When we talk about family, the first thing that comes to our mind is the people who live with us. You may or may not share a home, blood relation or even for that matter any geographical location, but you still feel the sense of family with these people.
According to sociology, humans are social beings. The interdependency of people on other people for biological, physical, mental, social or political reasons is not something that cannot be neglected.
There is always something that we need from someone or the other at any point in life. But family is one of the main institutions that cater to at least three fourths of all the needs and requirements in a human being’s life.
In this article, we will be looking at how family affects the biological, emotional and physical health of a person belonging to it.
What Is Family?
The word family has various connotations when studies from different perspectives and subjects. Depending on the point of view of the subject addressed the meaning of family changes.
In biology, it refers to the blood relation running through generations that take forward peculiar traits, genes, and habits throughout the race.
In sociology, a family is defined as an intimate domestic group made up of people related to one another by bonds of blood, sexual mating, or legal ties.
Families not only affect the sociocultural, traditional and economic conditions of an individual, but also play an essential role in influencing the health behavior. Overall development in health can be affected mainly by the family’s history, behavior and their socio-economic conditions.
Other than being a source of emotional support and nurture, a family can also be a source of control, oppression, and inequality. This aspect derives the fact that family can determine both the positive and negative health effects.
The availability of a familial setting differs from country to country. In India, we might see a scenario of joint or nuclear families where the parents and kids live together for almost more than half their lives.
But this changes when we move westwards and see that in the US, the span of an individual living with their family is limited to a bare minimum of infancy to adolescence.
Another perspective of a family affecting health is how the family’s designated physician’s intervention can help the overall health of the whole family.
Family physicians can administer the process of holistic care to individuals and their families mental and physical well-being through both preventive and curative healthcare.
Biological Factors Of Family Affecting Health
Although the environment and lifestyle are the first things that might come into your mind when you think of family, genes play an essential role in determining the overall health of a person. These factors when analyzed together, give clues to the medical conditions that are anticipated to run in the family.
Noticing the patterns of illnesses and disorders within the family bloodline of relatives usually helps in determining what one might at risk of. These conditions may or may or may not appear even when anticipated.
The behavior of genes and the DNA is never stagnant. As and when the family’s tree grows, there are chances of acquiring or losing out on these conditions occur in future generations.
The medical history of a family helps in identifying both general, specific or chronic conditions. These could be common disorders like stroke, high blood pressure, cancer or diabetes.
When it comes to mental ailments, conditions like depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s, etc. can be gauged at a much earlier stage when the family’s medical history is identified. Nevertheless, these conditions are also influenced by environmental and lifestyle choices, apart from genetic factors.
Having relatives who have health conditions like the ones mentioned earlier, does not merely give way to an individual having the disease. It is highly possible that a person living in a family where these conditions are seen might acquire the same.
On the contrary, it is also hard to say that a person belonging to a family of no such medical history, is not prone to developing a particular illness or disorder.
One can always refer to this family’s medical history to prevent themselves from getting that particular condition. Regular checkups and tests not only helps in identifying the occurrence of a disease but also gives scope to understanding the changes one has to make in their routines to stay away or cure the same beforehand.
These changes may include big-time lifestyle changes like a healthier diet, regular exercise or quitting bad habits like smoking or drinking.
The easiest way to get information about family medical history is to talk to relatives about their health. Have they had any medical problems, and when did they occur? A family gathering could be an excellent time to discuss these issues.
Additionally, obtaining medical records and other documents (such as obituaries and death certificates) can help complete a family medical history. It is essential to keep this information up-to-date and to share it with a healthcare professional regularly.
Genetic factors contribute to the level of longevity in two critical ways
1) The inheritance of specific genetic variants that influences an individual to a disease that decreases survival
2) Additional gene variants that may affect disease resistance, and in turn, increase it
The longevity of a person, which is the life span of living for a person, can also be determined by their genetics. Lifestyle choices, especially diet, exercise and smoking habits, play a crucial role in deciding not only how well one age but also how long one will live.
Emotional Factors Of Family Affecting Health
Family, it impacts a person both physical and emotional health. In most cases, it affects a person emotional health. People don’t tend to talk about emotional health these days as they feel the world judges them for many reasons and treats them as mentally disabled people.
Families are the first and foremost people to observe the person mental well being. Family can be any, the friends we share our house with or the relatives that stay with us for the time being but form a strong bond with care and love.
Above everything, emotional health depends on how the person is close to his/her family and families perspective for life and how it differs from the person being from the family.
Having a supportive and close-knit family provides economic well being, emotional support, and develops overall health. However, the opposite is also true when family life is characterized by conflict and stress; the health of family members minds to be adversely affected.
Positive Aspects Of Family health And Dynamics
A family’s social help is one of the primary ways that family positively affects health. Social relationships, such as those discovered in close families, have been displayed to decrease the likelihood of the onset of disability, mental illness, chronic disease, and death.
Marriage, in specific, has been read in the way it affects health. Marriage is thought to safeguard wellbeing by providing emotional support, economic security, and companionship. Marriage is associated with low mortality, psychological well being, and physical health.
One research has found that ” taking into account or controlling on every other risk factor for death that we understand, including physical health status, rates of all-cause mortality are double as high among the unmarried as of the married.”
Another research found that “on the whole, marriage produces a net improvement in avoiding the onset of disease, which is known as primary prevention.” Married people are mostly to avoidhttps://www.inlifehealthcare.com/2017/03/27/health-benefits-happy-marriage-can-give/ risky behavior, such as high-fat diets and heavy drinking, and married couples are also more likely to see the doctor for screenings and checkups.
One need not have to be married to acquire the health advantages from the family. Studies have also declared that social support from friends, relatives, and parents has positive effects, mainly on mental wellbeing.
“Prospective companion studies have affirmed the direct beneficial effects of various forms of social support on global mental health, the incidence of depressive symptoms, recovery from a unipolar depressive phase, psychological strain, physical symptoms, psychological distress and all-causes of mortality.”
Social support and Social integration, like marriage, have protective effects on reducing mortality hazards. For instance, “those reporting higher levels of support from family and close friends exhibit systolic blood pressure and lower heart rate, higher immune function, and lower serum cholesterol.”
Thus, the available data give evidence to support the idea that one’s family situation or social environment “does get under the skin to affect essential physiologic parameters, including neuroendocrine, immune, and cardiovascular functioning.”
Physical Factors Of Family Affecting Health
There might have been a happy reminder of how fulfilling and essential it is to invest time with family, whether it’s your parents, children, or cousins that you may have forgotten that they existed for a brief period.
Work and shared meals, like cleaning up after the children-shaped bombshells that left a mess everywhere, can reignite bonds lost over the working year. Fortunately, these bonds will last longer with a little effort, and have mutually beneficial health benefits!
Making Time For Family Can Reduce Stress
If you’re finding your mind is continuously banging back and forth between obligations to your work and your family, there’s a high chance you’re facing some stress.
A study showed that repetitive thought on the conflicts among family and work life impacts your:
- Positive affect
- Health conditions
- Life satisfaction
- Negative affect
- Perceived health
Relationships With Family Members Decrease The Odds Of Deaths
Unfortunately enclosing yourself with every relation in the country won’t make you eternal, but it will keep you alive longer in your dark years.
Which is, amazingly, not something that your friends can do. That’s right, friends, also known as, the family you choose, don’t have as much of an influence on your odds of death.
The research showed that older adults who had closer, more intense relationships with their families had a 6% chance of death within the next 4 years, while those who weren’t close had more than twice the rate of fatality at 14%.
Factors most associated with a decreased mortality risk are feeling close to confidants, being married, larger network size and greater social participation.
In another regardless of quality, twist, marriage, was seen to have the most positive consequences on lastingness.
As bitter as it is to get along with family at situations, keeping strong bonds with your associated loved ones can have a positive effect on your health.
Family influences your heart health
Cardiovascular disorders are one of the biggest killers, so any steps you can take to improve and change your family’s heart, and your health are rewarding.
In a disclose that surprises no-one, the family attitude towards diet and health impacts everyone in the family. Where families get ready for their time together to have physical activity and proper meals, it becomes part of the family’s values, and the kids will probably eat healthier and be active into adult life.
For people who have long left childhood behind, not to fear – if your family is committed and engaged to give their energy and time to nutritious meals organizing and together physical outings, then you too can reap the benefits.
While we can’t promise great powers, we can say that being in a happy relationship can lead to quicker wound-healing. The paper, which investigated the impact of stress on wound-healing, found that:
“Individuals who displayed more self-disclosure, acceptance of their partner, relationship-enhancing statements, and humor during the interaction task healed the blister wounds faster than participants who exhibited less positive behaviors during the marital interaction task.”
In short, if you can make your partner giggle even when they’ve gone through the horrific experience of a blister, then chances are they’re going to heal faster. What this proves id more than anything is that our mental approach to our family is just as important, and linked to, our physical approach.
From childhood, social, emotional, language and cognitive domains on health are highly impacted by the family conditions. The complete life course of an individual depends on how these determinants of health operate at every stage of life from childhood, adolescence, adulthood and old age.
Whether it is the eating habits, the adaptation to exterior environments, or illnesses and diseases, there is an immediate influence of these elements on health.