During the first half of the 20th century, two world wars wreaked havoc on the world politically, economically, geographically and socially. As tremendous changes were taking place reshaping the state of the world, at the home front, new discoveries began to restructure the world of medicine. The general public and medical practitioners observed a shift from infectious diseases to chronic diseases. This shift required a reevaluation of what it meant to have a sickness or disease. Promising medical discoveries were proven to be able to prolong life and provide comfort to those living with chronic illnesses and diseases. Although, these remarkable discoveries gave the chronically ill hope for longevity, but the economic downfall of the beginning of the century, left many people unable to have access to the new treatments. ¬¬
In the early 20th century, chronic diseases became more prevalent than infectious diseases. A theory proposed by Abdel Oman in 1971 attempted to explain the shift from infectious diseases to chronic diseases, as well as other disease patterns that have occurred over the past 10,000 years. This theory coined the term “the epidemiological transition.” The theory states that the modern era “was marked by the shift of disease patterns from infectious to chronic and degenerative diseases in developed nations due to improvements in nutrition, public health and medicine.” (Medanth, n.d.). As medical knowledge and research began to expand, new medical discoveries were uncovered. Physicians had to reevaluate the definition of what is a disease. The philosopher, Lester King, explored the concept that a disease could only be identified through “...
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...as well as a time period of great change. Although medical research rushed to keep up with the transition from infectious to chronic diseases. People had to adjust of what being ill meant. Doctors and patients began to establish lasting relationships in an effort to control a disease. Although many people were able given the opportunity of longevity without a cure, many people were unable to gain access and continue to battle without the treatments they needed. Unfortunately, many of these economic struggles are still prevalent today. As the developed world transitions into the next stage of the epidemiological transition and the developing world moves into the modern era, one can only hope that the international system will evolve economically enough to provide a sustainable system providing availability of medications will become more accessible for those in need.
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