Levels of Prevention


1. A person with a cardiac disease taking aspirin to reduce the risk of getting MI or stroke......... I think its both tertiary and primary because of the prevention and the person allready having the disease

2. A person who has high cholesterol and is taking anticholesterol agents..... same as the above............

what is it suppose to be and what is your rationale???? my prof has a diff ans... its secondary

grinnurse, RN

767 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surge.

IMO they would be tertiary b/c those are chronic illnesses and those meds are going to be used long term most likely to control the progression.

What is your instructors rationale? I could see where it wouldn't be primary b/c what we were taught that is the teaching and preventing the disease in the first place but they already have the disease if they are on the medication. Have you asked her the rationale behind her answer?

Curious to see what other posters have to say................


50 Posts

Specializes in Primary Care, L&D, Med-Surg. Has 8 years experience.

We were taught that tertiary level of prevention is pretty much rehabilitation after the fact; like the patient actually had the MI or stroke and is rehabilitating from that event. We were taught secondary is the level where a patient has the problem (cardiac disease or hypercholesterolemia) and is being maintained at that level, and the aim is to prevent further progression. We were taught primary level of prevention is to prevent the problem all together.

Specializes in Critical Care, Pediatrics, Geriatrics.

Your instructor is right. If the pt has a disease that could lead to a very severe complication, such as having HTN and CAD and hyperlipedemia and is on meds to control and prevent further complications it is secondary. Tertiary is most definitely after the occurrence of an MI or CVA...the best way I know how to clarify the difference for you is that with tertiary there has been a significant amt of damage done that is irreversible (death of heart tissue, neural tissue, etc.) and this level of care is geared to helping the client achieve the maximum amt of functioning possible.

If they have htn you are trying to prevent the MI...

If they have already had an MI, you are trying to restore their level of functioning to as close to what it was before the MI, but you cannot restore the heart tissue that was damaged therefore their heart will not function the same as before the MI

Am I making sense....its hard to explain and a very gray area sometimes

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