Community Health Advocacy Project On Disease Prevention
Disease prevention involves integrating several programmes and activities that reduce health risks faced by human beings (Kenney, 2002). There are three levels of prevention, first is the primary level which refers to lifestyle activities designed to stop any probability of disease occurring. Secondly, there are efforts and concerns directed towards identifying any existing conditions, which are likely to advance to a chronic condition. These conditions may not appear in clinical tests but suggest that a health condition exists. The existing condition may be symptoms of a particular disease, which is yet to develop in the body. The third form of prevention is the tertiary one, which involves reversing the initial stages of a chronic condition. This condition is normally evident in the body through clinical tests (Michael, Wagner & Duffy, 1989).
Hypertension is prevalent among the elderly and this trend may pose great health risks in future is one of the conditions that can only be controlled through preventive measures especially among the aged. Prevention will ensure that the disease does not advance to unmanageable levels and also reduce its prevalence among the future generation (Prisant, 2004). This paper will discuss on the prevention levels of hypertension in old age. It will further propose a model that can be adopted to prevent this disease.
The three levels of preventing Hypertension among the elderly.
At this level, a person may not know that they are prone to hypertension. It is the right stage to ensure that the possibility of developing this condition is eliminated. This is done through observing a healthy lifestyle which helps maintaining medium weight, weight loss is necessary in the case of obese people. One should also ensure that, the amount salt intake is low. This is because, salt retain a lot of water in the body and hence increasing the blood pressure (Lundy & Janes, 2009). Fatty food should be avoided because they contain high level of cholesterol that builds plaque in the arteries causing hypertension. Smoking should also be eradicated. Additionally, a person should do regular physical exercises; this will helps to increase bloods circulation in the body. One should further increase consumption of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables contain essential minerals such as potassium, magnesium and calcium that help the heart to function properly (Lundy & Janes, 2009).
This level is implemented before signs and symptoms appear although the condition may be developing in the body. It is necessary to identify any existing conditions, which are likely to progress into a serious illness (Norwood, & Norwood, 2003). For example, hypertension can be detected by observing some symptoms such as shortness of breath with exertion, fatigue, chest pain, dizzy spells, decreased exercise tolerance and fainting. At this stage, the condition may not have developed, but a change in lifestyle is recommended to avoid a progression into the disease. This is because some types of hypertension may resist drugs and may require therapy (Swanson & Nies, 1997).
This level of prevention is normally implemented when the disease is at its initial stages. It involves managing the disease and preventing it from advancing into the next level. For example, hypertension may be managed or prevented from getting worse by assessing continuous medical attention. This will ensure that the signs and symptoms evident are eliminated through drug administration. Taking the recommended medicine, eating foods that contain nutrients for proper heart functioning are some of the preventive actions expected of the patient. Additionally, one should avoid self exposure to other diseases, which may compromise the body’s immune system (Lundy & Janes, 2009).
Millo’s Framework for Prevention
This model of prevention was developed by Nancy Millo, who based her research on the behavioural patterns of individuals who make up the population by habitually selecting from limited choices (Kenney, 2002). She challenged the notion that, the main determinant for unhealthy behaviour choice is as a result of lack of knowledge. This model further suggests that, the natural history of any disease exists on a continuum, with health at one end and disease on the other end. This means that a person can either stop the disease from occurring or attract the development of the disease through lifestyle (Lundy & Janes, 2009).
This model also delineates itself from the three levels of prevention measures. The model has been defined into four levels, those level include; primordial prevention, primary prevention, secondary prevention and tertiary prevention. At primordial level, children are prevented from adopting harmful life style; while at primary prevention, actions are taken prior to the onset of the disease. At secondary prevention, actions that halt the progress of a disease are taken to prevent further complications. And finally at tertiary level, all measures to reduce impairment and disability are undertaken (Norwood & Norwood, 2003). This model is recommended because it has an extra primordial level which provides long term solutions to disease prevention. It capitalises on lifestyle which is the major aspect in the prevention of hypertension.
Disease prevention is a continuous process of fighting chronic diseases such as hypertension. When this process is divided into three sections, it is easy to stop the advancement of this condition and eliminate it before it becomes chronic. Millo’s model delineates itself from a three level prevention model by coming up with an additional level of prevention. This is more effective becomes the process of prevention is adopted in the very early stages of life. It provides a long term strategy, which can be passed from one generation to the next. Prevention is the best tool in disease management and elimination.
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