Essay about Social Class and Public Health: Determining Your Health

1336 Words 6 Pages
Social hierarchy and conditions within a community has a direct impact on the health and wellness of the people that reside within the boundaries of that city. Major contributors to the welfare of a neighborhood include but are not limited to: the area in which they live, their social standing within the population and the income of the individual or family. Each factor has a severe influence on the life expectancy of the peoples within the society.
The actual living conditions of people directly correlate to the spread of infectious diseases and infestation of chronic illnesses that result in premature death. Crowding, such as in ghettos and low income projects, creates an unnecessary closeness of people in a community. Therefore we
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Violence and gangs in a society produce an extremely stressful atmosphere. Chronic stress is a front-runner for sponsoring cardiovascular diseases and lowering a person’s immunity to common illnesses. When a person is stressed their body releases large amounts of cortisol into the blood stream, and when a person is under stress most of the time, the cortisol starts to create a plaque on the interior walls of veins. This constricts the amount of blood flow through the body and in turn leads to serious conditions such as heart attacks, increased blood pressure and lower immunity.
Although a person’s living conditions greatly affect their health, by the same token their social status determines where on the health gradient they dwell. Unfortunately most of the elements that helped determine social ranking are predetermined; age, race, gender and ethnicity. However there are some components of the social hierarchy that people can control such as level of education. In American society, although there has been a push racial equality in recent decades, there is still an underlying racial inequality in health. African American women in the United States are more likely to give birth to underweight and premature babies than any other ethnic group. Even black women with high levels of education, job security and above average incomes are susceptible to the menacing glances of their white counterparts. The anxiety of being black in this society increases the cortisol