Medicine – What Is It?
Medicine is the science and discipline of taking care of a sick person, dealing with the diagnosis, management of the disease, recovery of the patient, and promotion of his/her healthy status. We can also speak of Medical Tourism, which is growing in popularity, especially in Third World countries, as people seek care from medical professionals that are less expensive than those in Western countries. The rising middle class in these countries see these as a way of saving money on healthcare costs.
Medicine as we know it today was developed with the advent of modern medicine, or the scientific community has come to recognize that all humans have the same basic needs for healthy living, which they obtain through natural processes. Modern medicine seeks to deal with these needs in one way or another by providing cures for diseases through medication, surgery, diagnostic techniques, and other means. The field of medical science now encompasses much more than medicine, as it applies to the study of the living and development of all living things. This may include development of new vaccines, treatments, diagnostics and other procedures aimed to improve the quality of life.
Modern medicine is influenced by philosophy, because it is based on knowledge and discoveries accumulated over time. Medicine is organized around the idea that disease occurs when harmful substances are introduced into the body either through contaminated food or the handling of contaminated objects. Because of this definition, medicine can be considered as a branch of knowledge on how to live healthy. In some ways, the discipline of medicine is the attempt to define what is right and what is wrong, what is normal and what is abnormal about human development in general.
The methods used to cure or prevent disease may be classified according to the way they are used. Traditional medicine, such as herbal medicine, oriental medicine, indigenous or local medicine, traditional medicine, etc., are examples of modern medicine, which have been in use for thousands of years. Modern medicine can also be classified according to its main objective, such as to prevent disease, to treat disease, to protect and improve the health of the individual, to preserve and restore health, to improve the lifestyle of the individuals, and to reduce or eliminate the risk of death and illness.
The major objective of medicine is to treat and prevent disease. It is also responsible for reducing the suffering caused by diseases – both physical and mental. It aims at improving the quality of life and preventing disability. It also helps in maintaining social order and peace. Individuals who rely on modern medicine often feel better because they are less prone to suffering from diseases – although this is not always the case.
Although some may use modern medicine with good effect, it is also used irresponsibly, resulting in severe consequences. For example, it was only after the introduction of medicines containing chlorine that a widespread epidemic of cholera occurred. As a result, millions died. Many other similar examples can be cited where modern medicines have caused serious negative consequences.