Monday, April 27, 2009

Final PCQ 8

Chapter 13


            Although there are several cultural variations in the development of cardiovascular disease, there are many cross-cultural similarities in risk of heart disease. Some of the most important risk factors involve the physiological correlates of CVD. Some of these risk factors cannot be changed and occur cross-culturally, including age, sex, and family history. The risk of CVD increases when a person gets older, and men younger than 50 are more likely to develop a problem. The text explains that having a parent or relative with CVD greatly increases the incidence rates of CVD. Other physiological factors predicting the incidence rates of heart disease are high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol levels, inactivity, and obesity.

            Along with cross-cultural physiological risk factors, there are several psychological correlates of CVD that are present among all cultures. Type A personality, hostility, and anger are negative emotions that have are capable of triggering a heart attack and even sudden death among individuals who are already at risk for CVD. Feeling sad and depressed may also increase your likelihood of heart problems and the progression of the disease. Research shows that socioeconomic status is negatively correlated with the risk of CVD.

            Another important factor in the progression of CVD is social support. Strong social support could influence the development of CVD by buffering the person from the effects of stress, which would safeguard the person from the deteriorating effects that stress has on the entire circulatory system. Also, supportive networks ensure that a person is more likely to get help and to comply with their doctor’s orders.

            Stress, tobacco use, diet, and physical activity level are other important cross-cultural risk factors for heart disease. Studies show that although these risk factors are more prevalent in others, these factors are seen cross-culturally all around the world. After researching the many risk factors for heart disease that exist among many cultures, it is obvious that there is not just one major factor to blame for the extremely high prevalence of CVD all over the world. The large number of heart disease cases can likely be attributed to a combination of cross-cultural factors that put people at high risk.


Experiential 13

            I have picked to create an intervention to reduce CVD risk for Japanese men. I picked this cultural group because research shows that men are more likely to suffer from heart disease than women, and the Japanese have high numbers of CVD due to an incredibly high level of stress. Japanese men living in a city are at high risk for developing CVD because studies have shown that the stress from living in an urban environment can make you nine times for likely to develop CVD compared with living in a rural area. Because most Japanese men who are already at high risk for developing heart disease living in an urban environment, this cultural group must be taught better ways to manage stress.

            The text explains that in Japan, there is even a term for “death from overwork” because of the high prevalence of stress related CVD in the nation. Stress from work can be incredibly dangerous if you are overworked, have too many roles to fulfill, are not clear what your job is, are bored with your job, or do not have support at work. All of these problems can be seen in male Japanese patients suffering from CVD.

            An intervention for Japanese men living in urban surroundings should attempt to modify personal characteristics such as hostility, stress, and social support. This cultural group should be taught to manage hostility and stress by focusing on breathing exercises and beginning a daily exercise routine to let out their hostility, stress, and frustrations out in a proper was so that it does not lead to CVD. It will be essential for these men to alter their support systems to receive more aid in dealing with their stressful work situation. It is important for this particular culture to recognize and fully understand that they are at high risk for developing CVD and they must understand the very serious threats involved with the disease. Not only can healthy behaviors keep heart disease from worsening, but can actually reverse it as well. 


  1. I love your choice of cultural group for your intervention! This group is certainly at a higher risk than others, and is an interesting pick. I like the fact that you focused on addressing the high level of stress in their lives, as this is certainly the most prominent contribution to the risk of developing CVD in this population. I imagine it would be difficult to alter social support in a society with such a rigid social system, but this would be a great intervention technique as well. Great post.

  2. You were very specific in choosing your cultural group, which is great. I forgot about including gender in my intervention. You also included several interesting facts and statistics from the textbook, which I liked. For example, you said that in Japan, the term “death from overwork” is used because there is a high level of stress related to CVD. This statement makes the argument for your intervention more convincing.

    My intervention focused on breathing exercises just as yours did. In addition, you mentioned that your intervention aims at increasing social support for Japanese men. My intervention included this as a method to reduce stress, as well. Great job overall!

  3. I find your choice of cultural group to be quite interesting on a personal level. Of the several Japanese friends that I have, they are all extremely hard workers. However, one particular friend of mine is almost always stressed out before and after tests (even though he tends to study a lot and gets good grades). I find it hard to believe that my friend would participate in "breathing exercises", but I do feel that there are plenty of daily exercises that could help him (as well as many others) release their stress, frustrations, and hostility. It would be easy for my friend to use a strong support system to deal with his stress, but being a college student is somewhat of a unique situation. It would be interesting to see how the steps of an intervention would go for a single Japanese man working in a city!

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