Health beliefs are what individuals believe about their health, what constitutes their health, what they consider is the cause of disease or illness, and how they can manage the condition. One’s culture determines the beliefs, and they all come together to form a healthy belief system. The United States is culturally diverse, and most communities have adopted modern medicine. However, the Chinese still believe in using traditional medicine to prevent disease and treat various ailments. The conventional treatment of the Chines is based on the concept that everything in the universe is made of energy and that the human body comprises a complex system of energy and matter. Therefore, they believe that disease or ailment is caused by internal or external factors that disrupt the body’s natural processes (Wu et al., 2019). The overemphasis of the Chinese culture on traditional medicine impacts individuals` perception of evidence-based medicine. Using Chinese traditional medicine and modern medicine can lead to medication preparation, medication administration, and adherence conflicts.
Medication preparation is the assessment done before administering medications. All medicines should be reviewed before administration to ensure that the patient receives the proper medication for the right reasons. Also, it is essential to check for the dosages of the drugs and the particular route of administration. Health beliefs of different cultures impact the dosage of drugs. Therefore, when preparing medicines, one should consider an individual’s requirement for the drug and the restrictions of taking it so that they can adjust the medicine dosage according to cultural needs or health beliefs. People’s beliefs regarding the necessity of a drug and the level of concern about daily medications differ across cultural groups. For instance, some cultures assign values to different conditions because they view other conditions as less critical. Also, the Chinese believe that pain is essential in their life; therefore, they should not take medications to relieve pain. Finally, Chinese culture emphasizes the use of herbal medicine. Therefore, when preparing medicines, the healthcare provider should consult the type of herbs the patient may be taking to avoid overdose, underdose, or other adverse drug interactions.
The rights of medication administration include the right patient, right time, correct dosage, right route, and proper drug. Healthcare beliefs affect the rights of medication administration. For instance, Chinese health beliefs impact the right timing of medication administration. Among the Chinese, certain times are associated with different systems and organs. Therefore: medications targeting these body organs should not be taken during the specified timeframes. Also, the Chinese strictly adhere to their cultural beliefs and traditional schedule. Therefore, some patients may refuse to take medications that should be taken at times conflicting with their traditional schedule. Refusal to take medication impacts the right of timing in medication administration.
Chinese health beliefs positively influence medication administration. Some health practices, such as acupuncture, can be done while administering modern medicine, thus improving patient outcomes. During acupuncture, needles are exerted on the targeted areas of the body to influence the energy flow. Acupuncture does not introduce additional chemistry to the body. Therefore, it does not cause drug interactions or interfere with other drugs, making it a safe Chinese healthcare practice to use with any other treatment.
Using Chinese traditional medicine alongside modern medicine can cause adverse drug reactions. Some traditional medicine, such as ginseng, should not be taken with anticoagulants such as warfarin. Ginseng is a traditional herb used to treat a variety o pathological illnesses and conditions, such as shortness of breath, anorexia, insomnia, palpitation, diabetes, hemorrhage, and hyperdynamic. Combining ginseng with anticoagulants such as warfarin may decrease blood levels. It also affects the effects of warfarin, thus increasing the risk of getting clots which increases the risk of developing severe conditions such as stroke and heart attacks (Choi & Song, 2019). Also, ginseng should not be used with aspirin because it inhibits platelet activity. Therefore, patients taking ginseng should inform the provider so that the provider may adjust the dose of anticoagulants or provide frequent patient monitoring.
Some of the herbal medicine used by the Chinese people is contaminated with potentially harmful compounds. According to Yang et al. (2018), instances of contamination of herbal medicine with heavy metals such as arsenic and lead, known to cause severe poisoning, were reported. Also, using herbal components may cause severe allergic reactions or organ damage. Therefore, one should consult with the healthcare provider before taking herbal medicine.
Medication adherence is the extent to which patients take medications as prescribed. It involves factors such as taking the medication on time, getting a refill of prescriptions, and understanding the directions of the medications. Health beliefs of different cultures play a significant role in medication adherence. For instance, the Chinese believe in traditional medicine and health practices such as acupuncture. Most of them perceive modern medicine as being intrinsically harmful and containing addictive substances which they should avoid. Since they perceive modern medicine as harmful, most avoid taking it, thus leading to medication non-adherence. A study by Shahin et al. (2019) indicated that patients more educated about modern medicine have higher chances of medication adherence. Therefore, educational programs should be aimed at informing patients about various medications and their effects on the body. Also, healthcare providers should inform the patients why they are given certain medications.
In conclusion, healthcare beliefs significantly impact medication or overall interaction with the healthcare system—health beliefs influence medication preparation, administration, and adherence. Healthcare providers should acknowledge other people’s cultures to provide culturally competent care.
Choi, M. K., & Song, I. S. (2019). Interactions of ginseng with therapeutic drugs. Archives of Pharmacal Research, 42(10), 862-878.
Shahin, W., Kennedy, G. A., & Stephens, I. (2019). The impact of personal and cultural beliefs on medication adherence of patients with chronic illnesses: a systematic review. Patient preference and adherence, 13, 1019.
Wu, Y., Zhang, F., Yang, K., Fang, S., Bu, D., Li, H., … & Chen, J. (2019). Symp: an integrative database of traditional Chinese medicine enhanced by symptom mapping. Nucleic acids research, 47(D1), D1110-D1117.
Yang, B., Xie, Y., Guo, M., Rosner, M. H., Yang, H., & Ronco, C. (2018). Nephrotoxicity and Chinese herbal medicine. Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, 13(10), 1605-1611.