Preventive Medicine: What It Is and Why It Is Important - Synlab

Preventive Medicine: What It Is and Why It Is Important

Published by Synlab on 19 June 2024
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From the water you drink, the relationships you cultivate, to the frequency with which you practice self-care through physical activities and leisure, all of this directly influences your social, physical, and mental well-being, which are so necessary for maintaining quality of life. 

 

Preventive medicine seeks precisely this type of care to prevent the patient from developing undesirable clinical conditions in the future, such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, among others. 

 

It is important to keep in mind that regardless of the hectic routine we lead, the specialty of preventive medicine is of paramount importance for developing good habits that will reflect in a healthier old age. 

 

How about learning more about the topic? In this article, you will understand the different types of prevention and which tests can help identify the predisposition to certain diseases. 

 

We wish you a great read! 

 

What is health? 

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as a complete physical, mental, and social well-being, not merely the absence of diseases (1). 

 

Various mechanisms determine people’s living conditions and how they live their lives, as well as how they may fall ill. There are numerous determinants of health conditions, such as (2):  

  • Biological factors (age, sex, genetics); 
  • Physical and environmental factors (geographical conditions, water conditions, food quality, housing conditions); 
  • Socioeconomic and cultural environment (access to education); 
  • Access to health promotion/prevention and recovery services. 

 

Understanding health as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being leads us to the importance of preventive medicine, and you will learn more about it below. 

 

 

What is preventive medicine? 

Preventive medicine can be defined as “a medical specialty that focuses on the health of individuals, communities, and populations,” according to the American Board of Preventive Medicine (3). 

 

What are the specialties of preventive medicine?

Preventive medicine has three specialty, considering different populations, environments, or practice settings (4):  

  • Public Health and General Preventive Medicine; 
  • Occupational Medicine: aims to prevent work-related accidents and diseases, as well as promote health and quality of life; 
  • Aerospace Medicine: focuses on the health care of pilots, crew members, or astronauts. 

 

What is the goal of preventive medicine? 

The focus of preventive medicine is the prevention and control of disease-causing factors in the population, especially for people who are at high risk of falling ill, that is, who have a predisposition (5). Therefore, its main goal is to protect, promote, and maintain health and well-being, preventing diseases, disabilities and death (6). 

 

What is the difference between curative medicine and preventive medicine? 

As we have seen before, preventive medicine aims at the prevention and control of disease-causing factors in the population. Meanwhile, curative medicine focuses on curing diseases and treating symptoms, preventing worsening and the emergence of complications (7). 

 

Preventive Medicine: What It Is and Why It Is Important

 

 

What does the word preventive mean? 

The word preventive refers to something intended to prevent or avoid something from happening. In the context of medicine, it refers to preventing, promoting, and maintaining the health conditions of the population. 

  

What is preventive health? 

Preventive health is the act of cultivating proactive care to avoid the onset of diseases. It is a constant effort to monitor health, aiming to improve quality of life and well-being.

 

What are the types of health prevention? 

Through the knowledge of the natural history of a disease, it is possible to effectively intervene and thus prevent its occurrence. Prevention is generally classified into five levels associated with different stages of disease development (5, 8):  

  • Primordial prevention: aims to prevent the emergence of factors that contribute to increasing the risk of illness, such as social, economic, and/or cultural factors. 
  • Primary prevention: aims to limit the incidence of diseases by controlling their causes and risk factors. It involves health protection measures such as immunization, milk pasteurization, sanitation, among others. 
  • Secondary prevention: aims at curing and reducing the more severe consequences of the disease through early detection and early treatment of cases. It seeks to reduce the severity and duration of the disease. 
  • Tertiary prevention: aims to reduce the progression and complications of an already established disease by reducing sequelae. 
  • Quaternary prevention: aims to reduce the progression and complications of a disease for which the patient is already undergoing some type of treatment. 

 

Thus, preventive medicine can act at any of the prevention stages, starting from the identification of the stage in which the patient is. 

  

SYNLAB and secondary health prevention 

SYNLAB offers a range of tests that enable secondary prevention, identifying predisposition to certain diseases, such as: 

 

Adgen Test

The Adgen  test offered by SYNLAB enables the analysis of genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s disease, facilitating its early diagnosis. It analyzes the APP, PSEN1, PSEN2, APOE and A2M genes. 

 

Cardio inCode Score

The Cardio inCode Score test jointly analyzes genetic information along with the patient’s clinical information and lifestyle to determine the real cardiovascular risk, evaluating genetic risk factors, relative risk, classical global cardiovascular risk, genetic global cardiovascular risk, and the patient’s cardiovascular age. 

 

Frutose Test 

The Frutose Test analyzes the three most frequent variants in the ALDOB gene, which are responsible for 90% of fructose intolerance cases, serving as an alternative to the breath test, avoiding direct exposure of the patient to the substance. 

 

Thrombo in Code 

The Thrombo in Code test analyzes 12 variants in seven associated genes to assess the patient’s risk of thrombosis. It uses a mathematical algorithm to estimate the risk of venous thromboembolic events. 

 

It evaluates the patient’s risk in three ways: the patient’s risk of presenting thrombophilia associated with the current clinical condition (variable factors such as weight, smoking, habits, and lifestyle); the patient’s risk compared to the risk of Factor V Leiden heterozygosity with the same clinical profile; and the risk with the same clinical profile considering the detected genetic variants. 

 

Thrombo inCode Reproductive Health 

The Thrombo inCode Reproductive Health test analyzes 12 genetic variants associated with an increased risk of thrombosis development. 

 

Additionally, it is an analysis that integrates a mathematical algorithm, in which the result allows the assessment of the patient’s risk in three ways: the patient’s risk of presenting thrombophilia associated with the current clinical condition (variable factors such as weight, smoking, habits, and lifestyle); the patient’s risk compared to the risk of Factor V Leiden heterozygosity with the same clinical profile; and the risk with the same clinical profile considering the found genetic variants. 

 

Hereditary Cancer Panel 

The Hereditary Cancer Panel analyzes point variants and small insertions/deletions using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) methodology of 105 genes associated with hereditary cancer predisposition.

 

Intolerance 2 

The Intolerance 2 test analyzes predisposition to gluten intolerance by analyzing HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8 haplotypes and analyzes the most frequent genetic variants of the MCM6 gene associated with lactose intolerance. 

 

Lactose Test 

The Lactose Test analyzes the most frequent genetic variants of the MCM6 gene associated with lactose intolerance. 

 

Celia Test 

The Celia Test analyzes predisposition to gluten intolerance by analyzing HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8 haplotypes. 

 

BRCA+ 

The BRCA+ test is an analysis using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) to detect point variants, small insertions/deletions, and CNVs in 18 genes (ATM, BRCA 1, BRCA 2, BRIP 1, CDH1, CHEK2, EPCAM, MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, NBN, PALB2, PMS2, PTEN, RAD51C, RAD51D, STK11, TP53) related to hereditary gynecological cancer. 

 

NutriHealth 

The NutriHealth test analyzes 120 variants in 95 genes associated with predisposition to nutritional, sports, addiction (alcohol and smoking), metabolism, detoxification, and biological aging factors. 

 

Wellness Check 

The Wellness Check test analyzes variants in 24 genes associated with genetic predisposition to metabolism regulation and other processes related to nutrition to adjust the diet in a personalized way. 

  

SYNLAB and Tertiary Health Prevention<h2> 

SYNLAB offers various tests in its catalog that enable tertiary prevention, reducing the progression and complications of already established pathological conditions, such as: 

 

A200 

The A200 test aims to verify IgG-mediated food intolerance by analyzing IgG reactivity to the proteins of 216 foods. 

 

ISAC 

The ISAC test simultaneously analyzes specific IgE antibodies for 112 allergenic proteins present in more than 50 different allergens. 

 

DAO Plus 

The DAO Plus test analyzes the activity of the diamine oxidase (DAO) enzyme. Identifying enzymatic activity can be evaluated as an intrinsic factor triggering chronic pathologies. 

 

Omega 3 Index 

The Omega 3 Index test measures the levels of two major omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), obtained both through diet and by synthesis in your body from alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). 

 

Intestinal Permeability 

The Intestinal Permeability test allows the analysis of the integrity and functionality of the intestinal mucosa, aiding in the diagnosis of various causes of intestinal and systemic symptoms. 

 

Prosigna 

The Prosigna test is a genetic test to evaluate the prognosis of breast cancer. It determines the tumor’s intrinsic biological subtype by analyzing the expression of 50 genes. The test was also developed to provide the risk of breast cancer recurrence. 

 

What is the importance of preventive action? 

Since the goal of preventive medicine is the absence of disease (acting in health prevention or interrupting the disease, avoiding its complications), the importance of preventive action is to minimize the onset of diseases. 

 

Thus, it prevents the evolution of diseases and associated risk factors, acting in the promotion of health, early diagnosis, and quality of life of individuals. 

 

Get to know the SYNLAB group, a reference in providing tests associated with preventive medicine

Did you enjoy learning about SYNLAB’s preventive test options? 

 

Undergoing preventive tests is an important step in preventing and combating diseases. 

 

The adoption of this non-invasive laboratory evaluation has the potential to identify pathologies early or the risk of their development, thus helping to increase the chances of successful treatment for many people. 

 

Present in Brazil for over a decade, the SYNLAB Group is a reference in various clinical and laboratory analysis services. 

 

We offer modern, safe, and high-quality solutions to patients, health professionals, and companies, as well as the pharmaceutical industry. It is no wonder that we are the leader in the segment in Europe. 

 

Contact the SYNLAB team to learn about the available tests. 

 

References

1. O que significa ter saúde? Ministério da Saúde https://www.gov.br/saude/pt-br/assuntos/saude-brasil/eu-quero-me-exercitar/noticias/2021/o-que-significa-ter-saude (2020).

2. Website. http://portal.mec.gov.br/seb/arquivos/pdf/livro092.pdf.

3. Jung, P. & Lushniak, B. D. Preventive Medicine’s Identity Crisis. Am. J. Prev. Med. 52, e85–e89 (2017).

4. Website. American Board of Preventive Medicine. http://www.theabpm.org/about-us/.

5. Website. https://bvsms.saude.gov.br/bvs/publicacoes/modulo_principios_epidemiologia_6.pdf.

6. Website. American Board of Preventive Medicine. http://www.theabpm.org/about-us/.

7. Práticas Preventivas e Práticas Curativas na Medicina. Disponível em: https://educapes.capes.gov.br/bitstream/capes/586894/1/Pr%c3%a1ticas%20Preventivas%20e%20Pr%c3%a1ticas%20Curativas%20na%20Medicina.pdf

8. RAMALHO, Celina Martins. Saúde Preventiva, Crescimento e Produtividade: uma Análise da Literatura e um Estudo Empírico. São Paulo: EAESP/FGV, 2.003.

9. Tesser C.D. Prevenção Quaternária para a humanização da Atenção Primária à Saúde. O Mundo da Saúde, São Paulo – 2012;36(3):416-426.

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