Unit D

Module 6 ~ Lesson 3

Disorders of the Digestive System

Ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease, hepatitis, cirrhosis, and gallstones are some disorders that directly affect the organs of the digestive system. Anorexia, bulimia, and obesity are digestion-related conditions arising from psychological, social, and cultural conditions. While medicine and technology can treat some of these diseases, they cannot alter how people choose to treat their bodies.

By BruceBlaus [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Indigenous Perspective on Health

First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people share a definition of health similar to the World Health Organization, a division of the United Nations. The WHO's definition says that health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease. Indigenous people traditionally believe that individual health depends not only on a person's individual resources, but is best assured through the maintenance of healthy social, economic, and cultural systems. With this belief, intervention is necessary when an individual becomes sick.

According to the healers of the Dene Nation, the individual has to take responsibility for his or her own healing. Too often, they believe, people give others the responsibility to take care of their minds, their bodies, their emotions, and their spirituality in a disconnected way.

Many First Nations people believe in practicing traditional medicine. Traditional medicine refers to health practices, approaches, knowledge, and beliefs incorporating plant, animal, and mineral-based medicines, spiritual therapies, manual techniques, and exercises. These practices are used alone or in combination to diagnose, treat, and prevent illnesses or maintain well-being.

Many Albertans support the Western medical system where medical doctors and other health-care professionals (such as nurses, pharmacists, and therapists) treat symptoms and diseases using drugs, medical treatments, or surgery.


Read pages 233 to 237 of your textbook.