When it comes to finding the right course of treatment for some illnesses, it is not always immediately obvious which options are best. Though we’ve seen tremendous advances in increasing people’s lifespans in recent years, giving a patient a longer life unfortunately does not always extend the quality of life. This dichotomy puts pressure on both doctors and patients. How can you live not just longer, but better?
According to recent studies cited in New Scientist, the medical needs of the global community are shifting and evolving. The good news is that the rates of infectious disease have dropped and we are seeing lower rates of some of the most preventable diseases. Diarrheal diseases, for example, were the 15th most commonly reported diseases in 1990, but today they’ve dropped to 25th place. Though in Canada this kind of illness is not too worrisome, globally diarrheal diseases represent a huge health risk, particularly to children who lack access to adequate healthcare.
What kinds of diseases are more common now? The most frequently reported health complaints include toothaches, tension headaches, back pain, migraines, hearing loss, and depression. These might not seem to have anything in common, but they actually have two shared characteristics. First, many of these are caused or exacerbated by an inactive lifestyle. Second, these are problems primarily experienced by older people.
Though the international medical community has done a good job of addressing infectious diseases, we are now seeing increasing rates of age-related ailments. In the past, premature death has been a much more pressing concern, and so the healthcare field has been focused on life-saving medicine. There has been less research on and funding available for quality of life treatments, which means that the current healthcare system may not be entirely ready for an aging population dealing with chronic problems but not life-threatening concerns.
While many of these are not fatal, they do severely impinge on the sufferer’s quality of life. Thus in countries like Canada and the United States, the medical field is evolving to focus more on preventative medicine, lifestyle issues, and diseases that come with aging. Back pain is one of many preventable issues that continue to rise in frequency in the Canadian health system. Chronic pain can be difficult to explain or express, however, especially when it’s “invisible” — in other words, there isn’t an obvious cause. It can make it difficult not just to enjoy a good quality of life, but its non-threatening nature can often mean patients wind up at the back of doctors’ waiting lists.
It can become very expensive and difficult for individuals to get help for chronic issues, so for younger people it’s important to emphasize lifestyle choices — like maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly — that are preventative measures for later life issues like chronic back pain. That’s not to say, however, that older Canadians who are dealing with tough pain need to continue to compromise their quality of life. At the Spine Institute Northwest, you can get direct access to physicians and learn about state-of-the-art pain management options. You want to live a long life — let the Spine Institute Northwest help make it a great one. Call us today at 888-712-0318.