Cultural impacts on health
Culture impacts every aspect of our lives, including our health. Culture dictates our diets, clothing and environments, all of which change our risk of a number of diseases. Rituals can also effect pre-existing conditions.
This phenomenon is already really established in public health trends. With the relationship between stomach cancers and the Japanese diet, longevity and the Mediterranean diet, depression and MS amongst northern latitude countries such as Scotland and Scandinavia. Nuns are known to have rickets and vitamin D deficiency, while skin cancers are common among surfers, sailors and skiers.
There has been some new research about the impact of the fasting tradition of Ramadan on patients who have pre-existing chronic kidney disease. Published in the Saudi Journal of Kidney disease and transplantations ( http://www.bioportfolio.com/resources/pmarticle/73929/Fasting-Ramadan-In-Chronic-Kidney-Disease-Patients-Clinical-And-Biochemical-Effects.html ), the study found that Ramadan did not have a negative impact on patient’s kidney disease. Such dramatic changes to eating could have an effect, which would be important to determine.
This study highlights the importance of considering the patient in their full environment when thinking about diagnosis and treatment plans. Potentially, reactions of conditions to traditions could tell us more about the condition, possibly helping form better management plans. As we understand more about the body and live in a more multi-cultural world, the importance of the impact of culture is only going to become greater