The most fundamental life events -- birth and death -- increasingly involve more and more medical care. Why should you care? Because it exemplifies the medicalization of life. Everyday experiences get turned into diseases, the definitions of what (and who) is normal get narrowed, and our ability to affect the course of normal aging get exaggerated. And we doctors feel increasingly compelled to look hard for things to be wrong in those who feel well.
Medicalization is the process of turning more people into patients. It encourages more of us to be anxious about our health and undermines our confidence in our own bodies. It leads people to have too much treatment -- and some of them are harmed by it. And it's big part of the reason why medical care costs so much. LA Times