‘Kay, Tita Kay?

A veteran shares the tips to spare you her headaches and heartaches.

‘Kay, Tita Kay?

A veteran shares the tips to spare you her headaches and heartaches.

Two decades into the 21st century, and we’re feeling noticeable shifts in as far as how we perceive health and wellness. We’ve well and truly moved beyond merely treating disease, and into the territory of health promotion and prevention. In simplest terms, it’s now all about keeping people healthy.

The movement is reaching and engaging with individuals through official government programs, self-help advocates, and even in popular culture. For example, I’m almost sure that if you’ve read even this far into the article that just like me, fitness clothes form a bigger part of your wardrobe right now. And just like me, you’re probably wearing more sports jerseys and track pants simply because they look cool. You’re also probably wishing for more exercise time and discipline as I do but hey, the clothes are definitely a start.

So many factors determine our levels of health nowadays, but mostly they can   be grouped into environmental factors, genetics, disease agents, and lifestyle choices. While we can do little or nothing for the others, it is the lifestyle bit I am most active in.

There are also 5 levels of prevention to speak of namely, Primal, Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, and Quatenary. In all three, lifestyle choices or changes play a central role. “Just change your lifestyle,” your doctor may often tell you. If only it were so easy, right? Sheesh tell that to my inexplicable bacon cravings at 11pm (no, I am NOT pregnant, I checked).

 

1. Primal

This relates to the health of the unborn individual. His or her parents must make the right lifestyle adjustments to ensure a healthy birth and life of future children. Well known and historic examples include avoiding alcohol, drugs, or certain substance exposure during pregnancy. Lately, fathers have also been advised to adopt safe behaviours before conception. A child’s primal phase of life covers birth to the 1st birthday.

 

2. Primary

It’s already pretty obvious that you can prevent disease by eliminating disease agents and increasing immunity from disease. This includes vaccinations (sorry, anti-vaxxers), exercising, eating healthy, and avoiding destructive vices like smoking or drinking. What isn’t so obvious is how much money and heartbreak one can save by simply doing it at this stage, because things start escalating as we move on to the next stages.

 

3. Secondary

Got hypertension? Do you take a pill regularly? Then here you are in the secondary phase of prevention, you are actively treating an existing disease before the onset of symptoms or fatal consequences such as a stroke or cardiac arrest. Again, changes in lifestyle greatly bolster your chances and treatment efficacy. Some people have been lucky to totally reverse diseases such as diabetes and hypertension entirely on the strength of drastic lifestyle changes.

 

4. Tertiary

 

This is a more serious phase wherein you undergo treatment for actual symptoms. Continuing with our example, a stroke victim would undergo treatment and rehabilitation for any disability such as partial paralysis. There may be some surgical intervention involved here, but physical therapy, exercise and diet become even more critical.

 

5. Quaternary

The aim here is pain prevention and lessened suffering by eliminating unnecessary medical intervention. This is usually the end game.

 

It should seem pretty obvious to anyone that preventive healthcare makes sense. Amazingly there are some who make the argument that the cost savings are minimal or even negligible. But we all know it’s more than money, right?  It’s about quality of life, the opportunity to be surrounded and loved by friends and family for just that much longer and just that more intensely. Just as in life, it’s about the time we are given and what we do with it.

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