Western medicine is mostly evidence-based treatment. Proven medical methods and treatments are used in western medicine. These are typically based on research findings and practices from around the world. Evidence-based medical care, including most of the modern preventive care regimens available, usually involves a prescription medication, surgical treatments, injections, and other procedures and practices.
What makes western medicine unique is that it focuses on prevention as opposed to symptoms. For example, most common surgical treatments for certain cancers revolve around removing cancerous cells from the affected area. The goal is not only to remove the growth itself but also to remove any abnormal cells that may be growing in the affected area. However, because most patients expect surgery as a cure, these treatments often do not address the underlying cause of the disease. In contrast, more holistic approaches are aimed at preventing disease progression and managing the symptoms of an illness rather than treating an ailment once it has developed.
The majority of pharmaceuticals based treatments in modern western medicine fall into one of four categories: antibacterial, antiviral, barrier agent, or complementation. These medicines are commonly used in most countries. Most often, they are taken to prevent illness and treat infection. Antibacterial medicines are most commonly used to treat infections caused by bacteria, virus, fungi, or parasites; however, these medicines are rarely used to treat cardiovascular, respiratory, or digestive disorders. Antibiotics have also been commonly used to treat antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria that have become resistant to common antibiotics.
Viral infections such as the cold and flu are routinely treated with over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, especially those that contain an anti-viral compound. Some of the more popular OTC medicines used in western medicine are cimetidine, famotidine, rifampicin, neomycin, streptomycin, tobramycin, tetracycline, and trimethoprim. Herbal remedies such as aloe vera, olive leaf extract, and motherwort are commonly used in Chinese medicine to treat viral infections. A variety of Chinese herbs are commonly used in Western medicine to treat bacterial, fungal, and parasitic infections.
Systemic medications are administered intravenously or intramuscularly. These treatments are used to treat a single illness or to prevent several illnesses from recurring. Systemic medications are administered through needles inserted into the affected area. Commonly, the needles are placed into the vein of the arm. An alternative to systemic medications is called herbal remedy, which is also commonly referred to as alternative medicine in western medicine.
Evidence-based medical care is often referred to as whole-body treatment. This type of treatment is used to treat the illness or condition, with an emphasis on prevention rather than the treatment of a specific symptom. Whole-body treatment methods include a multidisciplinary approach, including diet, nutrition, exercise, and complementary therapies (e.g., acupuncture), in order to promote optimal health. Because the goal of evidence-based practice is to provide a higher level of overall health care, patients can also expect a more complete treatment process with the use of natural therapies and treatments.
Evidence-based practice has increased in popularity in the United States in recent years. Increasing access to health services and improved access to diagnostic tools have made western medicine more readily available to patients. Patients increasingly turn to natural therapies when suffering from chronic illnesses and are often disappointed with western medicine’s lack of effective treatments for very common conditions. However, even when treatments do work, the effectiveness of western medicine relies on evidence-based practices. Without this type of support, treatments may not be as effective as they could be.
For those who are ill, or who have recently been ill, western medicine offers a variety of treatment options and ways to deal with illnesses and symptoms. Although alternative medicine has grown in popularity in recent years, many patients still seek medical care from a traditional practitioner, because evidence-based practice relies on clinical studies and other forms of evidence to support the safety and effectiveness of a particular treatment method. As the demand for more effective and safe remedies continues to increase, patients will want to make sure that their practitioner of choice is using sound practices.