Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is a condition that is maintained through optimum control of the physical condition, including the prevention of diseases and the avoidance of disabilities. Different definitions have been employed over the years for various purposes. In general, however, health is the condition of being able to participate in the society and the community in an active and full way. It also refers to a state of good health. The concept of health is one that encompasses a person’s total well being.
A well-balanced life has become increasingly important in today’s society, with the focus on prevention and early detection of disease. The challenge is to maintain health, which is difficult given the increasing number of factors that could affect health. Risk factors for diseases range from hereditary, through diet and activity, to environmental and occupational.
Poor well-being is considered to be a contributing factor to the illness. It is a situation in which there is an environmental risk (for example, poverty) or an occupational or dietary risk (for example, poor food choices). This is then translated into a personal as well as interpersonal experience. The result can be a combination of physical illness, or an accumulation of symptoms such as depression, substance abuse, disability, chronic pain, stress and alcohol or drug use.
One of the limitations of measuring well-being is the existence of a relationship between physical illness and the person’s participation in a community or work setting. Work-related illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, lung disease, and other serious illnesses are generally considered as preventable, although there are instances where people cannot be prevented from coming in contact with certain risk factors (such as the exposure to asbestos). In these instances, good health is considered to be that which maintains the normal functions of the body without any serious complications.
There is also the absence of physical environment, and its effect on the health of individuals. In a healthy physical environment, people can normally anticipate the occurrence of sickness and be able to take appropriate actions. This absence of risk factors enables individuals to become more physically active and lead a normal life. On the other hand, physical environments that are polluted or that are unhealthy can reduce the individual’s capacity to anticipate the effects of diseases and can lead to certain diseases.
Good health is important for survival. In order to achieve good health, the individual should be capable of anticipating the changes in his body that will take place and be able to identify those changes in time, as they occur. Indicators of the presence of a disease or infection in the body should be promptly noted and taken care of. The absence of such indicators may indicate the presence of a life-threatening disease, especially when it is unexpected. The absence of physical activity, or poor diet and hygiene, can also lead to some complications and disease process.