Health Problems of the 19th and 20th Centuries and What Lies Ahead

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Health Problems of the 19th and 20th Centuries and What Lies Ahead Emily P. Preboski-Michel
A.T. Still University

Health Problems of the 19th and 20th Centuries and What Lies Ahead

Health concerns over the last two centuries have drastically changed and evolved over time with advancements in modern medicine, imaging, surgical techniques, vaccines and research. This paper will explore a few of the major health problems that predominated over the 19th and 20th centuries. In addition it will also include a discussion about current health problems considered to be very serious and growing as an epidemic. To conclude, the paper will put into question how health education and promotion may help reduce those affected by the current and upcoming health problems we face. North America in the 19th century faced epidemics of diseases such as yellow fever, cholera, smallpox, influenza and typhoid (Taylor, 2009). Cholera first appeared in 1832; farmers, manufacturers and towns improperly disposed of animal and industrial waste in the waterways which perpetuated the spread. Climate, geographic location, physical contact with others and living environment were thought to be factors in the level of susceptibility (Harvard University Library Open Collections Program, 2013). The epidemic spread up the Mississippi River ultimately leading to the death of more than 50,000 Americans in 1866 (Taylor, 2009). In the beginning of the 20th century the health of women and their babies was considered a major health problem; for every 1000 births, six to nine women in the US died of pregnancy-related complications and 100 infants died before age 1 year (Mackel, 1990; Loudon, 1992). During 1938-1948 a shift in the proportion of infants born in hospitals increased from 55% to 90% (Children’s Bureau, 1950). During those years medical advances such as the use of antibiotics, oxytocin to induce labor, safe blood transfusions and management of hyptensive conditions during...
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