Modern healthcare is based on the belief that objective and measurable scientific research holds the answers to curing diseases. Fortunately, huge advances have been made in the field of medicine in the past fifty years to improve our quality of life and curtail the onset of disease. Tremendous efforts are exercised daily to sponsor and support experts in the field of medical research so that progression continues.
In many cases, the terms disease, disorder, morbidity and illness are used interchangeably. In some situations, specific terms are considered preferable. The term disease broadly refers to any alteration from the normal structure or function of any part of the body. Commonly, this term is used to refer specifically to infectious diseases which are clinically evident diseases that result from the presence of pathogenic microbial agents, including viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, multi-cellular parasites, and atypical proteins. An infection that does not produce clinically evident impairment of normal functioning is not considered a disease. Non-infectious diseases are all other diseases, including most forms of cancer, heart disease, and genetic disease.
Living with disease can be very difficult. The identification of a condition as a disease, rather than the disease being simply characterized as a variation of human structure or function, can have significant social or economic implications. A condition may be considered to be a disease in some cultures or eras but not in others. For instance, the social implication of viewing aging as a disease could be profound, though this classification is not yet widespread. Fear of disease can still be a widespread social phenomenon, though not all diseases evoke extreme social stigma. At the present time, a formal system for infectious disease vigilance does not exist on a global scale. When a cluster of cases of a new disease occurs in the United States or in a remote part of Africa, Eastern Europe or Asia, the international community may or may not learn about it. If a new disease of unknown cause occurs in a part of the world that lacks modern communications, it may spread far and wide before it is recognized and brought under control. In most cases, however, news of a major outbreak spreads informally.
When international resources are successfully mobilized, assistance in diagnosis, disease control and prevention can be made available to local health authorities. Clinical specimens can be sent to a diagnostic reference laboratory to rule out known disease agents. Epidemiologists can be sent into the field to help investigate the source of the new infection and determine how it is transmitted. Public health officials can use this information to implement appropriate control measures. Once the infectious agent has been identified, which is often difficult, an experimental scientist can start to develop diagnostic tools and treatments if the disease is carried by a previously unknown agent.
The healthcare industry is busy at work developing new cures for diseases, discovering fascinating new information about the human body and integrating sophisticated technology into every aspect of medicine. Medical experts are finding ways to offer progressive services and programs to meet the evolving healthcare needs of our citizens. To successfully meet the challenge of an increase in population, our medical system and their communities are continually developing a variety of new services and programs to allay concerns and meet the needs of you and your family.