Medicine has spent the last century perfecting and refining the art of tackling acute, infectious diseases around the globe. The 20th century saw the invention of antibiotics, advancements in medical imaging, improvements in surgery, innovative cancer treatments, and the control of widespread infections – there are endless reasons to be grateful for these medical advances and discoveries!
Fast forward to 2018 and medicine is now faced with a new challenge – the rapid surge in chronic diseases. Now surpassing the rate of acute illness, chronic illness affects 1 in 2 Australians, according to a recent National Health Survey. And approximately one quarter of all Australians report having 2 or more diagnoses.
So what is a chronic illness?
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare defines chronic illness as a persistent, long-lasting condition which commonly fall under the following 8 categories: arthritis, asthma, back pain, cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and mental health conditions (AIHW, 2018).
Chronic illnesses are complex, multi-factorial, debilitating and, in some cases, lifelong. Not only do they affect the person financially, socially and mentally but they often require long-term management from a health professional.
So it makes sense that the 20th century ‘quick-fix’ medical model was ill-prepared for this new disease trend.
But we have some good news!
Allied health practitioners and the medical community can see the growing demand for an improvement in the management and prevention of chronic disease, and many are taking measures to ensure positive changes are made to the healthcare system.
The modern day medical appointment is already beginning to look different! More and more health professionals are going above and beyond the usual check-up – there is greater discussion between practitioner and patient about the benefits of regular exercise, a nutritious diet, community engagement, sound sleep and ways to reduce stress.
Research shows that when these lifestyle factors are modified and corrected, it can significantly reduce a patients’ disease risk and aid in the management of many chronic illnesses.
And the best part? These social, behavioural and environmental modifications are cost-effective, easy to implement and highly effective at getting people on a path to good health.
Here at Elanora Medical, we strive to take a person-centred approach to healthcare. Our practitioners consider the individual needs of each patient by understanding their biology, environment, behavioural habits, genetics, relationships – factors that are key to human health and wellbeing. Not only do we offer comprehensive medical care, we also take the time to educate and help our patients achieve their health goals using simple, achievable lifestyle changes.
We truly believe in the power of modern healthcare.