Arab Culture in Health Care

1474 Words Jul 10th, 2012 6 Pages
Successful Patient-Doctor Relationships with the Arab Culture Many people have seen the increase of immigrants coming to the United States. “Census 2000 measured a U.S. population of 281.4 million, including 1.2 million who reported and Arab ancestry” (de la Cruz and Brittingham, 2000). Arab Americans are those people who speak or are descendents of Arabic-speaking populations. As doctors and caregivers continue to provide care to those that speak English, communication between them is easy. But when this simple task is changed when there is a patient from a different culture, it produces challenges that both parties have to overcome. Doctors and caregivers have to increase their cultural awareness and sensitivity so that there is a good …show more content…
136). The germ theory can be defined as “microorganisms, which are too small to be seen without the aid of a microscope, can invade the body and cause certain diseases” (Kusinitz). Salimbene (2000 pg. 136) found that: The humoral theory of disease is the basis for the Arabs. Many aspects of life are divided into four: the year is divided into four seasons; matter into fire, air, earth, water; the body into black bile, blood, phlegm, and yellow bile; and the environment into “hot,” “cold,” “moist,” and “dry.” These illnesses are treated with the opposite humor. Illnesses are attributed to the extreme shifts from hot to cold and vice versa.
It is also thought that the digestive system is given an opportunity to adjust to a “hot” and “cold” food before fully digesting it (Salimbene et al., 2000 pg. 137). The cultural health beliefs are specific for the Arabs with the main concern of the family. The family’s role is to indulge the sick person and take responsibilities off his or her shoulders (Salimbene et al., 2000 pg. 135). According to Meleis (2005 pg. 52), the family is central in both society and culture. When a woman is pregnant, the woman must be satisfied because “it is believed that the unborn child may develop a birthmark in the shape of the unsatisfied craving” (Salimbene et al., 2000). In the Arab culture, pain is harmful and should be controlled because the family does not want to see the patient…

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