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Factors Affecting Treatment

Instructor: Adrianne Baron

Adrianne has taught high school and college biology and has a master's degree in cancer biology.

We are going to look at different categories of factors that affect the treatment process. Examples of each category will be given to further explore how they interfere with treatment.

Treatments

'Take this pill twice a day for seven days.' 'You will need to wear a cast for six weeks on your leg.' 'The condition you have is going to require surgery to correct.' 'In order to give you a chance at life, you need an organ transplant.'

All of the above are examples of some treatments that may be necessary in order to address a condition, disease, or illness in or on the body. They sound simple and straightforward for the most part, right? Do whatever you need to do, and then you are all better, right? Well, it's not that simple for everyone.

There are some barriers that may exist for some people with certain treatment options. There are even instances when the barriers cannot be overcome, and a person cannot be effectively treated. There are quite a few different categories of barriers or factors that may affect treatment.

Factors Affecting Treatments

Personal

The first category has to do with your body. Everybody's body is different. This even holds true for identical twins. Differences will develop over time, and those differences may make certain treatments impossible. Let's look at two examples.

There may be a medication needed in order to treat a condition that you are suffering from. Low and behold, you are allergic to that entire class of medications!

Allergies can be a barrier to treatment
Depiction of an allergic reaction

This happens quite frequently with people and penicillin. Some medications elicit allergic reactions not because of the medication itself, but because of the dye or other packaging used to make the medication.

Another personal factor that may affect your ability to be treated may come up when you need a blood transfusion or an organ transplant. Any blood put into our bodies needs to be exactly the same or compatible with the blood already in our bodies. While this factor is rare as long as blood supplies are ample, it does happen on occasion that a person needs blood and the type of blood needed is not available. This is even more problematic when an organ transplant is needed. The donated organ must be completely compatible with the body of the person receiving the organ. If not, the recipient could die. Beyond that, the body looks at the organ as being foreign and may still reject it even if it appears to be compatible.

Other personal factors include lack of access to healthcare or pharmacies due to living location, working hours, available time, and/or transportation issues.

Religious

There are different religions that exist in our world. Almost all of them come with various religious practices, rules, and guidelines. Some religions have guidelines that prevent certain types of treatments regardless of what is happening with a person's body.

One example is birth control pills being forbidden in the Catholic religion. You may be thinking that birth control pills are not a form of treatment, but rather a preventative method for pregnancy. They are actually used for prevention and as a form of hormonal therapy to treat certain conditions. Not to mention, there are certain instances where a pregnancy almost killed a woman, and it is not recommended for her to get pregnant again. Birth control of some sort would be the treatment method for those instances.

Other religions, such as Jehovah's Witness, prohibit blood transfusions. This prohibition remains in place even in life and death situations, which is usually the case when a blood transfusion is needed. A person following this religious prohibition will reject the blood transfusion and may not get treated, making death more likely to occur.

Social and Cultural

Social and cultural beliefs and differences can also be factors that affect treatment. Most people have sets of values and practices that they live by. These aren't religious beliefs, but are more so beliefs based on race, culture, family, and societal pressures. For instance, a person may not make the dietary changes necessary to treat conditions such as heart disease and diabetes due to eating foods that are normally eaten in their culture.

Culture and social interactions affect treatment
Collage of different races

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