Life is invaluable and the best gift of nature to any human being on this planet. However, these lives were being lost in an untimely manner in absence of proper health care and treatment procedures.
Technology has been making advances in all fields related to human life, be it sports, movies, politics and even the weirdest ones which you cannot imagine. However, one of the pets field of the technological advances has been healthcare, which has been kind of pioneer in this field.
The main objective of technology is to make human life easier, and so the primary objective turns out to be saving someone’s life when it is in danger. So, the technology has been making unparalleled advances in the field.
However, the main challenge still remains to spread the healthcare services to all parts of the country, even the remotest ones.
There have been many landslide events in the history, some which have changed the world of medical science forever.
All of these events which we are talking about have brought in positive changes in the field, increasing the probability of saving lives of people.
Around few decades back, people used to die of disease like diarrhea, a fact that makes us feel pity about the standard of life and advances of healthcare in those days. However, the world has changed in terms of healthcare and it has changed for good.
Let us have a look at some of the landmark events in medical history that changed healthcare in a significant way.
Discovery of Vaccines
“Better safe than sorry,” this proverb did exist in the English language but did not make sense in the field of medical science before 1796. Communicable diseases were the biggest problem back then, especially the air-borne ones.
The biggest problem was that people were not aware of the air borne nature of the disease, causing maximum problems.
However, the year 1796 changed everything when Dr. Edward Jenner introduced the vaccine of small pox.
Vaccination was invented, a method using which spreading of disease could be controlled and people’s life could be saved.
This was definitely one of the most important even in the history of medical science, considering the number of lives that were saved and are still being saved because of vaccination.
Although vaccination protected people from some of the communicable diseases, it was not until Sir Alexander Fleming discovered the antibiotic effects of Penicillium notatum that the communicable diseases were dealt a lethal blow.
The discovery of antibiotics and there application over a wide range of bacteria’s meant the bacteria were left helpless.
Antivirals and antibiotics have saved many lives, which describes how important the discovery of Sir Fleming was.
Although antibiotics are regarded as the keystone of modern medicine, their excessive use generates unwanted and potentially severe side effects. The US Center for Disease Control (CDC) has lately been sounding the alarms concerning the consequences of overusing antibiotics.
While specialists are taking great steps towards preserving the effectiveness of antibiotics and to slow down potential infections through better policy, the overuse of antibiotics has nevertheless continued to have severe health consequences both for the United States, and other countries from around the world.
Antibiotic use has the potential to deplete our bodies of its natural ability to fight, leaving us weak and vulnerable to many different illnesses!
Antibiotics were first used in the 1940s, and have remained very relevant in the treatment of patients for a wider variety of sicknesses. However, over-prescribing them leads to the development of resistant bacteria, which does not respond to antibiotics that may have worked in the past.
There are numerous side effects that are associated with antibiotic use, and you should know that the use of extremely high doses of antibiotics can result in severe consequences.
How Do Antibiotics Work?
To understand how antibiotics work, it is important to know about the two major types of germ that usually cause sickness in people: viruses, and bacteria. Although certain viruses and bacteria cause diseases with similar symptoms, the way these organisms multiply and spread illness differs greatly:
- Viruses- Viruses cannot exist on their own, they are particles that contain genetic material that is wrapped in a protein coat. Viruses grow and reproduce only after they have invaded other living cells.
- Bacteria- Bacteria is a living organism, that exists as single cells. They are everywhere, and most of them do not cause harm. We even have “good” bacteria in our body, such as Lactobacillus, which lives in the intestine and helps to digest food.
There are also harmful bacteria that cause illness by invading the human body. Antibiotics help to kill bacteria, by stopping their growth and reproduction. The body’s immune system can fight off some viruses even before they cause illness, while others such as colds must simply run their course and antibiotics do not work against them.
What Are the Negative Effects of Overusing Antibiotics?
The Upset of Sensitive Gut Flora
Antibiotics can upset sensitive gut flora. Your intestines contain about 100 trillion bacteria of different strains, and although some of them are deadly, there is a natural balance between the good bacteria and the deadly ones. This natural balance in the stomach can be altered using antibiotics.
The helpful bacteria are known as gut flora, and supports proper digestion and immunity.
While aggressive antibiotics can be helpful when you have a serious infection, they can also wipe out many good stomach bacteria leaving behind only those bacteria that are immune to antibiotics to flourish.
That is the case with C. diff diarrheal infections.
Many individuals, and especially children, are vulnerable to the unfriendly side effects of unnecessary antibiotics; which includes lasting changes to their gut flora.
Antibiotic Abuse Causes an Increase in Fatal Diarrhea Cases in Children
Most common colds are viral, and making use of antibiotics to treat them does not really stop the infection and can create unwanted side effects.
Studies have revealed that half of the antibiotics that are prescribed for children are for upper respiratory infections associated with the common cold. A new study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that children that were given antibiotics for routine respiratory infections are more susceptible to aggressive antibiotic-resistant strains of a bacteria that is commonly known as C. diff.
Children are needlessly put at risk for health problems when antibiotics are prescribed incorrectly; including dangerous antibiotic-resistant infections, and C. difficile infection.
- C. diff is a bacterium found in the human stomach that can lead to severe diarrhea, and it is responsible for 250,000 infections in hospitalized patients and about 14,000 deaths of children and adults yearly.
Antibiotics Teach Good Bacteria to Go Bad
Through the process of horizontal gene transfer, bacteria have evolved defenses against antibiotics. Essentially, bacteria do not need to reproduce to pass along their genetic protection from antibiotics.
All they do is simply pass along these genes to fellow bacteria, just like students passing notes in their classroom. One study discovered that bacteria passing through the colon will be able to transfer their resistance genes to other forms of bacteria! This is a scary mutation that bacteria can have, and is an incredibly dangerous side effect of the overuse of antibiotics.
Leads to Increased Hospital and Drug Cost
The further antibiotic resistance spreads, the more frequent common antibiotics must be retired. This includes many that are available as generics, as well.
In the long run, this implies that ridding patients of various types of infections may require longer and more expensive forms of therapy. In 2009, an average patient that is facing an antibiotic-resistant infection can expect a medical bill of between $18,588, and $29,069. This results in a total of $20 billion in health care costs annually in the US (this estimate is from the Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics at Tufts University).
Respiratory Side Effects of Antibiotic Abuse
Antibiotics can lead to allergy-like symptoms such as difficulty in breathing, and wheezing.
In severe cases, the intake of too many antibiotics can prevent a person from breathing completely.
Also, a severe allergy to antibiotics can result in anaphylaxis; a condition that is characterized by low blood pressure, the inability to breathe, and swelling of the throat.
Antibiotic Abuse Leads to Increasing Cases of Untreatable Gonorrhea
CDC is aggressively tracking the cases of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea, along with C. diff. Not only does the untreatable gonorrhea cause pain, but it has also been linked to pelvic inflammatory disease, tubal infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and neonatal eye infections.
A specific strain, known as Neisseria gonorrhoeae, has developed resistance to the specific antibiotic used to treat the infection.
Presently, cephalosporin antibiotics happen to be the only class that meets the CDC’s standard to fight resistant gonorrhea.
In 2012, there were 334,826 reported cases of gonorrhea in the United States, and according to CDC the majority of new infections occurred in people between the ages of 15 to 24.
Safe Use of Antibiotics
So how should antibiotics be taken to ensure safe use? The following tips will guide you while taking antibiotics:
- Only take antibiotics for bacterial infections. It is always a great idea to allow milder illnesses (especially those caused by viruses) to run their course. By doing this, you will be able to prevent antibiotic-resistant germs from developing. However, you need to leave it to your doctor to decide whether an illness is mild, or serious
- Seek Medical Advice. Ask your doctor if your illness is caused by bacteria, or a virus. If a virus, ask for ways to treat the symptoms, and do not pressure your doctor to prescribe antibiotics.
Always remember that antibiotics can only treat bacterial infections when it is taken for the full amount of time prescribed by your doctor. Avoid using antibiotics that have been lying around your home, and never use an antibiotic that was prescribed for another person.
Saving antibiotics for another time is not a good idea, and any remaining antibiotics should be thrown away as soon as the full dose of the prescribed medicine has been taken.
Antibiotics have the potential to be an excellent medicine, or a medicine which can cripple your body in the long run. It is best to talk to your medical professional about this issue, and ask as many questions as possible.
Research has shown the negative side effects of over using antibiotics, and you do not want to fall in to this trap.
Building a healthy body which is naturally resistant to bacteria and viruses should be your goal, and only use antibiotics when they are truly necessary.
Developing a healthy lifestyle and a strong immune system will allow you to say illness-free for years to come!
Use Of Surgical Anesthetics And Antisepsis
Surgery is painful but can you believe the fact that it was much more painful before the use of surgical anesthetics began.
On October 16, 1846, William T.G. Morton showed the world what ether could do in relieving the pain and deactivating the receptors while doing a surgery.
This meant that pain during surgery was reduced by huge amount. Another invention which took place in the same year was antisepsis i.e. use of instruments which are free of diseases like tetanus.
These two inventions increased the probability of living of a person once he or she underwent surgery.
A part of the doctors across the world believe invention of antisepsis was much important, as a surgery done with use of anesthetics without the use of antisepsis would still kill the patient. However, this opinion is questionable.
Birth Control Pill
Population explosion is a problem in today’s world. Consider what the scenario would have been had there not been birth control pills.
The making of birth control pills ensured the checking of human population, though not as much as it was needed.
However, the event can be considered as a medical revolution accompanied with a social one as women now had the right to select whether they wanted to bear a child or not.
Radiological Imaging of Body Parts
Imagine how difficult it would be a for a doctor to just look at a patient and predict what he has been suffering from or what is the level of impact of injury he has suffered. But this was the fate of doctors before the discovery of radiological imaging of body parts.
The radiological imaging of body parts lead to unexpected improvement in the history of medical science.
Improvement In The Cardiac Surgeries
Numerous improvements in cardiac surgery like hurt-lung bypass, coronary-artery bypass grafting has saved many lives so far. Though the heart diseases have not been conquered completely yet, the number of deaths due to cardiac failures would have been more had these processes not been invented.
These are some of the medical revolutions that changed healthcare in a significant way forever.