Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is a condition of “complete physical, emotional and social well being” and not just the absence of sickness and disease. Various definitions have been employed over the years for various purposes. The dictionary defines health as having “all the bodily good that human beings can possess.” Psychology 101 teaches us that health is “the quality of being able to enjoy one’s own body and the acceptance of others.” In education, health is equated with ability and happiness.
Healthy states of being have many characteristics. People who are healthy live longer and experience fewer incidences of death related conditions. They are less likely to suffer from serious diseases or disability. Those who are healthy also have higher energy levels and a greater sense of well-being. The quality of life increases with greater knowledge of risk factors for illness and wellness, and with appropriate changes in behavior and diet.
Health is affected by a number of factors. These may include genetic, psychological, environmental, physiological, social and other aspects. One important factor that significantly affects the quality of health is the prevalence of diseases or chronic diseases. The causes of some common diseases are tobacco smoke, air pollution, ultraviolet light and germs and bacteria. The prevalence of diseases can be reduced if proper steps are taken against the risk factors.
A large number of communicable diseases is usually spread through contact with the infected person. For example, cholera is caused by a virus that can be transmitted through bodily fluids such as blood, saliva, and sweat. Hepatitis is caused by a virus and can be transmitted through infected blood or body fluid. HIV/AIDS is caused by a retrovirus that prevents the body’s immune system from attacking the acquired virus. Some other common communicable diseases are syphilis, hepatitis B and hepatitis C, diarrhea, cholera, leukaemia and cancer. The most serious of these diseases – AIDS – causes death through causes unknown and is a fatal medical condition.
Health and wellness is a mental as well as a physical state. Mental health refers to one’s ability to live one’s life in a positive way and to cope with everyday demands. A healthy mind and body are necessary for one to have a productive and meaningful life. On the other hand, physical wellness pertains to one’s ability to lead a healthy lifestyle with the proper diet, exercise and rest.
The prevention of illness is a major goal of public health. This aims to promote a healthy social environment where all people can live in safety and with greater opportunity to participate in society. An effective way of preventing illness is through a healthy lifestyle. This may include healthy eating habits, regular exercise, limitation of alcohol and tobacco consumption, cessation of other forms of addiction, and other similar practices. By practicing these three practices, you can improve your general health and also enjoy greater wellness.