Social Determinants Of Health

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Social determinants of health are factors that affect the physical or social conditions of the environment in which people are born, live, learn, play, work and age.  These factors effect health, function and quality of life outcomes. Social conditions could be concentrated poverty, availability of living wages and healthful foods, exposure to violence or presence of trash. Examples of physical factors could include schools, recreational settings, exposure to toxic substances, neighborhoods, and physical barriers (Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion [ODPHP], 2018). These examples are not inclusive but name a few of each.  If an individual was at risk for diabetes and was affected by social determinants of concentrated poverty, poor access to healthful foods and recreation settings it will increase the risk of the person becoming diabetic. Each one of these examples escalate the disease process instead of decreasing the risk of diabetes.

The communicable disease chain or chain of infection describes how disease or infection are spread. An infectious agent leaves its host or reservoir through a portal of exit, moved through a mode of transmission and enters through a portal of entry into a susceptible host (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2012). Following proper PPE goes a long way in breaking the communicable disease chain. An infectious agent will find it more difficult to be spread if the means of transmission are blocked or the immune system of the susceptible host is not compromised. In the case of Clostridium difficile or C.Diff, it may be possible to prevent the infectious agent in the first place by taking antibiotics only when needed and avoiding taking multiple antibiotics at the same time. It is also possible to break the chain at mode of transmission by using the appropriate cleaning supplies on surfaces and only using correct hand washing procedures in rooms with C. Diff patients as well as gown and gloves and proper removal of linens.

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A communicable disease chain is defined as the mechanism where an infective agent or pathogen is transmitted. The chain requires an infective agent, a source of infection, a mode of transmission and a host. There are many types of infective agents: bacteria, virus, fungus, protozoan, or helminth. There are many ways that infective agents can be transmitted: from person-to-person, person-to-animal, insects, or soil. The mode of transmission is how the agent is carried from host to host. It can be transmitted by air, ingestion, or physical contact.  Transmission can be by air, ingestion or physical contact. For the agent to replicate it needs a host. Many social determinants put certain populations at risk. For example: poverty or location put certain populations at risk for transmission of diseases.

According to the CDC social determinants of health are economic and social conditions that influence the health of people and communities. These types of situations are formed by the amount of money, power, and resources that people receive. Determinant of health affects many factors that influence a health outcome. Some of these factors include: education, occupation, food security, housing status and, so on. The CDC states, determinants of health are factors that contribute to a person’s current state of health. These factors may be biological, socioeconomic, psychosocial, behavioral, or social in nature. It has been said that there are five determinants of health of a population; includes: sex, age, health behaviors, social environment, physical environment, and health services.

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