Technology has enabled the expansion of medicine and has improved the overall
health of the global population.
However, not all people have the same access to quality health care Inequalities in
health include differences in rates of disease, health outcomes, and access to health care.
Often, inequalities in health are the result of social inequalities.
Differences in socio-economic and environmental factors may present barriers to entering the healthcare system, resulting in varying degrees of quality care.
It has been shown that wealth is correlated with longevity, indicating a link between socioeconomic status, and mortality.
In the 19th century, risk factors that accounted for inequality in health outcomes included overcrowding, poor sanitation, and availability of local treatment facilities.
These risk factors have all but disappeared in the industrialized world.
So why do disparities in health care still exist? Although, modern hospitals and treatment
centers are now widespread across the development world, not everyone can afford treatment.
Compounding this issue, detrimental behaviors such as poor diet, inadequate exercise, and smoking are higher in populations with lower socioeconomic status.
Furthermore, people of high socioeconomic status generally have better continuity of care, fewer
costs of complying with treatment regiments, and more knowledge about their care. For example, women with higher income and education levels tend to have better health insurance, increased
Awareness, and the ability to take time to regularly visit their doctor, and so receive more screenings for cervical and breast cancer.
In addition to socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, gender, mental illness, and disability are also major factors contributing to inequalities in health.
Understanding why inequalities have persisted despite significant advancements in health care is an important step forward in reducing healthcare inequalities.