Secondary prevention refers to improvements made in a patient’s lifestyle or environment after the onset of disease or disability. This sort of prevention works to make life easier for the patient since it’s too late to prevent them from their current disease or disability. An example of secondary prevention is when those with occupational low back pain are provided with strategies to stop their health status from worsening; the prospects of secondary prevention may even hold more promise than primary prevention in this case.
Secondary prevention aims to reduce the impact of a disease or injury that has already occurred. This is done by detecting and treating disease or injury as soon as possible to halt or slow its progress, encouraging personal strategies to prevent reinjury or recurrence, and implementing programs to return people to their original health and function to prevent long-term problems. Examples include:
- regular exams and screening tests to detect disease in its earliest stages (e.g. mammograms to detect breast cancer)
- daily, low-dose aspirins and/or diet and exercise programs to prevent further heart attacks or strokes
- suitably modified work so injured or ill workers can return safely to their jobs.