Prevention vs Screening

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Prevention vs Screening

We see and hear multitudes of information about health every day, yet many people have no idea what being healthy truly means.  Does it mean that you do not have pain?  Does it mean that your body is the “perfect” shape?  Does it mean that you are not on a bunch of medications?  Nobody truly has the complete answer on what being healthy actually means, but I do know that being healthy is more than what our government and doctors think it means.

Our society is inundated with commercials about different medications, products, and exercise regimens.  Yet, we have over 600,000 people dying each year from heart disease, 76,000 dying from diabetes, 36% of the population is obese, and 26% of the population has some form of mental illness.

Obviously, our “health care” isn’t working.  The US health care system is about disease management, not disease prevention.  The best way to manage a disease or condition is to not develop it in the first place.  According to the Healthcare.gov website, preventative health care includes screening for: abdominal aortic aneurysm, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, colorectal cancer, hepatitis, lung cancer, HIV, STDs, and obesity.  The only conditions that mention counseling help are obesity and STDs.  So, as far as the government is concerned, screening = prevention.  

If that is true, then as long as someone has undergone a test for something, they’ve received preventative health care.  Let’s look at this logically.  Screening = Prevention.  So, if I wanted to prevent a toddler from drowning, I need to screen the area for possible ways in which the child could drown.  Is that preventing the drowning?  No.  Prevention means that we act in such a way as to make the outcome favorable.  If I want to prevent the child from drowning, I would be sure she 1) knows how to swim, 2) has a chaperone that can assist her, and 3) uses flotation devices while in the water until she is a proficient swimmer.  I would PREVENT her from drowning by helping her with the task and skills needed to prevent drowning.

Yet, our health care is designed only to identify the problems, not help people actually achieve the skills needed to prevent the problem in the first place!  Preventative health care is NOT screening for diseases, it is living your life in such a way that you will not develop the disease in the first place.

I will be posting about ways in which to PREVENT diseases on a regular basis.  Check back periodically for updates!

 

 

 

 

 

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