You can look over the last century, even the last decade and can see that modern medicine is increasing our life span. In fact, it is this increase in life span that has put the Social Security System in such havoc. It is also responsible for the rise in medical costs. But living longer is a goal that we all have. Let’s look at what is happening in medicine today.
We now practice preventive medicine. Check-ups, vaccinations and diagnostic tests. Help prevent disease or treat it at an earlier stage. Many childhood illnesses are no longer common. Diseases like mumps, measles and chicken pox aren’t seen as often in children today. Polio has almost been eradicated. It is rare to get Tetanus or Pertussis. These diseases used to kill or physically impair the people who contracted them.
We now have stronger antibiotics, chemotherapy and a vast array of other medicines that make what were once fatal diseases less harmful. No longer do we run to doctors for the common cold. We go to the drug store instead and pick up a remedy. While we are at the drug store, there are a lot of home test kits we can use to monitor our own health. We can get blood pressure monitors, glucose meters, tests to detect blood in our stool, tests to find out if we are pregnant and many more.
Doctors have gained more knowledge about how the body works. So we are more aware of what keeps it healthy. They have made advancements in transplants and so one human can save another. There is much more help for the disabled. Miraculous procedures can even save a premature baby who weighs only 1 lb. Baby’s who use to die now live long lives.
Research has made the prognosis for cancer patients better. New drugs are keeping HIV positive patients from becoming full blown AIDS patients. And the list goes on. We have pacemakers, stents, bypass surgery and heart transplants. We even have artificial hearts. We have nebulizers so asthma and other patients with lung disease can receive treatment at home.
There are way too many advances to list here. But the fact is that life is being prolonged. The question though may be should we interfere as much in the natural order of things, continue to research and find ways of beating disease and prolonging life or should we just let nature do what it is always done keep life in balance?