Unnatural Causes: In Sickness and In Wealth

I think my biggest take away from this episode was the effect that stress can have on the body. If the body is forced to be in “fight or flight” for too long and there is too much constant stress put on the body, there is an increased rate of diabetes and heart disease as well as increased cortisol in the body. For many of the minority groups, their living conditions and lifestyle cause them to be in high stress situations a lot more often and for a longer constant period of time. While I may be stressed about my exam, many people stress everyday about putting food on the table for their family and if they are going to have a place to live next month. This puts them at a huge health disadvantage. I thought it was crazy when the scientist put a “cold” into the nose of people and those that were chronically stressed were more likely to get sick from it. Being stressed lowers your bodies immune system and makes you susceptible to various illnesses. I see this a lot during finals week at school. A lot of people tend to get sick during this time. Their stress is so strong that they body begins to fail and then they end up doing worse on their exams because their bodies are so weak and unable to perform.

I also found the people of Louisville to be so fascinating. While I am sure this is the case with many cities that we live in, it was crazy to see on a map how close the districts were and yet how vastly different lives they live. The CEO of a company living in the 1% lives a short drive away from a mother who lives off of her insurance and welfare checks. I cannot imagine not having a job and still having to pay all of her and her families medical bills. I was happy to see that she was still engaged in the community and wanting to make an impact. I think it is very easy for people that have these struggles to hide away and let it consume her. I think in the long run it will help her health to stay active and involved in the community. Another important aspect of the Louisville observations was the true gradient that was present. I think sometimes I tend of think of wealth/health as a black and white problem, but in reality it is more of a gradient.

I think the final point in this film about investing in our future is so important. While it is important to understand the history behind these long lasting problems in our society, I think it is so important to start investing in our future. We need to put our money and resources into the future instead of doing damage control on what has already been done. This film was eye opening to see the true negative health affects that stress can have and made me feel passionate about aiming to reduce the stress for the minority groups.

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