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Today's Healthcare System

With the vast improvements made in the healthcare industry over the past decades, many changes have been made in terms of staying healthy and even life expectancy rates. In 1900, the average life expectancy in the US for men was 46.3, and 48.3 for women. By 1930, men were living until 58 and women, 62. As of 2009, men are more likely to live to approximately 75.7, whereas women have a life expectancy of 80.6.

Before antibiotics were created, it was much more challenging to stay healthy and away from potentially-fatal diseases and illnesses. Before antibiotics, 90% of children who were diagnosed with bacterial meningitis died. Those who survived the meningitis often endured severe disabilities ranging from deafness to full mental retardation. As of today, more than 150 million antibiotic prescriptions are written in the US alone, helping to protect and heal individuals who are in need.

Before the use of antibiotics, strep throat could become fatal and could also trigger long-lasting heart disease inpatients. In some cases, ear infections would become so severe they would spread to the brain, causing damage and in rare instances, even death. Everything from pneumonia to tuberculous could cause illness and death if left untreated.

By the 1920's, penicillin had been discovered and by the late 1940's, antibiotics were regularly accessible to the general public for a variety of healthcare needs. Vaccines and antibiotics today have helped to greatly reduce the risk of infections, long-last disabilities and even death in children, adults and even the elderly.

Infant mortality has also decreased drastically in the beginning of the 20th century. It is estimated that approximately 10% of all infants died before the age of 1 in the early 20th century due to the lack of medical care and options available to improve conditions. There has been a 90% decrease in infant mortality since 1900. In the early 20th century, more than 40% of maternal deaths were caused and triggered by infection. However, from 1900 to 1990, there has been a 99% decrease in maternal mortality due to increasing developments in medical technology and healthcare.

As medical technology improves over time, we run less risks of infections and widespread disease among the entire world population. The more vaccines and antibiotics that are developed, the easier it is to treat any type of illness.

Welcome to 21st Century Health: Four Reasons Americans Can Be Grateful for Their Health
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