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The importance of understanding the immune system for a public health professional.
Understanding the mechanism of immunology allows public health professionals to better communicate the importance of immunization or vaccination to the public. For instance, whenever there is an onset of a new preventable disease affecting a large proportion of the population, it is the public health professionals that are at the forefront of educating the public on the importance of vaccines and explaining explicitly on the details of how the vaccine can combat infection and its affect on the immune system.
Vaccination or immunization is the procedure in which an infectious disease is prevented by prior exposure to a microorganism administered in a form that will not cause a disease (Battle. C, 2009). Inoculation of a foreign substance inside of a body is very daunting to many people and its very imperative for public health professionals to learn the mechanism of immunology and converting it to plan language to better educate the public on the benefits of vaccines. For example, one-fifth and one-third of Americans do not plan to receive the Covid-19 vaccinate and many more remain unsure, resulting in devising health communication strategies that effectively encourages Americans to consider getting vaccinated (Motta et. al., 2021). The COVID-19 virus has affected over 18 million people world-wide and caused over 600,000 fatalities within the first 6 months of widespread transmission (Motta et. al., 2021). Hesitancy to vaccination is somewhat due to misinformation. To pre-bunk or correct this misinformation, public health professionals will need to attempt to correct this misinformation by explaining the usefulness of the vaccine via their immunological knowledge and converting them into relatable and understandable language.
Also, understanding the type of immunity is important to determine the effectiveness of controlling a disease. Immunity is characterized into two type: active and passive. Active immunity occurs when an immunocompetent individual is exposed to a foreign organism and the person’s immune cells respond by producing antibodies and memory cells; passive immunity involves the transfer of preformed antibodies to an individual to protect them against a challenge (Battle, C, 2009). Vaccination is a form a Passive immunity, whereas active immunity involves a natural exposure to the disease. Knowing which form of immunity, a person has can help public health professional determine the most effective solutions to disease control.
The importance of understanding pathophysiology of inflammation
Inflammation is how the body responds to injury and is the result of a multitude of diverse environmental hazards important to the field of public health (Battle, C., 2009). Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that is characterized as an irreversible, progressive brain disease that affects 5.7 million Americans (CDC, 2018). Alzheimer is the sixth leading cause of death among all adults and the 5th leading cause of death for people 65 or older. The complete pathogenesis of this disease is still unknown, but it could involve a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. The most common genetic factor associated with Alzheimer is the allele 4 of the APOE gene (Serrano-Pazo et al., 2021). Continued research on the APOE gene can help public health professionals seek potential therapeutic and preventive interventions. The study of the pathophysiology of the disease can help determine which type of population is most affected. An association between race and the effect of APOE genotype on Alzheimer’s disease risk has been discovered that African American and Hispanic have a lower risk factor than the White population in carrying the APOE allele 4 gene (Serrano-Pazo et. al., 2021).
Osteoarthritis is another inflammatory disease affecting the elderly. It is the most common form of arthritis and it is sometimes referred to as degenerative joint disease where the cartilage within the joint begins to break down and the underlying bone begins to change causing pain, stiffness, and swelling (CDC, 2020). Osteoarthritis is now considered a complex whole joint disease involving cartilage degeneration, osteophyte formation, subchondral sclerosis, and inflammation of the synovial membrane; little is known about the disruption of the physiological relationship and crosstalk between these tissues contributing to the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis (Chou et. al. 2019). Continued research on the mechanism of this disease could help determine a permanent solution, such as stalling the effect of the degeneration.
The importance of understanding carcinogenesis as a public health professional
Cancer development involves multiple stages and understanding each step can help determine prevention (Battle, C., 2009). Ovarian cancer is the major form of mortality in women and is ranked as the highest among gynecological tumors in the western world and its incident rate is increasing on a yearly basis (Zhang et.al., 2019). Most patients are diagnosed with the advance stages of the diseases due to lack of information on the type of early symptoms associated with the disease. Serous epithelial ovarian cancer is the most common pathological ovarian cancer type and more research exploring the molecular development is important in identifying effective methods for preventing the progression of ovarian cancer.
Another cancer of high concern is colon cancer. Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer among both men and women in the United States and the third most common cause of cancer death among men and women in the United States (Battle, C., 2009). The primary prevention of colon cancer involves dietary and lifestyle modification. According to a study by Padmanabhan et. al., folate, and vitamin B12 supplementation might reduce oxidative stress in colonic tissue through growth stimulating hormone depletion and understanding the synergistic role of folate and vitamin B12 against colon rectal cancer pathogenesis can help give a more complete view of the colon rectal cancer process at the primary prevention level.