Medical treatment is an attempt to cure a health problem, usually following a diagnosis. It can involve a combination of medicines, surgery and other interventions. Sometimes, people with a chronic illness need ongoing treatments that will be needed for life. These treatments can have side effects that can affect a person’s quality of life. They may also need regular monitoring. These ongoing treatments can have financial and time commitments for the patient and their family or friends. It is important to get involved in the decision making process with your doctor about these ongoing treatments and consider the impact they will have on your lifestyle.
Often, people don’t get recommended health care services like cancer screenings because they don’t have a primary healthcare provider or live far from a clinic that offers them. Interventions that increase access to health professionals and improve communication between them and patients — in person or remotely — can help people receive the services they need.
A wide range of treatments are available to treat a health condition, from diet and exercise to acupuncture and psychotherapy. Some treatments are aimed at curing the illness, while others are simply intended to improve a patient’s quality of life.
Some health problems have no cure, such as type 1 diabetes. Even so, treatment can help manage the condition by keeping blood sugar levels in a healthy range. Moreover, scientists are constantly making new discoveries that might one day lead to the cure of some diseases and conditions.
First aid includes one-time treatment and follow-up visits for observation, as well as the cleaning and application of ointments, salves and antiseptics to minor injuries such as cuts, scratches, first degree burns and splinters. Devices with rigid stays designed to immobilize injured parts of the body are considered medical treatment and must be recorded as such.
Medical care can have several functions other than restoring or maintaining health, such as providing comfort and support to the ill. These are often considered “paracurative” functions and do not have the same measurable benefits as curing or prevention.
As you decide on a course of treatment for your health condition, talk to the doctors about how it will affect your life and what the potential risks are. They can then explain your options so that you can make the best decisions for you. Consider the pros and cons of each option, including its cost and how it will impact your daily routine and relationships. You can also indicate your preferences by filling out a form called an advance directive that lets someone speak for you when you can’t communicate on your own.