Think back to your parents’ generation. It wasn’t so long ago that no one knew how dangerous x-ray radiation was, or that doctors even believed that babies could feel pain. Technology in medicine is growing exponentially and very quickly, and every piece of growth benefits us as humans. Penicillin and antibiotics did not begin discovery until less than one hundred years ago, and today we can get fifteen-minute outpatient surgery that heals a lifetime of nerve damage. Here are other ways medicine has greatly improved our lives.
New Cures for Previously Deadly Diseases
As recently as the late ’90s, having HIV was a nearly positive and fast death sentence. In today’s world, patients with HIV can live up to 60 years or more. This was not accomplished by a single medicine alone, but instead a therapy that has been proven to keep the disease at bay for a longer and better quality of life. With this discovery as well as those that brought us such things as the polio vaccine, the cure for smallpox, and the cure for rabies, many people are alive who may otherwise have passed.
Improved Mental Health Care
We have all seen horror shows that are set in old mental asylums, or read about experimentation like lobotomies and freeze tanks used for patients who were sick with something that doctors did not understand. Advances in mental health still have a long way to go, but we are far away from previous decades where mental health was largely misunderstood and more frightening than anything. Today’s medicine offers medications, talk treatments, and other therapies that give help to the millions of people who suffer from mental health issues.
Life After Death
Not so long ago, if your heart stopped, that was it. There was nothing else that could be done except to call a time of death. The CPR procedure was not even invented until 1960. In today’s world of medical and technological advances, a person’s heart can stop for a number of minutes, that person can be revived, and has the potential to go on with life as if nothing is different. Machines have been created that can keep oxygen coursing through the blood and brain, holding the body available for resuscitation with no brain death.
Organs were first transplanted in the 1950s, mostly unsuccessfully. Fast forward to today’s world and organ transplants are usually successful, and it is even possible to create artificial organs for humans. Transplants can be accomplished in a much smaller amount of time, and machines have even been created to act as an organ until a new organ can be successfully implemented into the person. Heart bypass machines, while not a transplant device, have allowed numerous successful heart bypass surgeries to keep people alive.
Ask any mother today and you will instantly learn of the pain and struggles of childbirth. Go back just a few decades, and childbirth was a huge fear in the minds of all women. It is a very intensive process and can come with a number of complications. In fact, the chainsaw was invented for women who needed a Cesarean section, not to cut down trees. But advances in childbirth have made that largely a thing of the past, with additions such as birthing forceps and anesthesia.
The process of getting pregnant has been largely improved, as well. Testing and tracking can be done that can tell a woman exactly when she is ovulating, and an at-home fertility test can even determine if her body hormones are well balanced for having children. Women who would never have been able to have children in the past may now have that ability now due to advances in medical technology.
Capturing and maintaining a well-rounded, healthy being and lifestyle are important to everyone. Advances in science have made this much easier for us than our ancestors, and will only continue to grow and improve in the coming years. With the advancement of the development of the human genome, we are constantly learning new things about our bodies and our health and how those correspond with the outside world. We may be looking at better longevity, more diseases cured, and happier, fuller lives.