Unnatural Causes Essay

Words: 1064
Pages: 5

Contrary to what many people believe, America’s health status is not quite “up-to-par,” to say the least. Over forty-seven million people in the United States lack health insurance; that is more than 15% of our nation’s population! At first this disturbing truth seems impossible to believe, being as America is one of the most technologically advanced and economically developed countries in the world. “We spend trillions of dollars per year on medical care. That’s nearly half of all the health dollars spent in the world. But we’ve seen our statistics. We live shorter, often sicker lives than almost every other industrialized nation. “We rank 30th in [global] life expectancy” (Adelman 2008). Knowing this brings rise to the question: why are …show more content…
The more obvious explanations for this occurrence could be that individuals with decreased economic and social status would have less access to health care related to diminished finances, or they would have unhealthy diets related to higher costs of healthy foods, or due to their lack of substantial education they would, in turn, lack in knowledge of health care practices. Oddly enough, these factors are not the major contributor. The reason for the correlation between health care and social/ economic status, which the documentary primarily focuses on, can be narrowed down to one culprit: stress. According to the documentary, it is the increased stress level in lower income population that accounts for the increase in morbidities. The result of chronic stress on the body is a chronic release of the body’s stress hormone: cortisol (Adelman 2008). When the body accumulates too much cortisol it leads to a decrease in immune system function and thus, creating an increase in sickness. Regardless of one’s social status or stress level, there is one more disturbing factor that prevents a person from achieving optimal health care: race. Racial discrimination has been linked with high blood pressure, increased rates of coronary artery disease and infant death. African Americans, for example, have higher rates of many chronic diseases and die earlier that