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Culture and Disease Essay

Culture is a pattern of behavior and thinking learned, shaped and shared by Europeans and Americans. It is their growing and developing bank of knowledge, experiences, beliefs, values, attitudes, meanings, hierarchies, religion, notions of time, roles, spatial relations, concepts of the universe, material objects and possessions gained through generations of individual group work (Williams 1976). Any discomfort, dysfunction, distress, social problems, and alterations of behavior for Europeans and Americans are considered a disease. It is a change that disrupts the normal function of the body.

It is initially believed to be caused by curses, evil spirits, or night vapors. However, in the mid-19th century the discoveries and findings of scientific works by Louis Pasteur and Koch concluded microorganisms or germs are the pathogens of infectious diseases which usually gain entrance into the body. These are microorganisms that are able to infect a host and produce a disease (Miller 2003). Subsequent studies and researches improved the concepts of healthcare. In the 21st century, Western Science of Medicine means accuracy. It is the name of the trend.

Its subject the human body is likened to an outstandingly complex machine that can be figured out, customized, renovated, and its health defined and described in strictly clinical terms. Medical experts called Physicians can identify and eliminate disease-causing or etiologic organisms that originate outside the body, Surgeons evolved to be incomparable experts in dealing with acute trauma and distress, and epidemiologist uncovers the factors that determine the frequency, distribution, and determinants of diseases in human populations.

These factors include the characteristics of the pathogen, the susceptibility of human population resulting from overcrowding, lack of immunization, nutritional status, inadequate sanitation procedures, locations or reservoirs where pathogens lie in wait, and the various means by which infectious disease is transmitted. Ironically, resurgence of infectious disease such as tuberculosis occurred brought about by the emergence of another infectious disease HIV/AIDS (Burton 2004).

The existence of epidemic and communicable diseases in specific areas were found to follow geographic patterns. Diseases like Poliomyelitis caused by over population infected Brazilian children population, and it also infected older age Scandinavian and Americans; cholera, yellow fever and dengue infected Indians in India as a result of poor sanitation; Plague brought about by rodents are cases in the Western United States of America, and in China, it is carried by rodents and fleas infecting Chinese.

These findings were important concepts for public awareness to guide travelers and servicemen (Duffy 1953). Body Tuberculosis is a chronic mycobacterial infection of the lower respiratory tract characterized by fever, night sweats, weight loss, productive cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, coughing up blood and hoarseness. It may infect lymph nodes causing systemic disease like kidney disease, urinary bladder disease and bone disease (Burton 2004).

The dynamics of infection follows the following pattern: Sources of Infection > Modes of entry > Mechanism of disease > Pattern of infection > Portals of exit. Mycobacterium tuberculosis a slow-growing, acid-fast, Gram-variable bacillus is an aerobic bacillus species capable of reproducing within 16-20 hours. It is the etiologic agent of the disease called tuberculosis (Burton 2004). Mycobacterium tuberculosis developed resistance to treatment drugs.

It is the second leading killer of adults in the world, with more than 2 million TB-related deaths each year (Burton 2004). Ironically, one of the endemic diseases in the United States of America is this bacterial disease called tuberculosis. In 2004 Centers for Disease and Controls, Atlanta, GA reported 14, 517 tuberculosis cases. The resurgence of tuberculosis in the United States of America in the 1980’s through 1990’s primarily resulted from the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the multi-drug resistant strains of M.

tuberculosis (Burton 2004). Identification and recognition of the characteristics of the pathogen, the susceptibility of human population resulting from overcrowding, lack of immunization, nutritional status, inadequate sanitation procedures, locations or reservoirs, emigration and migration of men and animals, and stress makes people immunosuppressed resulting to infection, considering that pathogens may come primarily from infected humans, sometimes from primates, cattle and other infected mammals (Burton 2004) .

There are various sources from which tuberculosis can be acquired and transmitted. It may be via airborne droplets produced by the infected organism during coughing, sneezing, even singing and prolonged direct contact with infected individuals ((Burton 2004). Prevention, Precautions, Sterilization, disinfection and Patient care would all involve airborne precautions (Burton 2004). In Clinical practice, disinfection and sterilization as well as laboratory procedures were employed being a necessity. Their scientific basis has been developed only during the past century.

These important procedures are: Sterilization which is the destruction or complete removal by filtration of all forms of microorganisms including their spores; Disinfection is the destruction of many microorganisms but not usually bacterial spores; Antisepsis, is the destruction or inhibition of microorganisms in living tissues thereby limiting or preventing the harmful effect of infection; Static agent would inhibit the growth of bacteriostatic microorganisms; Bactericidal agent would kill the microorganisms; Sterilizers are chemicals which under controlled conditions kill spore-forming bacteria.

These agents which perform the above functions were divided into physical agents and chemical agents. With these mechanisms, Epidemiologist and Social psychologist in the United States of America helped contribute to the study of health and to the interventions to improve people’s well-being and quality of life by promoting health and preventing illnesses. They identify psychological factors that might influence illness, and identify improved ways in which health care is delivered.

This is also a form of proposition for the improvement of the health of the population by promoting healthy choices and preventing people from becoming ill. Psychologists are persuasive by appealing to fear for the negative health consequences, subsequently encouraging American families, peer and schooling young adolescents to change their health behaviors by redirecting their behavioral intentions.

This is in line with the concept that the actions taken by people to safeguard their health are influenced by factors such as general health values, perceived susceptibility to illness, perceptions of illness severity, expectations of treatment success, self-efficacy, perceived barriers and benefits, and cues to action. Healthy habits that are currently recommended are vigorous regular exercise, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol intake, eating healthy foods, and getting enough sleep.

Even so, considering the increased cultural mixing Of the United States of America, programs or lessons in scholastic trainings are incorporated as designed to increase intercultural communications as cultural patterns affect how people make sense of the many aspects of health care: the meanings that people give to health and illness, the causes of diseases, the means to prevent illnesses, appropriate cures, and the types of individuals most qualified to provide care and attempt to cure.

In this context, magico-religious approach, holistic approach and biomedical approach are not set aside, but, the healthcare system of the United States of America is typically focused on the individual patient as the source of the medical problem in need of a cure. This is rather the biomedical approach adopted to address the issues of illness and wellness. It considers people health regardless of culture to be driven by biochemical forces.

Wellness is achieved by understanding that the biochemical reaction is activated. Illness happens when a part of the normal human body metabolic activities is altered. Treatments are provided by Medical health practitioners like Doctors and Nurses, thus bringing back the normal course of bodily metabolic activities supportive of good health (Lustig 1996). In 1953 Dr. Louis H.

Bauer of New York, USA as a secretary General of the World Medical Health Association outlined the major task to address medical care need from their time on, such as: 1) Rural community work to establish facilities and to encourage physicians participation; 2) provide medical care all depressed areas : 3) Extend public health coverage to depressed areas; 4) Evolve strategies to address care needs people with inborn disorders; 5) Provide insurance programs to people specially senior citizens and the disabled; 6) Eradicate graft and corruption in the Medical practice; 7) General public protection for regular Medical services; 8) Renew medical societies; and 9) Medical Health ethics education for the Medical Health practitioners (Perkins 1993). Conclusion With the advent of post-industrial age marked by the ubiquitous appearance and usages of television and the computer, supposedly a reliable indicator, most Americans should be healthy and wealthy.

Being so, it could be enough to affect longevity positively, primarily through lifestyle choices, rather than lack of food or shelter and diseases (Lustig 1996). However, Studies revealed that even the introduction of Medicare in the United States, bringing the poor substantially at par with the rich in terms of health care and medical services did not eliminate or even markedly reduced the large differential mortality. In contrast, life expectancy in Japan is far above all the rest of the countries in the world. The life expectancy for males is 78 years while the life expectancy for females is 85 years, in spite of half the level of spending for healthcare than that of the United States of America amounting to around $2,000 per person, 7. 4 percent of GDP (Powell 1990).

The technology used in the Japanese health care system is similar to that used in the United States of America, but, the flow of funds, the quantity and intensity of use is considerably different (Powell 1990). In Japan, all citizens are free to choose any physician and hospital. Physicians may be General Private Practitioner providing primary and secondary care, while Specialist works in hospitals. Hospitals may be large and public university hospitals with medical school, research facilities, and outpatient department for primary care while small time private practitioners have small facilities and less sophisticated treatments (Powell 1990).

Knowing that tuberculosis is transmitted via airborne droplets produced by the infected organism during coughing, sneezing, even singing and prolonged direct contact with infected individuals, preventions and precautions are better than an ounce of medicine after infection. Reference Burton, G. and Engelkirk, P. (2004). Microbiology for Health Sciences. USA: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Lustig, M. and Koester, J. (1996). Intercultural Competence. 6th ed. USA: HarperCollins. Powell, M. and Anesaki, M. (1990). Health Care in Japan. New York: Routledge. Duffy, John. (1953). Epidemics in Colonial America. Perkins, James E. (1952). You and Tuberculosis.

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