Definitions

Prevention may be defined as the means of promoting and maintaining health or averting illness. It is concerned with removal or reduction of risks, early diagnosis, early treatment, limitation of complications, including those of iatrogenic origin, and maximum adaptation to disability. The promotion of health concerns helping well people to learn healthy behaviours and to accept responsibility for their own well-being.

A preventive attitude implies that the doctor understands and can utilise the preventive potential in each primary care consultation by an 'opportunistic approach'. In addition to the traditional management of both presenting and continuing problems, the doctor takes the opportunity to modify the patient's health-seeking behaviour, to provide education about the illness, and to promote health by relating the patient's present condition to previous unhealthy behaviour.

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