What You Need to Know About Health
Author: Filip Steiner
What is health?
The definition of health is the level of functional or metabolic efficiency of a living being, which for us means the general condition of a person’s mind, body and spirit. Also, the maintenance and promotion of health is achieved through different combinations of physical, mental, and social well-being, together sometimes referred to as the ‘health triangle’. It is proven that health is determined by and connected with personal lifestyles, the environment, health care organizations, and health policies.
Maintaining health is one of the key factors in living a long and high quality life. One of the most important things we can do to maintain our health is having a healthy lifestyle.First of all – getting enough exercise via sports activities can really lengthen your life span. At least 60min a day is enough to keep your body working as it should. For example, Dr. Mydin from Malaysia said that “Exercise is an important entity in sports medicine. As a start, we propose to bring in an expert on exercise who will explain how to optimize the human and genetic potential, towards greater endurance and strength.” This indicates how the general public can benefit from sports medicine. Also, getting enough sleep is more important than we think. Our body is under constant stress and like any machine it runs out of energy and needs to refill its batteries. We refill our batteries by sleeping and if we don’t sleep enough it won’t work properly. Many conditions, from exhaustion and stress to skin problems and gaining weight, can all be caused by the lack of sleep (the normal amount of sleep for an adult is considered to be between 8 and 10 hours).
Another thing of great importance is maintaining a healthy diet. There have been a lot of scientific studies on this topic, creating a lot of different diets and different opinions by many nutritionists, but they all agree on this: eating a couple smaller meals daily is much healthier than eating one huge meal a day. Also avoid eating chemically induced and processed food as much as junk food or sweets if you want to remain slim and healthy.
Avoiding smoking and alcohol is very important as well. We are all familiar with the dangers of it and about the diseases they cause. Smoking is a bad habit, because not only you are putting your health at risk, but also the people around you (passive smoking or second-hand smoking). Tobacco is the single greatest cause of preventable death globally. It causes heart attacks, strokes, pulmonary diseases, hypertension and cancer; cigarette smoke contains over 20 carcinogen chemicals and one highly addictive psychoactive substance called nicotine, which is quite hard to de-addict yourself from.
Alcohol is not any less dangerous than smoking. It is an addictive drug and long-term alcohol abuse leads to alcoholism and its side effects: cardiovascular diseases, anemia, cancer, damage to the central and peripheral nervous systems. Basically alcohol abuse can damage nearly every organ in your body. Tobacco and alcohol are bad, but you should avoid especially all illegal drugs in order to live a healthy lifestyle. Not only are they dangerous and addictive, but they also change your way of life, rearrange your values and separate you from your family and friends.
The second component of health maintenance is living in a healthy environment. It consists of different factors like drinking from a clean water source and breathing non-polluted air can really lower the risk of an un-needed infection. Also adequate housing, safe roads and communities can contribute to healthier life, especially for children and young people. Also including natural spaces in urban neighborhoods (like playgrounds or parks in cities) are proven to increase overall health and well-being. Same goes for the effects of living in an inadequate habitat, which will make it hard to maintain your health at its best in general, especially in third world countries.
The third component does not really rely on our choices and actions, but still influences on our health greatly. I am talking about genetics. They are the characteristics we inherit from our parents even before birth and we can’t change them even if we wanted to. For example our basic physical disposition relies only on our genes. Also things like predisposition to certain diseases and health conditions, as well as the habits and behaviors we develop through the lifestyle of our families. There is always the question of true influence between genetic or environmental factors for many of our qualities like the ability to cope with anger or stress, is it defined by the environment we live in or is it written in our genes.
Health and science are connected nowadays more than ever and the role of science in health and medical research is getting bigger and more important every day. To understand what we know about health today, we must look back at the history of health. All human societies have medical beliefs that provide explanations for birth, death, and disease. Throughout history, illness has been attributed to witchcraft, demons or the will of the gods. These ideas still retain some power, with faith healing and shrines still used in some places, although the rise of scientific medicine over the past millennium has altered or replaced mysticism in most cases.
The first known surgery was performed in ancient Egypt around 2700BC. The Edwin Smith Papyrus was written there around 1600BC, and it is regarded as a textbook that details the examination, diagnosis and treatment of several medical cases. Also the art ofmummification required a lot of knowledge about the human body. An old Babylonian text called theDiagnostic Handbook goes even further than the Edwin Smith Papyrus, by introducing prescriptions with bandages, creams and pills. Chinese medicine is much influenced by their philosophy, as they believed that health is the expression of the natural order of the universe, although it may be changed through research and free will. The first known medical school opened in ancient Greecearound 700BC. Greek temples dedicated to the healer-god Asclepius functioned as centers of medical advice, prognosis, and healing. An important figure that shaped the future of medical evolution was the greek doctor Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine and the Hippocratic oath.
Speaking about modern medicine, it really began with the invention of the microscope. With its invention much much more could be explained about diseases, infections, human anatomy and life itself.
Here are some interesting links related to health:
The importance of physical fitness:http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v5/newsfeatures.php?id=629117
Mind-body medicine courses:http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/498847
Biosynthetic skin substitutes:http://www.modernmedicine.com/modernmedicine/Modern+Medicine+Now/Biosynthetic-skin-substitutes-provide-rapid-healin/ArticleStandard/Article/detail/749260?contextCategoryId=40131
Drugs and heart attack prevention:http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9R0L8QG0.htm
Talented medicine student:http://www.saipantribune.com/newsstory.aspx?cat=13&newsID=114436
Students and smoking:http://www.doctorslounge.com/index.php/news/hd/24787
Intelligent kids and drugs:http://psychcentral.com/news/2011/11/23/high-childhood-iq-tied-to-adult-illicit-drug-use/31808.html
Prescription drug abuse:http://peninsulaclarion.com/news/2011-11-22/prescription-drug-abuse-rising#.Ts0PIWPz2so
The dangers of energy drinks:http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/alcohol-abuse/news/20111121/energy-drinks-send-thousands-to-the-er-each-year
Intelligent kids and drugs 2:http://children.webmd.com/news/20111114/high-iq-in-childhood-may-predict-later-drug-use
Personally I chose the topic of health because I couldn’t say for myself that I live a healthy lifestyle. I am a very lazy person that doesn’t get much or any exercise. I spend an average of 10 hours daily in front of my computer, either working or playing videogames. I am a smoker and occasionally I like to drink beer with my friends. I also like fast food and junk food but I try to avoid it as much as possible. So I can say that I chose health because I am not satisfied with my own health and I want to change it. To change it, I first have to learn about it. One must know one’s enemy if they want to defeat it :)