In this weeks lecture, we discussed the relationship between race, genetics and health. The controversy is that there is no genetic way to identify race. Race is a term that we use to identify ourselves based on our culture and lifestyle. While genes are what determine our physical features; our skin color, hair color, heights etc. Our genetic makeup can be predetermining of our health. We can be born with a disease and it does not necessarily have to do with our race. An example used in our lecture is the Pima Indians from Arizona. There is a genetic mutation in their ancestry that allows them to process sugars and store fats to allow them to survive. This genetic mutation caused Type II Diabetes in these individuals. The gene was passed down generations, and even more dominant since Pima Indians married from within their groups. However, just because they are Pima Indians didn’t meant that they will have Type II diabetes. American Pima Indians had a much higher rate of diabetes than Mexican Pima Indians.
The ethnicity I identify with is Middle Eastern. While doing some research, I came to find out that, according to Nature Middle East, Emerging science in the Arab world, “ the region could have the highest incidence of pulmonary infections in the world.” Because of the environmental conditions, genetics and lifestyle that are prevalent to the Middle East, people living in that region are more prone to pulmonary disease (Nature Middle East, 2011). The Middle East has a great desert area, and allergens from the desert can contribute to these pulmonary diseases. Also, the lack of industrialization in some of these countries, allows for a lot of pollution in the air which can lead to illnesses such as asthma. Most of the diseases are a cause of environmental factors that are prevalent to that region.
Nature Middle East Emerging Science in the arab world. “Pulmonary diseases may be highest in the Middle East.” – News. http://www.natureasia.com/en/nmiddleeast/article/10.1038/nmiddleeast.2011.101 (accessed July 12, 2014).