by Bozhidara Georgieva

Contemporary medicine offers quality treatment as never before in the human history, and continues to develop

Everyone wants to be healthy, but how exactly to achieve this is a question to which are dedicated countless books, wisdom quotes, articles in magazines and websites, disputes, scandals, theories and fantastic amounts of money. But even if sometimes you feel not only lost in the sea of information (is alcohol in moderate amounts beneficial or is any drop of it harmful? why do you suffer from a high blood pressure while you are still 30 and your weight is okay?), but also that modern medicine is underperforming, then stop and have a thorough thought. Is this really so?

Humanity has never lived in better times regarding healthcare. New discoveries on the ways in which the human body functions are made every day. New drugs and treatment therapies are developed and implemented. The understanding of the essence of serious diseases like cancer is getting deeper. New technologies are created that help in overcoming conditions that until recently were untreatable – from something comparably harmless like daltonism to much more serious things like paralysis and missing limbs. The better hospital care and the mass distribution of vaccination increased the lifespan globally.

Just think about the score of the consequences from a recent achievement that we already think of as a simple fact of live: mapping of the human genome. Thanks to it medicine has increasingly bigger options to predict the risk of development of a certain genetical disease, and to develop specifically targeted drugs. Diseases, including cancer, now can be analysed on cellular and molecular level, and be treated with a targeted, individual treatment. According to specialists, this is the medicine of future.

And probably future is already here.

Here is a list of only a few of the recent medical novelties that bring hope: ability for uterus transplantation; painkilling patch replacing pills; development of bionic body parts; opportunity through genetical examination to decide on the drug that will be most effective in fight with the particular cancer of the particular patient; more effective treatment of Hepatitis C with 95 percent success rate.

All of this is now possible thanks to the serious, persevering, purposeful efforts for science development. Contrary to the disinformation in the countless webpages propagating that science is something bad, thanks to science hundreds of thousands all over the world each day survive diseases that would be fatal in the past.

However, modern world creates factors that make us ill, sometimes in unexpected ways. The increased lifespan, for example, is the reason behind the increased disease-rates of dementia and cancer, and a number of age-related conditions. The sedentary modern lifestyle and overeating with processed food are the force behind the global obesity epidemic, that goes with higher rates of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and others. The overuse of one of the biggest medical discoveries of the 20th century, antibiotics, led to more resistant bugs.

And yet, modern medicine is on our side.

Thanks to its discoveries we how have a clear idea of how to live really well and healthily. Moderation as the source of all good, preached by the ancient sages, continues to be the recommended line of behaviour. Moderate physical activity and moderate nutrition with all the food groups, in balanced proportions, is in the basis of harmonious, healthy body. Don't mind the wondrous diets and superfoods that are in fashion at the moment (they have the tendency to change each two-three years): nothing can compare with the long-term, beneficial effect of moderation.

Regular prophylaxis is another part of the everyday care for health that pays off. Visiting your doctor and examining basic indicators can prevent the development of a number of diseases or catch them in time, while they are still treatable. The list with the things that are better under the control of specialists include high blood pressure and blood sugar, triglycerides and cholesterol, immunisations and oral status, breast and cervical cancer in women, and prostate cancer in men over 45. And all of this possible thanks to a single visit: only 100 years ago what is now a part of our lifestyle would sound like science fiction.

Minimally invasive surgery is one of the biggest innovations in the field of healthcare. Until not that long ago a sheer exotic, today it is applied in treatment of a number of diseases, including cardiovascular, gynaecological, ophthalmological. Its advantages are serious: minimised blood-loss and complications, including infections, shorter recovery period with less days in the hospital, less scars and in the end, lower healthcare expenses.
Imagery diagnosis is also quickly developing. The diagnostic methods have long gone beyond traditional X-rays and echography. Computer tomography scans the body in cross-sections, making it convenient for diagnosis of broken bones, cancers, blood clots, cardiovascular diseases and others. The MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, is used for examination of organs and body structures, particularly of brain and spine, and can detect a number of diseases, including tumours.

The opportunities for transplantation are also increasing. Not only drugs for suppression of the immune response are getting better, but also the co-operation between engineering sciences and medicine has led to the appearance of artificial limbs with a growing ability for integration with the body, which reacts to the nerve impulses and obeys them. The research continues in the direction of creation of "body spare parts" in laboratory, like kidneys, hearth and even brain.

Development in reproductive medicine is also immense, with the increasing abilities for freezing of ova, sperm and embryos, artificial fertilisation and incredibly precise and noninvasive screenings for genetic disorders and hereditary diseases.

The modern developed society has a reliable network for pre-hospital and hospital help, under the shape of specialised offices, clinics and general and specialised hospitals. The best of them implement the latest novelties in medicine and Bulgaria is not an exception. The country not only has a strong tradition in training of qualified specialists, but also a selection of health institutions that offer modern, excellent healthcare.


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