Every culture has its own views of health care, diseases, and medical interventions. The way people of a given culture view health care affects how they handle themselves when they fall ill. For instance, the Asian culture believes that illnesses are caused by supernatural phenomena, which should be diagnosed and treated by means of spiritual healing or traditional herbs. Physicians and other medical practitioners should try to understand the cultural beliefs of their patients to handle them appropriately.
Heredity, culture, and environment can have a significant impact on the way a patient behaves in the doctor’s office or at the hospital. Heredity refers to the way particular traits are passed from parents to their children through the genes that the latter inherit from the former. It has been proven that some diseases such as cancer and diabetes can be inherited through gene composition. Some societies believe that inherited diseases cannot be treated in hospitals, a belief that affects the degree of their compliance with the required medical interventions (Galanti, 2008).
Culture, just like heredity, can also affect the way a patient behaves in a medical office. Various cultures have different perspectives on what causes illness and how the sick should go about the treatment process. For instance, Asians believe that illnesses stem from some supernatural phenomena and only prayers or other mystical interventions can cure them. Consequently, a patient from the Asian culture is unlikely to comply with medical treatment involving modern drugs and technologies.
The environment where an individual lives can also affect his behavior when he goes to seek health care services. There are some societies where people do not believe in medical treatment as the most effective intervention for treating a disease. In such surroundings, people are convinced that diseases are caused by some mysterious reasons or environmental causes and can only be managed by using traditional herbs (Galanti, 2008).
In the Asian culture, health is defined as the harmonious balance between conditions of cold (yang) and hot (yin). Asians believe that an illness occurs as a result of an upset of the harmonious balance, implying that diseases can only be treated if that balance is restored back to its normal state. As a result, most traditional medical interventions in the Asian culture entail the search for the cause of the imbalance within the patient’s mental and physical composition. Asians believe that hot and cold diseases should be treated by cold and hot medicines respectively to restore the normal balanced state of the patient. For instance, penicillin, which causes rashes and diarrhea, is considered a hot treatment, while linden tea, which is served cold, is regarded as a cold medicine that is suitable for treating cold ailment. Although not all Asians subscribe to the hot and cold philosophy, it is important for a physician to consider the belief when handling such...