Poor Nutrition

Research shows that bad eating habits contribute to health problems:

  • Chronic overeating increases the risk of heart disease, hypertension, stroke, respiratory problems, arthritis, and back problems.
  • Low-fiber diets and diets that increase serum cholesterol levels are linked to heart disease.
  • Eating too much salt may contribute to high blood pressure.
  • High-fat, low-fiber diets are linked to cancers of the colon, prostate, and breast.
  • A low-calcium diet may contribute to osteoporosis.

Getting Medical Treatment

Once people develop symptoms of illness, their behavior influences whether their health will improve or worsen. People’s behavior can have an impact at three different stages.

Seeking Medical Help

People who are highly anxious, who score high on the personality trait of neuroticism, who are very health-conscious, and who are very aware of bodily sensations tend to report more physical symptoms than other people.

Delaying seeking medical help can have serious consequences, as early diagnosis can improve the treatment of many health problems. Despite this, people often delay seeking medical help for several reasons:

  • Fear of appearing ridiculous if their symptoms turn out to be benign
  • Reluctance to bother their physicians
  • The tendency to minimize symptoms
  • Unwillingness to have a medical appointment interfere with other plans.

Communicating Effectively

People often have trouble communicating effectively with health care providers. Communication difficulties frequently happen for the following reasons:

  • Medical providers often use jargon and unclear explanations when talking to patients.
  • Patients sometimes forget to ask questions they should have asked.
  • People sometimes forget to mention symptoms they have or avoid mentioning the extent of their problems for fear of a serious diagnosis.
  • People are sometimes passive in their interactions with health care providers because they feel intimidated by health care providers’ authority.

Adhering to Treatment Regimens

People’s chances of recovery decrease if they don’t adhere to the treatment regimens that their health care providers prescribe. People don’t adhere to medical advice for three main reasons:

  • Not understanding the instructions they are given
  • Not following treatment regimens that are unpleasant or interfere significantly with daily routines
  • Not following advice if they are displeased about their interactions with their health care provider

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