April 7 was World Health Day. What does that mean for you? Today is a chance to think locally, but act globally. Get facts and necessary information to make a difference for yourself and other global citizens. You’ll discover that you’re not alone with the diagnosis and management of your TMJ disorder.
First, Some Basic Facts
The annual date of April 7th was designated by the World Health Organization as a means of raising awareness about global health initiatives. It’s more important now than ever before. Through technologies like the Internet and global aviation, our planet gets smaller every day. Moving forward into the 21st century, that means health is a universally shared responsibility.
National and Global Data
But what does that mean for all 7 billion of the world’s population? The answer may surprise you. TMJ pain is not just a national issue, it’s international. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) estimates that over 10 million Americans are affected by TMJ disorders. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that millions more throughout the world also suffer from TMJ pain.
It is particularly prevalent in cultures which discourage people from expressing frustration or anger. This causes them to internalize their emotions, resulting in stress and jaw clenching. Psychology expert Kyum Koo Chon has observed this prevalence particularly in countries like China, India and many parts of Africa – locations where societies place great importance on traditions and group customs. In these locales, overt public expressions of emotion are generally frowned upon.
A Shared Responsibility
The World Health Organization estimates that global access to health care has fallen from 37% to 30% in the past two decades. While that news is encouraging, it unfortunately leaves about 1.3 to 2.1 billion people without any form of the most basic medical care. Even worse, outside of many western cultures, mental health care discussions are considered taboo. That means people suffering from TMJ pain brought on by psychological stress and anxiety are largely left undiagnosed and untreated.
What Can You Do?
Image Source: flickr.com/photos/rupertuk/4159721353