Medical Treatment

medical treatment

The term medical treatment refers to any therapy or medicament a physician or other health care provider uses to help cure, relieve, improve or restore function to a person suffering from disease or injury. These treatments can include medicinal (drug) therapies, surgical interventions and other invasive techniques. They may also include support services such as physical therapy, psychiatric care or counseling and devices such as artificial limbs and orthopedic appliances.

Physicians must base their decision to treat on the principles of beneficence, nonmaleficence and justice. In addition, a physician must respect the patient’s autonomy, or right to make his or her own choices. This respect extends even to mentally incompetent patients who cannot express their own choice or give consent for a particular test or treatment.

Medical diagnosis involves analyzing and synthesizing the information obtained from the history, symptoms, signs, laboratory tests, physical examination and radiographic or imaging findings. A physician then comes up with a list of possible diagnoses, called differential diagnostics, along with a plan to obtain the information needed to arrive at a final diagnosis. This decision-making process is iterative, and the physician may have to go through a similar iteration of steps on subsequent visits.

After a diagnosis is made, the medical treatment begins. A doctor must consider the severity of the disease, the patient’s age and other factors, the potential side effects and cost of various treatments, and the risks involved with any treatment. If the first line of therapy fails to work or causes intolerable side effects, additional (second-line) therapies are substituted, and so on.

Most modern medicine is carried out within health care systems, which are complex institutions with legal, credentialing and funding frameworks established by governments or other organizations. These frameworks influence the way doctors practice, the types of medical treatments available and what kind of research is done.

Medical nutrition therapy is a type of medical treatment that seeks to prevent and treat diseases related to diet and weight problems, blood sugar disorders, malnutrition, heart disease, metabolic disorders and nutritional deficiencies. It is a form of therapeutic treatment that is generally less invasive than surgery.

A naturopathic physician is a healthcare practitioner who practices natural medicine. This approach to treatment is often integrated with traditional Western medical treatments. It is sometimes called integrative or holistic medicine.

In most cases, when a naturopathic doctor recommends dietary changes or herbal supplements, these are not considered to be medical treatment and are not covered by the patient’s insurance policy. However, if the doctor is certified by a national certifying body, such as the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, these dietary recommendations will be covered. A patient should always check with his or her insurer before starting any dietary regimen, to be sure that it is acceptable under the policy. It is also important to understand that naturopathic practitioners are not licensed by the state, so the quality of the care may vary. An alternative to naturopathic medicine is acupuncture, which has been shown to be effective in treating many conditions.

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