Cultural health beliefs influence how individuals think and feel about their health and health issues, when and from whom they seek health care, and how they respond to lifestyle modification, health-care interventions, and treatment adherence recommendations. Culture also affects how health professionals provide care. In this article, we will discuss some of the ways that culture influences health behavior.
The terms "cultural norms" and "cultural values" are used interchangeably with the term "culture." Cultural norms are the most common behaviors found in a particular society or group; cultural values are ideals or principles that guide people in their decisions about their lives. All societies have both cultural norms and values; what makes one culture different from another is the combination or balance between these two elements.
Culture has a strong effect on health behavior because it shapes how people think about and deal with illness.
Cultural attitudes can influence how a patient seeks treatment and from whom, how he or she manages self-care, how he or she makes health decisions, and how she responds to a particular therapy. Cultural factors influence compliance, which is a person's willingness to follow the doctor's instructions. For example, people from cultures where privacy is important may not feel comfortable discussing sexual issues with their doctors.
Culture also plays a role in what treatments are available and how they are used. In some countries, there are no effective options for treating male pattern hair loss, for example. In others, such medications do exist but only myeloma patients taking the drug thalidomide will have their tumors removed.
Finally, culture influences how therapies are received and experienced by individuals. For example, some patients find chemotherapy painful; others don't. Some patients report feeling better after surgery while others feel that way immediately after a procedure or even later in recovery.
Culture is also influenced by society as a whole. Laws, practices, traditions, and more - all affect how people live their lives and how they feel about themselves and their bodies.
For example, in some countries it's common practice to shave your head when you lose your hair due to illness or injury. This is usually done without painkillers or other forms of relief. In others, people are given stronger anesthesia during these procedures.
Culture has a significant impact on health. It has an impact on people's conceptions of health, sickness, and mortality, as well as their ideas about disease causation, methods to health promotion, how illness and suffering are experienced and expressed, where patients seek care, and the forms of therapy they choose. Culture also affects what is done at a community level to improve health or prevent disease.
There are three main ways in which culture influences health: through its direct effect on behavior, through its influence on access to resources, and through its role in shaping perceptions of risk.
The way in which individuals in different cultures behave toward health issues varies depending on their values. These values are shaped by many factors including religion, society, language, and tradition. For example, in some societies smoking is not only accepted but expected from young adults into old age. In other cultures, particularly in northern Europe, France, Canada, and the United States, people tend to avoid behaviors that can be dangerous for their health. For example, they may avoid eating fast food, drinking alcohol, or using drugs illegally. In these cases, health concerns are seen as important but they must be balanced with other considerations such as cost or being "a part of life".
Access to resources such as medical care depends on several factors including income, education, location, whether one is insured, etc.
Culture impacts not just health behaviors, but also how healthcare providers and patients view sickness. Understanding how culture impacts individual behavior and thought helps you to provide the best treatment for your patients. Culture also plays a role in how nurses practice medicine. In this section, we'll discuss some of the ways that culture influences nursing.
The way people think about illness is influenced by their culture. In some cultures, illness can be very serious, while for others it may be treated as a minor inconvenience. In some countries, doctors have more power than in others they don't. There are many other factors that influence how people view illness, but these are just a few examples. It is important to understand how culture affects health beliefs so that you can provide information about medical tests, procedures, and treatments in a way that is understood by your patients.
People also act according to the values of their culture. These are the morals that guide individuals' actions toward themselves and others. Some cultural values that impact nursing include: honor violence, child abuse, domestic violence, elder abuse, and more. When caring for patients from different cultures, it is important to know what cultural values they hold near and dear because if you violate these values by acting inappropriately, you could create serious problems for yourself and your patient.
Healthcare is influenced by culture at every level, including communication and interactions with physicians and nurses, health inequalities, healthcare results, and even the sickness experience itself. People in certain cultures think that disease is the will of a higher power and may be more hesitant to seek medical attention. They may also seek alternative treatments instead.
Culture has an impact on health decisions for individuals of all ages, from what kind of health care they choose to accept, to how they deal with illness. Here are just three examples:
The way that people in different cultures deal with pain varies. In some cultures, such as those in Asia and Africa, patients are often told that pain is good news because it means that there is no serious injury. Other cultures, such as those in North America and Europe, prefer to treat pain aggressively, using medicine if needed. Some studies have shown that people in countries where pain is treated seriously tend to use less medication than people in other countries who do not view pain as important.
Individuals from different cultures face diseases and injuries that require different types of care. For example, people in some cultures would try home remedies first, while others would go to the hospital immediately. Similarly, some diseases require intensive treatment with many rounds of antibiotics over several days, while for others single doses are enough. Finally, some conditions may be fatal without urgent care, while others can be delayed until later.