The origins of health often take root deep beneath the surface with factors outside of our immediate control.
The social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels. This distribution of resources affects access within health care systems, socioeconomic conditions and ultimately, individual health.
Family history is important because family members may share not only genes but also environmental conditions, behaviors and lifestyles. Being aware of innate and conditional risks can serve to motivate individuals to
minimize these risks and promote general wellness.
If a close family member suffers from diseases such as asthma, certain cancers, diabetes and/or heart disease, an individual may have a higher risk of developing these diseases.
Screening tests (such as mammograms and cancer screenings) can detect some diseases at an early stage when they are most treatable. Screening tests can also detect risk factors such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure, which can be treated to reduce the chances of developing a disease.
Gender differences can lead to health disparities related to social, cultural and biological inequalities. Gender can be a strong determining factor when it comes to health predisposition, access to care and personal behaviors.
When engaging with patients it is important to consider how gender differences may affect health and wellness. This is true in relation to how patients may experience pain, express symptoms of a particular disease or respond to treatment options.
Additionally, gender norms should be taken into consideration as they too may affect health.
Gender, family history and social determinants of health deserve consideration when engaging with individuals or communities on the issue of non-communicable disease. They can affect prevalence, clinical presentation and treatment strategies, as well as health outcomes.