Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is ‘a state of full physical, emotional and social well being and not just the absence of sickness and disease’. Over the years, a variety of definitions have also been used for that purpose. According to some, health is having the ability to live and enjoy life free from disease, while other think that health is having a normal and adequate number of physical possessions and being in good psychological and social relationships. Health is important because it determines the course of one’s life and future and also ensures that the material world in which we live remains alive and well. It also contributes significantly towards economic well being and assists in achieving optimum levels of education, employment and leisure.
There are various determinants of health. An important determinant is the quality of life. The quality of life includes general health and an individual’s personal well being. Another significant factor is environmental factors. These include the physical environment such as the space available to an individual and the air pollution (such as exposure to visible and ultraviolet radiation) in the environment. The determinants of health promotion and disease prevention all play a role in the quality of life.
A wide variety of factors account for differences in people’s health conditions. These include hereditary and environmental factors. Some diseases also develop in individuals after their arrival in the community. They can be caused by bacteria, viruses and other organisms that are either natural or synthetic. These factors include age, gender, cause of illness, place of birth, occupation, social class and culture.
The main reasons for the spread of communicable diseases are poor general health condition, unsafe environments, unsafe food, lack of exercise, poverty, social and personal hygiene, unhygienic living conditions and the lack of education. The major types of communicable diseases are Hepatitis B and C, Hepatitis, Lymphoma, HIV and AIDS. Most of these illnesses are acquired through different means. Hepatitis B and C are caused by infection with hepatitis B virus and HIV is caused by infection with human immunodeficiency virus. communicable diseases include urinary tract infections, breast cancer, genital herpes, genital warts and transmission of transmittable diseases.
A large proportion of the world’s population suffers from chronic conditions. These are conditions for which the treatment is ongoing and may not respond to medical interventions over a long period of time. Some of the common chronic conditions are arthritis, asthma, cardiac conditions, kidney conditions, vision problems, kidney failures, heart disease, stroke, eczema, bone conditions, gastrointestinal disorders and asthma. Causes of some of these conditions include stress, excessive alcohol intake, bad eating habits and lack of exercise.
Health is defined as the proper functioning of the body system in its various functions and hence also the maintenance of good health. Health has become an essential part of the public policy making process and the whole of the economical development sector. It encompasses all the aspects of life from birth to death. It is interrelated with quality of life, prosperity, well-being, social welfare, public health, economic growth and individual’s security. Health science seeks to bring about improvements in the quality of life by preventing, reducing and controlling diseases and maintaining the well being of the society at large.