William D. Jones, MD, has worked as an occupational and preventive medicine professional in Oklahoma City, OK, since 1994. When he is not providing medical support to patients in and around the Oklahoma City, OK, area, William D. Jones, MD, engages with professional organizations such as the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
Environmental medicine is a broad term encompassing a variety of medical specialties and procedures, all of which involve interactions between humans and the surrounding environment. More specifically, practitioners of environmental medicine train to address adverse reactions resulting from exposure to something in the environment.
Three key aspects of environmental medicine include individual susceptibility, adaptation, and the concept of “total load.” Individual susceptibility is a term used to describe a specific person’s response to an environmental excitant. There are a wide range of factors that may influence individual susceptibility, from genetic predisposition to nutritional standing.
Adaptation, meanwhile, describes the changes a person or organism goes through over time in response to environmental factors. In some cases, the body may respond positively and fight off a virus or infection. In cases of maladaptation, the adaptive mechanism breaks down and the body begins to suffer the ill effects of one or more excitants.
Finally, total load draws on both of these concepts. If a susceptible individual fails to adapt to environmental excitants over a period of time, they may hit their total load and experience a total breakdown of various homeostatic mechanisms.
More information about environmental medicine is available at the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine website, acoem.org.