Health is a condition of total mental, physical and social well being where infirmity and illness are absent. The three components of the universal health care system, as described by Thomas Jefferson are safety, nutrition and access to proper health services. Health is defined by the World Health Organization as a state of complete physical, emotional and social well being that can be achieved through a system of care that enables the subject to attain independence and pursue other personal goals. Health is important for all of us as it determines how well we will perform our activities and also determines the level of security of life and protection from diseases. A good health plan ensures that you will live a happy, healthy and productive life to your maximum capability.
The three primary determinants of health are age, gender and community. The state of health of an individual can be influenced by his/her culture and the environment. These three determinants are interrelated and cannot be separated. For example, an African American man in America may be more likely to develop common heart problems than a white European man. The social determinants of health include general characteristics of the community such as poverty, material availability, social capital and educational opportunities.
It is now scientifically proven that every disease has a genetic component and that environmental causes like unhealthy lifestyle choices, pollution, stress, etc contribute to the development of a person’s disease causing genes. Social determinants of health include physical and mental disorders that manifest as physical ailments, mental disorders like schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders and chronic physical diseases. The major categories of mental disorders are schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, anxiety and personality disorders. A good health system makes use of all these three determining factors in order to ensure the health of the public at large.
There are many ways to measure health. These include physical and mental tests, work and living conditions, interviews, work performance, family conditions and the health status of the family. Usually, medical diagnosis is made from interviews with relatives, friends, colleagues and neighbors. In addition to this, medical histories of people also help in establishing the cause of a physical illness or the development of a chronic health condition.
A physically healthy person is one who is free from illness and stress. A mentally healthy person is one who is contented with his life and does not have too much problems that interfere with his normal activities and relationships. To achieve both of these two important concepts, we must address the social determinants of health. This includes the well-being of the individual, his family as well as the community at large.
It is important to evaluate your health status regularly. If you feel that you are not well, get yourself checked. You should know your current state of health as well as your risk for developing certain types of diseases and disorders. To achieve good health status, we should make lifestyle changes and adopt healthy habits.