Aims of health promotion

Health promotion aims (primary, secondary and tertiary)

Primary, secondary and tertiary prevention activities, or promoting health, early disease detection and treatment of established disease are crucial parts of a successful clinic practice.

Primary prevention measures include activities that help avoid a given health care problem. Examples include: passive and active immunization against disease as well as health protecting education and counseling promoting the use of automobile passenger restraints and bicycle helmets.

Since successful primary prevention helps avoid the suffering, cost and burden associated with diseases, it is typically considered the most cost-effective form of health care.

Secondary prevention measures are those that identify and treat asymptomatic persons who have already developed risk factors or preclinical disease but in whom the condition is not clinically apparent.

These activities are focused on early case findings of asymptomatic disease that occurs commonly and has significant risk for negative outcome without treatment.

Screening tests are examples of secondary prevention activities, as these are done on those without clinical presentation of disease that has a significant latency period such as breast and prostate cancer. With early case finding, the natural history of disease or how the course of an illness unfolds over time without treatment can often be altered to maximize well-being and minimize suffering.

Tertiary prevention activities involve that care of established disease, with attempts made to restore to highest function, minimize the negative effects of diseases and prevent any complications that may arise as a result.

Since the disease is now established, primary prevention activities may have been unsuccessful. Early detection through secondary prevention may have minimized the impact of the disease.