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How Is Math Used in Healthcare?
Jun 8, 2022
When you go to the doctor, they talk to you in numbers. Your blood pressure, temperature, pulse, and your weight are all measured numerically. Medical professionals use math when drawing up statistical graphs to show success rates of treatments and other large data points. All graphs, equations, statistics, and general maths we learn at school help us understand important aspects of human and veterinary medicine, biology, and science.
People always think that biology and chemistry are important for doctors, nurses, midwives, scientists, and all the other people involved in medicine, but in fact, math is also vital. Math and medicine naturally go together. In this blog, we will explore a number of medical practices and the math behind their science!
Math In Prescriptions
We are aware that doctors write prescriptions for their patients for various ailments. These prescriptions show a particular medication and dosage amount. Usually, medicines have recommendations for dosage amounts in mg (mg) per pound (lb). Doctors need to determine the precise dosage a patient will require based on their weight. They use the metric system, so most dosage instructions refer to milligrams per pound (mg/lb) of body weight.
In addition, doctors need to determine how long a prescription will last a patient. They must calculate how long the medication will stay in the patient’s body, so that a patient can plan on when they should take the prescription, making sure they have the optimal amount throughout their treatment.
Mathematics ensures that measurements and calculations are accurate so that doctors provide patients with the best available care.
Math for diagnosing medical conditions and diseases:
Maths helps ensure that medical problems are correctly identified and diagnosed. This process is called diagnostic testing and involves measuring the amounts of certain substances in different biological samples (blood, etc.).
Diagnostics like CAT (CT) scans and X-rays visualize the body using different shades of gray based on body tissue density. This imaging relies on math functions in the form of millions of computations that are registered through the software that directs these machines. At its very core, a CT machine is calculating the depth and density of each X-ray image that is being taken and then collects that data to draw a multi-dimensional image of the area being scanned. Millions of bits of data string together thousands of scans made from computer-generated pixels, all in an effort to create an image for the doctor to get a visual of the area they wish to explore.
Medical Research & Data:
Doctors rely on clinical evidence to ensure their patients receive the best treatment. They have to read a great deal of medical literature, which relies heavily on statistics, percentages, and probabilities. Evaluating the success rates of treatments is pivotal to understanding various treatment options, and helping doctors choose the best one for their patients. Suppose a research paper reports an 80% response rate to a specific treatment, but only 50% of those patients remain disease-free a year later. Accordingly, a doctor would calculate that out of 100 patients, around 40 would remain healthy after treatment. These statistics are vital in helping determine whether or not a course of treatment is worthy of being considered for a patient.
In summary, biology and chemistry are essential for doctors, nurses, and other healthcare employees, but math is essential for biology and chemistry. Therefore, whether you are thinking of becoming a doctor, hoping to develop new medical technologies, or want to understand better the treatments you receive as a patient, understanding the math behind the science will work wonders.
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