaces,” advises the expert and provides more recommendations:
Take care of infecting other people, isolating the sick person in a timely manner.
Avoid self-medication, identify signs of severity related to coronavirus disease and remember that Covid can behave as a long-term illness that could affect not only the lungs.
Comply with the biosafety measures and protocols in accordance with the epidemiological situation, in each health institution.
Update vaccination schedules in the population, especially in the most vulnerable groups, as one of the high value preventive activities at this time.