Thursday, 15 December 2011

What is Health?

Health, by definition, is the level of functional or metabolic efficiency of a living being. It is the general condition of the mind, body, and spirit that is free from illness, injury and pain. The World Health Organization (WHO) defined health as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. There are factors affecting the health of an individual. They are the following: income and social status, social support networks, education and literacy, employment and working conditions, personal health practices and coping skills, healthy child development, biology and genetics, health care services, gender, and culture. Health can be maintained and improved not only by medical advancements, but also through the efforts of achieving a healthy diet and healthy lifestyle. Talking about lifestyle and its effects on human health, it is proven that exercise, enough sleep, maintaining a healthy body weight, avoiding too much alcohol, and quitting smoking can help improve individual’s health. The environment also plays a very crucial role in the health status of individuals. This includes the natural environment, the built environment, and the social environment. Factors such as clean water and air, adequate housing, and safe communities have been found to contribute to good health.

As aforementioned, genetics is one of the key factors that affect the health of an individual. This can encompass both the affinity to certain diseases and health conditions as well as habits and behaviors individuals develop through lifestyle and families. For example, genetics may play a role in the manner in which people handle pressure and stress. You might already have a general understanding on genetics and heredity that it is passed on from parents and could affect the health and physical characteristics of the offspring. Therefore, heredity does affect our physical as well as mental health. Some of the hereditary diseases are diabetes, hypertension, cancer, stroke, heart diseases, Down Syndrome, depression, Schizophrenia, cystic fibrosis, sickle-cell anemia, polydactyly, autism, Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome, obesity, and Huntington’s Disease. Besides the heredity factor, the environmental factor also plays an important role in these diseases. With healthy lifestyle, one might avoid some of the diseases which are passed on because of genes. Basic preventions, healthy diet, and healthy options changes can help one avoid certain hereditary diseases and help us live quality life.

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