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How Your Environment Can Influence Your Health

It’s easy to understand that spending too much time in the sun is bad for your skin or that excessively loud sounds can damage your hearing. These are both products of your environment, such as being on a beach or working in a factory, that have influences on your health.

Your exposure to the environment is around the clock, every day of your life. Where you are at any moment establishes your current environment. So, while you can move inside to get out of the sun, dust or household chemicals may now be a factor, creating allergic reactions. The World Health Organization describes the health environment in which you live as “all the physical, chemical, and biological factors external to a person, and all the related behaviors.”

Because you’re in a series of constantly changing environments, it’s difficult to ignore these when your health suffers, especially when illness doesn’t have a directly attributable cause. A key part of any visit to see Dr. Mihaela Perijoc at North Texas Internal Medicine Specialists is a review of your medical history. Keep your environment in mind, particularly when there are changes to it, when discussing your health with Dr. Perijoc.

Environmental health impact factors

While the impact of environmental health factors may appear limited at first glance, nearly one-quarter of deaths worldwide come due to preventable environmental conditions. Children under the age of five are even more vulnerable.

The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP), an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, promotes better living for everyone through its Healthy People 2020 Environmental Health objectives, focusing on several themes that demonstrate how environmental factors can affect you. These include:

Outdoor air quality

The fight against air pollution is decades old, yet millions of Americans continue to live in locations that exceed established air quality standards. Exposure to polluted air contributes to cancer and long-term damage to cardiovascular and respiratory health.

Surface and ground water quality

Clean water is crucial for both consumption and recreation. Vulnerable to both chemicals and infectious substances, fresh water sources remain essential for the health of everyone.

Toxic substances and hazardous wastes

The hazards of many environmental pollutants are already known, but long-term effects from other substances may not yet be fully known. Research into wastes and their effects are as important as reducing exposure to known hazards, such as asbestos and lead.

Homes and communities

Since virtually everyone spends much of their time at home, at work, or in school, health hazards may originate from these inside environments. Sanitation, heating, air conditioning, fire risks, and structural hazards could each pose health risks for people inside buildings.

Global environmental health

As the Coronavirus outbreak of 2020 demonstrates, health risks in other parts of the world frequently affect Americans, so the international health environment has local impact, too.

As a functional medicine specialist, Dr. Perijoc carefully considers all potential health influences and how they affect your wellness, including the effects of your environments. For a complete assessment of your health, contact Dr. Perijoc and her team at North Texas Internal Medicine Specialists in Plano. You can call the office at 214-216-6932 or use the convenient online booking tool. Schedule your appointment today.  

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