Medical Conditions, Diagnosis, and Treatments
Analyze the concept of a medical condition, a broad term that denotes a state of health that generally requires treatment for the patient. While a condition may sometimes be considered normal or healthy—as is the case with pregnancy—the term usually has negative connotations. A medical condition is often used synonymously with the terms disease or disorder.
Medical conditions can be self-diagnosed based on symptoms, but they are more often diagnosed by a doctor or other professional. Medical professionals generally diagnose a disease, condition, or disorder through one or more of the following methods: physical examination, lab tests (such as a blood or urine test), or a psychological evaluation. Common diagnostic tests include mammography (an X-ray of the breasts to check for breast cancer), echocardiography (using ultrasound waves to check the heart), colonoscopy (a procedure to examine the colon), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI; medical imaging that produces images of internal organs)—although the full list of methods is lengthy.
Once a disease has been diagnosed, a medical professional or team of professionals in the healthcare system will determine how to treat it. In some cases, the treatment will cure the condition and symptoms. If the disease cannot be cured, the treatment plan will determine how to manage the disease in order to minimize its effects on the patient and the symptoms present. Treatment may include prescription drugs (medicine), surgery, or other options (such as acupuncture).
sely connected to the social problems of suicide and violence, including multiple mass shootings that shone a spotlight on the need for increased mental health services. In 2018, the World Economic Forum found that depression was the leading cause of disability, associated with several medical conditions. Many pregnant women and young adults may experience depression and anxiety, although many don’t get the help they need. The end of the 20th century also saw an alarming increase in the rates of autism in children, affecting one in nine children as of 2019.
Related to the issue of suicide is euthanasia, also known as assisted suicide or physician-assisted suicide. This controversial (and largely illegal) practice involves the painless killing of a terminally ill patient through lethal doses of medication at his or her request. Both sides cite ethics in making their case for or against euthanasia.