The most effective prevention strategies are those we do without even thinking about them. Many important illnesses are much less common among people who do not smoke, eat balanced and healthy diets, and get plenty of exercise. But even when people have illnesses or health problems, there are still often many options for them to improve their health and prevent complications. Prevention is not just about diet and exercise. Prevention is a key to avoiding injury, to maintaining sexual health and to improving mental health.
Feature: Allergy prevention in babies and small children
Which children have a higher risk of allergy? Can pregnant women do anything that will reduce the risk of allergy in their child? Is childhood immunisation the cause of the increase in allergies? We let you know what parents can do to try to prevent their children getting allergies.
Feature: Benefits of losing weight
What benefits can you expect if you lose weight? Our fact sheet has helpful answers to some typical questions about losing weight, including “How can I stay motivated over the long run?”, “How can I keep my weight?”, and “Will my health improve quickly once I have lost weight?”
Feature: Bowel cancer screening
Statutory health insurance funds in Germany have offered bowel cancer screening for over 30 years. In 2003 endoscopy of the bowel was added to the tests offered for screening. Recent trials make it possible to better assess what benefits can be expected from the tests and what their disadvantages are. Read about what the different tests can do in our feature on screening.
Feature: Eye injury
How beautiful the walk along the beach on a winter day – and how painful the grain of sand a gust of wind blows into the eye. Your eye will react by watering and blinking to try and flush out the foreign object. If that does not help, you should avoid rubbing your eye although that might feel like the natural thing to do. Rubbing might damage the cornea, especially if the object in your eye is hard or has sharp edges. This fact sheet explains what you can do yourself if you have a foreign object in your eye. And we can help you decide if you need to see a doctor immediately.
Feature: HPV vaccine
Human papillomaviruses (HPV) play an important role in the development of cervical cancer. There is now a vaccine against some of these sexually transmitted viruses. However, the vaccine only works against the most common cancer-causing HPV viruses so it does not offer complete protection. You will find objective, neutral and up-to-date information on the HPV vaccine in our feature.
Feature: Preventing bowel cancer
There is no shortage of recommendations about how to prevent bowel cancer: more fibre, less meat, vitamin supplements and even medicines feature in the long list of suggestions that have been propagated for years. We have studied the latest evidence to see how much scientific support there now is for these common recommendations.
Feature: Preventing depressions in children and young people
Young people often feel sad, down or distressed. That's normal. Sometimes, though, it is more than normal blues: many children and young people get depressed. But depression can be prevented or at least recognised early.
Feature: Preventing osteoporosis
What are the major risk factors for osteoporosis? Why do some people's bones break more easily when they are older? Does smoking influence bone health? Can exercise prevent bones becoming brittle? These and other interesting questions are discussed in our Fact Sheet. And you can use our calculator for a rough check on whether you are getting enough calcium.
Feature: Prevention of falls
It is estimated that about 30 out of every 100 men and women over the age of 65 will have a fall in any one year. The rate is even higher in people who live in nursing homes or residential care. Most of the falls do not have any serious consequences, but sometimes there is an injury that needs medical attention. Only about 1 in 10 falls causes a broken bone. Although falls cannot always be avoided, there are things that can be done to reduce the risk.
Feature: Quit smoking
Half of all people who quit smoking do so without any medical help. Reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke can already have a positive effect. Even if you have tried and failed to quit smoking in the past, it is worth trying again. It often takes several attempts. Read about what can help people quit smoking, in pregnancy too.
You will find interesting facts on the benefits and risks of screening tests in this feature. You can find out, for example, why some screening tests cannot prevent diseases, why false test results can have serious consequences, what questions can help make decisions about a screening, and what “IGeL” stands for in the German health care system.
Feature: Tooth sealants
Parents know the problem well. Hardly a day goes by without some discussion about brushing teeth. And it is worthwhile, especially with children, to watch out for some basics. You can read more here about what researchers have learned about teeth or fissure sealants, toothbrushing and fluoride to prevent tooth decay. And you can test your knowledge about preventing tooth decay in our quiz.
It is not clear whether echinacea extracts can prevent colds. Some echinacea products might help to reduce the length and severity of a cold if taken at the very beginning. Because the available products are very different to one another, more research is needed. Adverse effects are rare. more...
Fact sheet: Disease management programs
Chronic diseases can be lifelong conditions. But this does not necessarily mean that the disease has to dominate the entire life of the person who has it. Disease management programs (DMPs) aim to help people get on top of their chronic disease and maintain a good quality of life. “Disease management” is the concept of systematically treating and managing a condition. One of the aims of DMPs is to improve medical treatment in the long term. Patients who take part in a DMP are offered coordinated and systematic treatment and care. more...
Quitting smoking: What works in pregnancy?
Quitting smoking programs can help pregnant women stop smoking. Nicotine replacement therapy is probably not more effective for pregnant women than these kinds of programs. There is not enough good research on the effects that products containing nicotine have on the unborn baby. more...
Walking: What are the health benefits?
People who are currently very inactive can lose some weight and body fat, and increase their cardiovascular fitness, if they have four or more walks a week that last at least an hour in total. more...
Walking for exercise: What could help you walk more?
Methods to encourage more walking, like pedometers, walking groups or encouragement to walk to school or work could help people walk an extra 30 to 60 minutes per week. If tailored to you and your circumstances, methods like this could help you increase the amount you walk. more...
Hypertension: Which drugs are best at preventing complications?
People with hypertension have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Drugs designed to work against high blood pressure can lower this risk. Compared with the different drug classes, diuretics can usually be seen as the first line treatment. Which drug is then used in an individual case will also depend on other aspects, for example whether someone has other diseases. more...
Weight loss: Can exercising help to keep the weight off?
People who try to lose weight by dieting and doing exercise could lose about 30 percent more weight than people who only diet. One year after losing weight all of them had gained about half of the weight they had lost on average. But those who did exercise still weighed less than those who were physically inactive. more...
Mental fitness: Does brain training when you are older help?
Brain training with special games – especially computer games – is becoming very popular. This can help improve performance in particular thinking functions like brain reaction time. However, these games have not been proven to prevent overall brain function decline in older people. more...