Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is a state of full physical, mental and emotional well-being with no limitations. Various definitions have been utilized over the years for different medical purposes. For the purpose of this article we will focus on general health.
People need good health in order to live healthy lives, enjoy productive and meaningful lives and perform tasks with minimal effort. Healthy physical health encompasses aspects related to being alert and balanced, being able to work productively and managing the stress and anxiety that many people deal with in their every day lives. Mental health refers to your attitude toward life, the capacity to enjoy life and meet basic needs and to live well with moderate challenges such as grief, depression, anxiety and other emotional disorders.
As previously mentioned good health would be inclusive of the ability to perform active and healthy lives in an independent manner. Healthy habits and behaviors also contribute to a healthy lifestyle. These include a balanced diet and sufficient exercise. The third definition of health would be having adequate knowledge about the disease process and preventing the spread of the illness. Knowledge could include understanding the causes and prevention of heart disease, cancer, HIV, diabetes, dental problems and other chronic illnesses.
In looking at the definition of good health we can also look at the definition of disease. Disease is something that can cause serious physical harm or death to a person and is caused by a virus, bacteria, parasite or an organism. The word “disease” brings up an obvious point. Without disease what would there be to be healthy living? It would seem that if everyone could have a disease then the world would be a very boring place. Fortunately we do have many tools to prevent and cure disease which includes drugs, exercise, good nutrition and other healthy practices.
When looking at prevention of heart disease it is important to realize that it is possible to live a long and healthy life even with a sickly heart. Having adequate sleep, avoiding alcohol, tobacco and working out are all factors that have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. Smoking and drinking should be avoided completely. Being physically active is important and exercising regularly can help maintain good general health and strengthen the heart. Diet and nutrition are keys to overall health but it is important to make sure that you have enough sleep, plenty of exercise and eating only what is necessary.
The final definition of disease is one that should not be used too much, or even chosen too carefully. Healthy living is the best definition because it focuses on what it is to live well. Healthy living is more than simply avoiding risk factors and choosing to live an active life. Healthy living is the total opposite of the definition above where you should avoid risk factors and live an inactive and sedentary life. Healthy living is actually a combination of the first two definitions which is to avoid exposure to disease causing agents and the second definition which is to live an active and healthy life. Living healthy is truly the ultimate goal.