Professor Gilbert Welch, MD, wrote a very interesting article in the New York Times recently about the current state of preventive medicine and how it pertains to the US presidential campagnes.
Today, Preventive Medicine should really be called early disease detection. People are encouraged to come in to see the doctor at various ages in order to make sure they don’t have an illness that they are unaware of. This approach is effective at detecting some diseases before they are out of control, but it does little to prevent disease and it ends up costing us more money.
In contrast, health promotion prevents disease. The best preventive medicine involves educating patients (the word doctor means teacher) about how to care for their bodies, eat properly, exercise properly, and encouraging them to adopt healthy lifestyle habits and a positive outlook on life.
So next time you hear someone talking about preventive medicine, you may want to clarify: are they talking about disease detection or are they talking about promoting health so that disease is less likely to occur.
At his medical practice at the Sage Clinic in Vancouver, Dr Oughtred emphasizes health promotion, disease prevention and the enhancement of athletic performance.