Biological Approach

I picked the biological approach because it encompasses all aspects that could affect the health status and well being of a person (environment, genetics, and individual choices). I think it is helpful to understand this approach because of the fact that it encompasses so much. Environment can affect the health status of a person depending on the things you are exposed to. For example if you’re exposed to polluted air your lungs may become damaged and cause health problems such as asthma. Individual choices can also tie into environment. For example an individual may chose to live in a lower socioeconomic area, which could be by a factory. The factory could release chemicals into the air and damage your lungs, alter your brain function, or damage your skin. Another example of individual choice could be a religious choice, such as fasting, which can alter health status. Eating healthy and exercising is also another individual choice that can alter health status to a more positive health outcome. Lastly, Genetics can alter your health status. For example some people are born with and carry the BRCA1 And BRCA2 which can later on in life mutate and cause breast cancer, and alter health status. Some people’s genetics cause them to have mutations on their chromosomes, which can cause alterations in health status. For example, down syndrome is a mutation on chromosome 21 which causes a person to have three copies instead of the normal two. As you can see all of these can affect health status and incorporate environment, genetic, and personal choices of a person, When you understand all of these aspects using this approach makes figuring out complex health problems a lot less complicated.

The distinction between illness and disease is quite simple. Disease is the physical alterations a person gets from being sick. Illness is the mental alterations. When I say mental alterations, I mean how a person feels or perceives from being sick/diseased. Before I took ANP 201 I did not know the distinction between the two. I treated them as the same meaning. After taking ANP 201 I learned that they are definitely not the same word and shouldn’t be used interchangeably. So I suppose now it is an obvious difference to me.

Miner is talking about Americans in his article. I realized this right away because I had to read this article for ANP 201. When I read it the first time I realized it was about Americans when he talked about the oral ritual. America is the only country I know that makes a huge deal of brushing our teeth. While I think it is necessary to brush your teeth everyday for cleanliness I’ve never seen any other country advocate or advertise it as much as we do.

Americans sadly are very narcissistic and ethnocentric when it comes to other cultures. This article really opened up my eyes as an American as to how we ritualize basic every day activities. At first when I read this I thought he was talking about some random tribe by the way he writes it but you quickly realize it’s actually about us Americans as a whole.

One ritual is the box or chest built into the walls of the Nacirema (medicine cabinet). The trinkets inside these boxes (medicine) are given to us via medicine men and women (doctors). This pokes fun at our healthcare system and how easily and freely doctors prescribe us drugs so we can fix our problems (get rid of the “ugliness” of our body as according to the article). We Americans want to be as perfect as we can, hence why we practice and have a healthcare system that provides us with drugs to fix our problems. Fix the problem and you have a more perfect human being. Which adds fuel to our narcissistic and ethnocentric ways.

One final ritual is the mouth. Although I think the article over exaggerates slightly about this (our gums bleeding and teeth falling out) it highlights how important oral hygiene is to Americans. It pokes fun at dentist office visits and being poked and prodded with an array of paraphernalia (various dentist teeth cleaning supplies). It also pokes fun at brushing our teeth with hog hairs and magical powders (toothbrush and toothpaste). Brushing your teeth is such a norm in our society that you don’t even think twice about doing it. Having a clean mouth is a value in American culture. It is seen as weird to other societies. I don’t know about most people but I definitely do not want to smell a bad breathed mouth or a dirty one and this highlights that.

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  1. Danyelle Hotchkiss says:

    I also did not realize at first that the article was about Americans, and it definitely does open up our eyes. It is also interesting that ‘ugliness’ in this context could refer to appearance or health-wise issues. A prominent example of perfecting the human body is when there are “ritual fasts to make fat people thin and ceremonial feasts to make thin people fat” as well as enlarging or reducing the breasts. Some of these problems need to be addressed and taken care of, though, like having cavities filled or non-cosmetic surgeries. However, Americans do pay special attention to their mouths, and almost everyone and their brother has had braces in our century. If someone’s teeth are messed up, society makes it seem like they are uneducated or not as wealthy because of that. Brushing our teeth is definitely a norm in our society – some groups of people exist who have never even heard of a toothbrush, or the “small bundle of hog hairs”, which I’m sure are made of nylon or something of that sort now. The article is correct in saying that our mouths influence our relationships, because like you said, nobody can bare having a conversation with some rancid breath!

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