Chronic illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, some respiratory conditions and diabetes are some of the leading causes of mortality in the world: according World Health Organisation data, they account for 60% of deaths worldwide.
In order to assess their impact on all patients excluding the elderly, it should be pointed out that, out of the 35 million whose cause of death was one of these diseases in 2005, half were under the age of 70.
Chronic diseases could be considered to be an “invisible epidemic” that affects both developed and poor countries. In any case, it is important to encourage a healthier lifestyle among the population in all these countries: a better diet, more physical exercise and giving up smoking.
Chronic illnesses have a significant economic impact on patients’ families, especially in poor countries, because the disease can incapacitate the patient for life, thus reducing the family income.
A joint commitment to the chronic patients’ health
However, there is an encouraging fact: today, any small progress in the communication and coordination between the medical bodies and teams involved in the management and treatment of patients with chronic diseases will bring a dramatic improvement in their quality of life, in addition to saving millions of dollars annually by reducing visits to hospital emergency departments.
The technology that is required to solve this problem is already at our disposal. What is now necessary is for it to be used towards facilitating the coordination of all medical specialists involved in the treatment of chronic diseases, thus also reducing misdiagnosis.
If we manage to integrate such technology on a large scale within health services and systems, not only many lives will be saved and the quality of life of millions of people will be improved, but it will also allow for more efficient management.
Understanding the situation of the chronically ill
At any rate, the various governments and the medical community should be sensitive to the needs of the chronically ill people and try to improve their daily lives by means of, for example, home treatments, whenever possible, in order to reduce the need to go to hospital.
At Best Doctors we are committed to making chronic patients become the great goal of medical and management advances in the coming years, and to focus on the prevention of chronic illnesses as a key weapon in favour of health.
Medicine, with the help of technology and everybody’s efforts, must provide solutions to the real needs and problems of today’s patients.