Medicine and Health Seminar. School of Medicine. UNAM.
It is evident that current medicine has made indisputable progress: some diseases have been eradicated, treatment has been established for others that were previously considered incurable, health has been maintained and chronic illnesses controlled, as well as improving the quality of life of hundreds of thousands of human beings.
The most in-depth studies of some diseases have allowed us to better understand them and establish measures to prevent them; modern technological resources for diagnosis and treatment are many more than those that the doctor had 50 years ago.
The result is that the average lifespan has increased, which in our country 100 years ago was around the fourth decade of life, and today it is around the seventh decade. Life expectancy at birth has also increased considerably. Preventive medicine has significantly reduced maternal and infant mortality.
- These achievements are due to several factors: a better understanding of the natural history of diseases, the application of great scientific advances in basic sciences such as biochemistry, molecular biology, pharmacology and genetics…
- There has been incredible progress in medical technology for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, and although still limited, progress has been made regarding preventive medicine and health education resources.
- In regions where there are good socioeconomic conditions, it is evident that these are, without a doubt, a factor in improving the health of their inhabitants, but even if we consider that in our country there are large areas where poverty is still lacerating, advances of current medicine have improved morbidity and mortality rates in these places.
It is evident that the result of the changes in medicine in recent decades is very positive.
From infectious diseases to chronic degenerative diseases
In the analysis of what happened, it should be noted that some changes, especially those found at the end of the last century, may be strongly influenced by the phenomenon of globalization, which has imposed on ordinary Mexicans lifestyles different from those they had at the beginning. of century.
- The morbidity and mortality of Mexicans at the beginning of the 20th century was mainly due to diseases caused by external agents or infectious microorganisms: bacteria or viruses, chronic malnutrition, alcoholism.
- Infant mortality was high and complications in childbirth caused many deaths.
During the second half of the 20th century, without the causes of morbidity and mortality from the beginning of the century having disappeared in the poorest regions of the country, even in them, there was a decrease in infant mortality thanks to vaccination programs of that time. In that period there was an epidemiological transition: new causes of disease appeared, due in part to the growth in the average lifespan, but above all to the change in customs.