Preven­tion is the fo­cus of mod­ern health care, says the Good Doc­tor

The Colonial - - OPINION - Dr. Mil­ton Fried­man

Years ago when you got sick there wasn’t much the doc­tor could do. The physi­cian waited for the so-called cri­sis and aside from cool tow­els on the fore­head, ev­ery­one waited for the tem­per­a­ture to break and the fever to drop to nor­mal. If the fever con­tin­ued, noth­ing else was avail­able.

To­day we have an­tibi­otics, emer­gency rooms and am­bu­lances. It would be very un­usual if the doc­tor only ap­plied cold com­presses and did noth­ing else. In 2013, the age of spe­cial­ists and med­i­cal op­tions is part of the world­wide preven­tion and treat­ment of ill­nesses.

To­day, any­one con­nected to the health pro­fes­sion is well-trained. No one sits back wait­ing to ap­ply cold wet tow­els and does noth­ing else. With so many ad­vances from car­diac by­passes to ab­dom­i­nal surgery un­der a CT that has re­placed sim­ple bed rest or ma­jor surgery, it seems strange that so many peo­ple still make rec­om­men­da­tions or treat­ments based on ad­vice grandma used sev­eral gen­er­a­tions back.

Ev­ery­one would like to live a lit­tle longer. In 1900, the av­er­age life ex­pectancy was 46 for women and less for men. To­day, in the United States, a per­son’s life ex­pectancy is 76 with women reach­ing 80.

The num­ber of cen­te­nar­i­ans (the lucky ones who reach 100 or more) is in­creas­ing at an amaz­ing rate. There are ways to ex­tend life and we highly rec­om­mend them.

Be­cause so many ill­nesses give very few symp­toms, a per­son should get on the rolls of a car­ing physi­cian. Ev­ery pa­tient, in­clud­ing peo­ple who have no out­ward signs of ill­ness, should make an ap­point­ment with the doc­tor for a checkup. No one should wait for that fever and cold towel treat­ment used in the past.

Men are es­pe­cially noted for “play­ing down” symp­toms. A strange ache in the chest is ex­pected to go away, so peo­ple of­ten make the mis­take of wait­ing in­stead of go­ing to a doc­tor to have a checkup and a elec­tro­car­dio­gram.

Short­ness of breath is of­ten thought to be a re­sult of just be­ing out of shape rather than can- cer from smok­ing. Even weight loss should be checked rather than blamed on di­et­ing. The list goes on and on.

Very few peo­ple re­al­ize that numb­ness and weak­ness are con­sid­ered med­i­cal emer­gen­cies that re­quire an im­me­di­ate visit to an emer­gency room. When­ever some­one feels ill, he or she should be taken to the doc­tor or emer­gency room.

It’s hard to be­lieve that peo­ple still have the wait and see at­ti­tude when ill­ness might be se­ri­ous. It’s al­ways bet­ter to see a doc­tor DnG finG RuW WKDW nRWKLnJ LV wURnJ rather than ig­nore symp­toms or take a wait and see at­ti­tude, only WR finG RuW WKDW D SHUVRn KDV D OLIHthreat­en­ing prob­lem.

With all the well trained ex­perts out there, no one should ap­ply wet tow­els and wait and see. It’s safer to see the doc­tor or go to an emer­gency room. Un­for­tu­nately, no one wants to go to a hos­pi­tal and spend hours wait­ing to be seen. The emer­gency room, crowded with pa­tients, is worth the wait, and you won’t know that un­til you’re seen.

Be­fore the reader con­cludes those cool tow­els are all you need, be aware that be­tween the years 2007 and 2008, peo­ple lived 2.4 months longer. Life ex­pectancy at birth in 1990 was 75 years and in 2011 it av­er­aged 79 years. In the United States, be­tween 2007 and 2008, life ex­pectancy in­creased for whites, African Amer­i­cans and His­pan­ics. There was a de­crease in mor­tal­ity from heart disease, can­cer, un­in­ten­tional in­jury, strokes and di­a­betes.

Seek med­i­cal help when you’re ill. En­joy those ad­di­tional days.

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