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Disease progression is a complex phenomenon that should be understood in detail to prevent diseases and ensure that patients are treated properly. While some people believe that their health depends on their genes only, others consider that the environmental pollution can cause cancer or other disease. The evidence shows that disease development is associated with the combination of such factors as the lifestyle, environment, and genetics.
Health Composing Constructs
Genetics and the environment are two of the most influential factors affecting human health as well as the onset and development of many diseases. Most often, one or another condition cannot be explained solely by heredity or the impact of environmental and social factors. The majority of diseases combine elements of risk in all of the mentioned categories. The experts of the World Health Organization (WHO) state that human health is dependent on lifestyle to 50 percent, while the surrounding environment and genetic code identify 20 percent of health each, and 10 percent is related to the quality of care (Rappaport, 2016). Lifestyle, the influence of society, and accidents may be more important than the genetic characteristics of a person.
External experiences trigger signals between neurons that affect the production of proteins that, in turn, affect genes. Any positive or negative practice, be it nutrition or polluted drinking water, can alter chemistry that encodes genes in cells, which is called epigenetic modification (Rothschild et al., 2018). In particular, human microbiota and metabolism are largely affected by the environment rather than a person’s genetics. Accoridngly, Kaput, Kussmann, Radonjic, Virgili, and Perozzi (2015) assume that the diet habits modern population tends to use leads to cardiovascular disease and diabetes, which is complicated by greenhouse emissions that impact human health as an ecological determinant. The interplay between genes and milieu can also be expressed in the promotion of the former by the latter in the course of the epigenetic transgenerational inheritance. In their turn, the genetic code affects the lifestyle patterns: for example, nutrition may be identified according to inherited allergy needs, which was diagnosed in all family members. In this case, it is highly possible that the disease was primarily caused by inheritance issues.
Both genes that influence disease progress and the experience that one gains throughout his or her life are essential. In some situations, genetics prevails in the population’s morbidity and mortality, in others – the environment, including education, communication, air quality, and so on. Most importantly, genes, lifestyles, and environment mutually influence each other in different ways (Lin, Chen, & Shen, 2017). The extent to which genes influence a health status constantly change under the impact of external factors, nutrition, experiences, and stress. For example, cognitive disorders, especially such conditions as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, have the highest percentage of heritability, but connective tissue diseases show the lowest degree of genetic influence (Lin et al., 2017). As for the environmental factors, eye diseases turned out to be the most numerous group associated with them, and the least impact is made on reproductive diseases and cognitive disorders.
To conclude, genetics, environment, and lifestyles are the intertwined factors that define health of the population. At the state level, an extensive campaign should be conducted in order to convince people to quit smoking and alcohol abuse, lead a physically active lifestyle, and adjust their diet in accordance with the latest scientific recommendations. In addition, the population should increase awareness of the fact that all the discussed determinants are essential to health outcomes.
Kaput, J., Kussmann, M., Radonjic, M., Virgili, F., & Perozzi, G. (2015). Human nutrition, environment, and health. Genes & Nutrition, 10, 36-40.
Lin, Y., Chen, J., & Shen, B. (2017). Interactions between genetics, lifestyle, and environmental factors for healthcare. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 1005, 167-191.
Rappaport, S. M. (2016). Genetic factors are not the major causes of chronic diseases. PloS One, 11(4), 1-9.
Rothschild, D., Weissbrod, O., Barkan, E., Kurilshikov, A., Korem, T., Zeevi, D.,… Shilo, S. (2018). Environment dominates over host genetics in shaping human gut microbiota. Nature, 555(7695), 210-215.