What is preventive medicine?

Written by: Dr Abigail Farrell
Edited by: Conor Lynch

Here, in this article below, esteemed Cornwall-based GP, Dr Abigail Farrell, shares her expert insights in relation to preventive medicine, providing us with some examples of this type of medicine.

What is preventive medicine?

Preventive medicine is a branch of medicine that focuses on preventing diseases before they occur. It is an important part of public health and has played a significant role in reducing the risk of disease, disability, and death. The principles of preventive medicine date back to the Greek physician Hippocrates, who classified causes of disease into those concerned with seasons, climates, and external conditions, and those more personal causes such as irregular food, exercise, and habits of the individual.


Preventive medicine has two main approaches: primary prevention and secondary prevention. Primary prevention aims to prevent the onset of disease by reducing exposure to risk factors, while secondary prevention aims to detect and treat diseases early before they become severe.


What are some examples of preventive medicine?

There are several ways to practice preventive medicine. One of the most effective ways is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This includes eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and avoiding harmful substances such as tobacco and alcohol.


Vaccinations are also an important part of preventive medicine. They help protect against infectious diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, and influenza. Another way to practice preventive medicine is to undergo regular health screenings. These screenings can help detect diseases early, when they are more treatable.


Examples of health screenings include mammograms for breast cancer, colonoscopies for colon cancer, and blood pressure checks for hypertension. Preventive medicine is also important in the workplace. Employers can promote preventive medicine by providing health education, offering wellness programmes, and creating a safe work environment. This can help reduce the risk of work-related injuries and illnesses.


If you are interested in finding out more information with regards to preventive medicine, make sure you book an appointment today with Dr Abigail Farrell. To do so, visit her Top Doctors profile.

By Dr Abigail Farrell
GP (general practitioner)

Dr Abigail Farrell is an experienced GP who specialises in general health, preventive medicine, men's health, paediatrics, and preventive cardiology. She currently practises at St Erme Medical.

Dr Farrell considers her work as a GP a unique opportunity to be an integral part of a patient’s health journey. She is passionate about treating the patient as an individual and enjoys gaining a detailed understanding of their health concerns, how it is affecting them, and establishing a tailored treatment plan. She believes that providing patient education is paramount in empowering them to live happily and healthily.

She works within the independent and NHS sectors which includes a very busy urgent care department. She has a breadth of experience in the field of general health. She offers both women’s and men’s health reviews, including cervical screening and prostate checks. Whether your appointment is for a problem or health review, she will offer a comprehensive assessment and discuss the options available to you. Dr Farrell also offers visa, insurance, and driving medicals. She is registered with the FCDO (Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office).

Dr Farrell qualified from Warwick Medical School in 2010. Prior to medical training, she undertook a master’s degree in forensic anthropology at the University of Bradford and obtained a first-class honours degree in applied physiology and pharmacology from the University of the West of England, where she graduated first in her class. During her BSc, she spent a year studying in the United States within the field of neuroanatomy and neurophysiology, co-authoring a research paper which she later presented to colleagues within the same field at Oxford University.

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