Health Promotion: Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Levels

Last Updated: 20 Jun 2022
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Health promotion is composed of three levels. Primary is the initial level of health promotion and prevention of diseases. The next level is secondary which involves early detection of a disease and prompt intervention to prevent the progression of the disease. Tertiary, the final level, is when a disease is permanent and the goal is to return the individual to the best possible level of functioning (Edelman & Mandle, 2010). According to American Diabetes Association website, the 2011 diabetes statistics in America is 25. 8 million of the population has diabetes.

This paper focuses on the health promotion in primary, secondary, and tertiary levels of patients diagnosed with diabetes. Health promotion can affect many factors of a patient’s life from progression of a disease to loss of school or work days therefore loss of education and income to increase in healthcare. O’Donnell (2009) defines health promotion as: “the art and science of helping people discover the synergies between their core passions and optimal health, enhancing their motivation to strive for optimal health, and supporting them in changing their lifestyle to move toward a state of optimal health.

Optimal health is a dynamic balance of physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual health. Lifestyle change can be facilitated through a combination of learning experiences that enhance awareness, increase motivation, and build skills and, most important, through the creation of opportunities that open access to environments that make positive health practices the easiest choice. ” Patient’s active participation is a main part of health promotion. Patients have to take an active role because education provided to patients is to empower them to make better decisions in their healthcare.

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Primary interventions include making changes to the individual’s diets, activity levels, motivation, and knowledge. These interventions were utilized in a study to decrease the development of diabetes. The participants were selected by having diabetic risk factors including hypertension, obesity, increased blood sugar, hypercholesterolemia, or family history of diabetes (Penfold, 2013). Diet and nutrition advice was given to individuals. They were educated and demonstration provided on how to make healthy changes in their meals that was within a limited budget.

Exercise sessions were also used as a preventative measure in which the individuals were encouraged to participate in cardio activities. The program encouraged the individuals to continue with the exercising by offering free classes. The participants of the study had a positive outlook as they progressed with the new healthy changes. Follow up will be a main factor in this fairly new study to determine if primary intervention was successful. Once an individual is diagnosed with an illness, intervening without hesitation is the key to the secondary level of health promotion. The cause of gestational diabetes is not completely known.

Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy in women who did not previously have diabetes, but certain risk factors such as obesity can increase a women’s chance of developing it (Webb, 2013). Secondary preventions include prevention of further complication and treatment of a disease to decrease complications (Edelman & Mandle, 2010). The women should be educated on how to take blood glucose, targeted blood sugar levels and to contact providers with abnormal readings. Treatment of the gestational diabetes is also aimed at patients modifying their lifestyles with diet and exercise.

If blood sugars remain uncontrolled Webb reports according to National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (2008) recommends metformin for treatment of gestational diabetes in spite of successful evidence. Patients that are not compliant are at risk of progression of diabetes. Primary and secondary prevention continue into tertiary level of health promotion. “Tertiary prevention focuses on rehabilitation to help people attain and retain optimal level of functioning regardless of their disabling condition (Edelman & Mandle, 2010).

A patient can suffer from many complications of diabetes such as eye complications, foot complications, hypertension, kidney disease, neuropathy and depression. Patients are encouraged to have a satisfying lifestyles and function with their diseases. In an article about health and lifestyles of diabetic adolescents “Diabetic adolescents had healthier eating habits and more positive attitude towards their satisfaction with life, but their health perception is less positive than that of other adolescents (Serrabulho, Matos & Raposo, 2012).

In the study diabetic adolescents had similarities of inactive activities and social support to adolescents without diabetes. The care of diabetic patient from a health promotion point view involves diet, exercise, medication, and knowledge. Involvement of experts in the fields and communities can assist the patient in awareness of diseases. When nurses and patients are educated on primary, secondary, and tertiary levels of prevention care, they develop a mutual respect and responsibility in assisting patients to have successful healthy lifestyles.

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Health Promotion: Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Levels. (2017, May 19). Retrieved from

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