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Prophylaxis (Greek "προφυλάσσω" to guard or prevent beforehand) is any medical or public health procedure whose purpose is to prevent, rather than treat or cure a disease. Roughly, prophylactic measures are divided between primary prophylaxis (to prevent the development of a disease) and secondary prophylaxis (whereby the disease has already developed and the patient is protected against worsening of this process).
Some specific examples of prophylaxis of relevence to psychologists include:
- Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) may, with caution, be an example of a chronic migraine preventative (see Amitriptyline and migraines' prevention by medicine).
- Condoms are sometimes referred to as "prophylactics" because of their use to prevent pregnancy and the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases.
- Daily and moderate physical exercise in various forms can be called prophylactic because it can maintain or improve one's health. Cycling for transport appears to very significantly improve health by reducing risk of heart diseases, various cancers, muscular- and skeletal diseases and overall mortality.
- ↑ Lars Bo Andersen et al. (Jun 2000). All-cause mortality associated with physical activity during leisure time, work, sports, and cycling to work.. Arch Intern Med. 160 (11): 1621–8.
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