Sociology of Medicine and Health CLASS 3-2

Sociology of Medicine and Health CLASS 3-2 - 1 Notes...

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1 Notes 9/8/2009 Medical model of disease A. Looks only at biological aspects of disease 1. Tremendous advances in last 100 years 2. Used by most health professionals 3. But ignores social aspects of disease (no organic diagnosis that fits) a. Example: offset problem Myth that more medical care is always better A. Example: Iatrogenic disease (15 % of people who enter hospital get a new form of bacterial infection) MRSA Myth that medical care can cure every disease A. Self limiting diseases (common cold) 1. Diseases that go away by themselves 2. Diseases that modern medicine cannot cure (influenza) Huge increase in average lifespan in the US A. Lifespan increased from age 40 to 77 in 20 th century 1. Not due to advances in medical science 2. Mostly due to advances in nutrition and public health (clean air, clean food, clean environment) a. Increase in lifespan is due to decrease in infant mortality (contaminated food, milk, water) Great success in reducing acute infectious diseases A. Effective vaccines available for many infectious diseases B. But new infectious diseases are appearing as fast as the old ones disappear Little progress in reducing “diseases of civilization” A. Chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer relatively high in the US B. Caused mostly by unhealthy lifestyle C. Caused in part by environmental pollution D. Caused a little but by genetics Study of morbidity (illness) A. Epidemiology 1. The distribution of health and illness in a population 2. Illness is not evenly distributed in the population B. Etiology 1. Process of what causes illness C. Gender example: women report more illness than men 1. Theories: a. Women more likely to notice minor problems b. Women more willing to repot health problems c. If you control for reproductive problems, there would be no sex difference d. Women really are sicker Study of mortality (death) A. Death is not evenly distributed in the population B. Example: women live longer than men
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C. Theories: 2 a. Genetic b. Women lead less stressful lives c. Women seek medical treatment for minor problems before they become life threatening. Study of patient help seeking A. How people: 1. Perceive a health problem 2. Define a problem 3. Decided to seek help (before you actually do it) 4. Decide what kind of help to get Study of utilization of treatment services A. Medical treatment does not always go to those who need it most 1. Example: small area variations in surgery in Vermont B. Fads in medical treatment 1. Example: tonsillectomies Doctor-patient relationships A. Good communication between doctors and patients is crucial to effective diagnosis and treatment B. But good communication takes time and costs $$ Traditional medical treatment vs. alternative healers A. Alternative healers are increasingly popular B. A short list: 1. Self-help groups 2. Chiropractic medicine 3. Dietary and exercise groups (Weight Watchers) 4. Religious groups and faith healers Organization of medical care A. Complex, changing fast
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Sociology of Medicine and Health CLASS 3-2 - 1 Notes...

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