What Is Medical Treatment?

Medical treatment is the management and care of a patient to combat disease or disorder. This encompasses a wide range of activities, from taking blood pressure or giving vaccinations to providing surgical procedures and prescription medication. However, the term does not include one-time treatments such as splinting an injured arm or applying ointments and dressings to minor cuts and scrapes; this is considered first aid.

The diagnosis of medical problems is usually the basis for medical treatment, and it is important that this be done correctly. To help with this, doctors must have access to accurate, comprehensive data on the patient. This includes information such as the patient’s full medical history, symptoms and signs, physical findings, laboratory tests and diagnostic imaging results. The medical decision-making process may also incorporate a discussion with the patient to determine if he or she understands the problem and what the treatment options are.

Medications are the most common medical treatments and often are the main focus of attention. These may be prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines or natural remedies such as herbs and vitamins. They are often combined with other medical treatments and may be given under the supervision of a physician or a nurse. The use of medical devices is also an important part of the medical treatment process, and this may include surgical instruments, plasters and casts, splints or other equipment such as blood pressure monitors.

Modern health care often involves a variety of highly trained nonphysician health professionals, including nurses, emergency medical technicians and paramedics, laboratory scientists, pharmacists, dieticians and podiatrists. Depending on the setting, these specialists work together as a team with physicians to deliver health care. Tertiary care medical services are provided at specialist hospitals or regional centers equipped with advanced diagnostic and treatment facilities not generally available in local community hospitals, such as burn treatment centers, advanced neonatology unit services, organ transplant services and radiation oncology.

There is no doubt that many genuine diseases cause discomfort – nausea, headaches and other bodily sensations, or more serious conditions such as blindness and deafness. But some disease-causing processes hardly affect the patient at all, such as pregnancy or a small infection that quickly disappears without medical intervention.

Medicine has made remarkable advances in recent years, with vaccines and antibiotics for infections, joint replacements, and cancer treatments. But this success has encouraged doctors to apply the label of disease to a much wider range of conditions than previously, causing patients to be “medicalized” – even though the condition is not likely to be harmful. As the old saying goes, to a doctor with a new drug, every problem looks like a disease. This tendency may be especially prevalent in the area of chronic conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. New treatments for these conditions make them much easier to treat, resulting in more people being labelled as diabetic or hypertensive than would otherwise be the case.

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