Prevention is better than cure.
Prevention is better than cure.

Preventing health problems

You can have an impact on your health.

Reduce the risks of health problems by adopting a healthy diet, practicing physical activities, limiting your alcohol consumption and avoiding tobacco.

Apart from the adoption of these measures, talk to your healthcare professional, who can offer you screening tests or vaccinations, for example.

Your healthcare professional is your ally. Ask them all your questions.

Follow the various recommendations associated with these life stages:

Pregnancy and early childhood

Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is a child feeding method that is economical and ecological. Mother’s milk is always available and contains all the nutrients essential to the baby’s development. It is easy to digest and constantly adapts to the child’s needs.

Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended during the first six months of the child’s life and may continue until two years of age and beyond.

Smoking during pregnancy and breastfeeding

Tobacco and second-hand smoke during pregnancy and breastfeeding increase the risk of harmful effects for pregnant women, fetuses, babies and children. Because their lungs are developing, babies and young children are particularly vulnerable to second-hand smoke.

The nicotine present in tobacco and in most vaping liquids can create dependence and several physiological effects. For pregnant women exposed to it, nicotine risks hindering pregnancy and fetal development.

Alcohol during pregnancy

Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can have serious fetal health consequences. At every stage of pregnancy, the alcohol consumed can affect fetal development, particularly of the brain.

Pregnant women must avoid alcohol consumption, because all types of alcohol can harm the fetus.

STBI during pregnancy

Sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBI) are often asymptomatic but may have significant consequences for the progress of pregnancy and childbirth. In addition, a risk of contamination of the fetus during pregnancy or at the time of birth is possible.

To reduce the risks associated with STBI, your healthcare professional during prenatal monitoring will evaluate your sexual health and determine whether risk factors are present. As needed, the professional will offer you screening for certain STBIs and may recommend vaccines.

Folic acid

Folic acid is essential to the baby’s good development. This vitamin contributes to the formation of new cells and the reduction of the risks of anomalies in the fetal spinal column and brain.

Taking a multivitamin containing folic acid is recommended 2 to 3 months before conception, during pregnancy and for 4 to 6 weeks after childbirth or up to the end of breastfeeding.

Prevention of neonatal conjunctivitis

Certain sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBI) may be transmitted during childbirth and sometimes cause a baby severe infections, such as neonatal conjunctivitis.

To prevent neonatal conjunctivitis, an antibiotic ointment is applied to the baby’s eyes during the first hours after birth.

Blood and urine screening in newborns

Blood and urine screening in newborns seeks to detect certain rare but serious diseases that could be present at birth to treat them as soon as possible, even before the first symptoms. These diseases may harm the body’s normal functioning and even threaten the child’s life if they are not treated.

Childhood and adolescence

Vaccination of children and adolescents

Vaccination is the most effective means of avoiding the propagation of serious or even fatal infectious diseases, which sometimes do not have a known treatment, and preventing the reappearance of eradicated diseases. Vaccinated children and adolescents and the people around them are less likely to contract these diseases and avoid the complications associated with them. Vaccination is a voluntary act recommended by many health authorities.

Families are encouraged to have children and adolescents vaccinated according to the vaccination schedule of the Québec Immunization Program.

Smoking in adolescents

Smoking causes multiple harmful effects on smokers’ bodies, but also on non-smokers due to second-hand smoke. Tobacco smoke is recognized as carcinogenic and smoking increases the risk of premature death.

The nicotine present in tobacco and in the majority of vaping liquids can create dependence and several physiological effects. Nicotine increases the risk of harmful effects on the development of the adolescent brain, including alteration of memory, concentration and impulse control.

Vaping can cause an increase in cardiovascular and pulmonary disorders. The various long-term health effects of vaping are still poorly known.

Giving up smoking provides many benefits.

STBI in adolescents

Sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBI) can have harmful effects on health and result in long-term consequences. Infected individuals, often because they have no symptoms, can transit an STBI to their partners without knowing it.

To reduce the risks of contamination, have your STBI risk factors evaluated at least once a year by a healthcare professional. As needed, screening for certain STBIs will be offered to you and vaccines may be recommended.

Starting at age 14, an adolescent may consent alone and confidentially to the care proposed by a healthcare professional.

Tooth decay

Tooth decay is caused by food sugars and oral bacteria. It is common and affects the vast majority of the population, including children. You can adopt certain measures to prevent decay from appearing.

Childhood obesity

Many factors can influence a child’s body weight: diet, physical activity, time spent in front of screens, and quality of sleep.

Excess weight and obesity in children increase the risk of obesity in adulthood and the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

Protection against ultraviolet (UV) rays

In addition to causing sunburn, UV rays can cause skin damage that will progress over time. Protect your children’s skin against UV rays from birth. The skin of children and adolescents is more sensitive to the sun’s rays than that of adults.

Tanning in tanning salons is prohibited for persons under age 18.

Adulthood

Smoking in adults

Smoking causes multiple harmful effects on smokers’ bodies, but also on non-smokers due to second-hand smoke. Tobacco smoke is recognized as carcinogenic and smoking increases the risk of premature death.

The nicotine present in tobacco and in the majority of vaping liquids can create dependence and several physiological effects.

Vaping can cause an increase in cardiovascular and pulmonary disorders. The various long-term health effects of vaping are still poorly known.

Giving up smoking provides many benefits.

High blood pressure

Blood pressure corresponds to the pressure exerted by the blood on the arteries. It can fluctuate slightly during the day or from one day to another.

High blood pressure corresponds to the abnormal rise in blood pressure relative to the target values. These target values or normal values may vary depending on a person’s health condition. Consult a healthcare professional to find out your normal values.

High blood pressure can lead to health problems, some of which can become severe and even fatal. Often a person with high blood pressure will not exhibit symptoms.

Various measures can contribute to preventing the appearance of high blood pressure, such as abstaining from smoking, having a healthy diet, engaging in regular physical activity, avoiding stress and maintaining a healthy weight.

Dyslipidemia

Dyslipidemia corresponds to a high blood lipid level. Various cardiovascular diseases, some of which are severe and sometimes even fatal, may result from this condition.

An increase in a person’s blood lipid level can be prevented by various measures. When dyslipidemia is of hereditary origin, these measures can only limit the consequences of the disease.

The measures to prefer, regardless of the origin of dyslipidemia, are a healthy diet, regular physical activity and low alcohol consumption.

High alcohol consumption

Alcohol has an influence on the development of various diseases, some of which are more serious, such as cancer, pancreatitis or cirrhosis of the liver. The risk of suffering from these diseases is increased by alcohol consumption, even when this is moderate.

Apart from the risks of diseases, high consumption or abuse of alcohol, whether in quantity or frequency, may lead to psychosocial problems.

Cervical cancer screening

Cervical cancer is mainly caused by certain types of viruses of the human papilloma virus (HPV) family. A Pap test can detect early stage cancer. This test concerns all women from ages 21 to 65 who are sexually active or who have been in the past.

Colorectal cancer screening

Colorectal cancer generally develops slowly, without any apparent symptoms. The immunochemical fecal occult blood test (iFOBT) can detect early stage cancer. This test concerns both men and women from ages 50 to 74.

STBI in adults

Sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBI) can have harmful effects on health and result in long-term consequences. Infected individuals, often because they have no symptoms, can transit an STBI to their partners without knowing it.

To reduce the risks of contamination, have your STBI risk factors evaluated at least once a year by a healthcare professional. As needed, screening for certain STBIs will be offered to you and vaccines may be recommended.

Type 2 diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic disease characterized by a high blood sugar level. Several types of diabetes exist, the most frequent of which is type 2.

Type 2 diabetes can lead to various health problems, some of which will significantly harm your quality of life.

Prevent the appearance of type 2 diabetes by eating healthily and remaining active.

Vaccination in adults

Vaccination is the most effective means of avoiding the propagation of serious or even fatal infectious diseases, which sometimes do not have a known treatment. Vaccinated individuals, and the people around them, are less likely to contract these diseases and avoid the complications associated with them. Vaccination is a voluntary act recommended by many health authorities.

Adults are encouraged to follow the recommendations of the vaccination schedule of the Québec Immunization Program.

Breast cancer screening

Breast cancer is the most frequent form of cancer among women in Canada.

Mammography can detect early stage breast cancer. This examination concerns all women ages 50 to 69 and is performed through the Québec Breast Cancer Screening Program.

Obesity in adults

High body weight can be a risk factor for various health problems. Indices are used to assess these risks. Body weight, which includes lean mass (e.g. muscles, bones) and fat mass, is influenced by several factors during a person’s life.

Prostate cancer screening

Prostate cancer is a very frequent cancer in men. The Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test allows early stage cancer screening. The PSA test concerns men ages 55 to 69 who have a life expectancy longer than 10 years.

Last update: March 24, 2020

Notice

Information on the website in no way replaces the opinion of a health professional. If you have questions concerning your health status, consult a professional.

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