What is health?
Health is traditionally defined as the absence of disease or infirmity. However, the WHO definition significantly expands this concept: Health – a “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Health is a valuable resource that enables people to lead personally, socially and economically productive life, giving them the freedom to work, to learn and actively participate in family life and society.
Determinants of health
The state of human health affects a wide range of personal, economic, social and environmental factors. These factors, usually called health determinants are:
- Genetic factors: heredity affect life expectancy, health status and the likelihood of developing certain diseases.
- Individual behavior and lifestyle, diet, activity, smoking, alcohol consumption and the ability to deal with stress – all this affects the health.
- Income and social status: the greater the gap between the rich and the poor, the more pronounced differences in health status.
- Employment and working conditions:, employed people have a higher level of health, especially those who have more control over the observance of the working conditions.
- Education: a low level of education correlates with low levels of health, higher stress and lower self-confidence.
- Network of social support: more support from family, friends and the community is correlated with a higher level of health.
- Culture: traditions, customs and beliefs of the family and the community affect health.
- Gender: men and women suffer from different types of diseases at different ages.
- Natural environment: safe water, clean air, healthy working conditions, safe home, place of residence and roads – all this contributes to the improvement of health.
- Health care: access to and use of services impact on health.
Some of these factors can be controlled, for example, or that a person can choose healthy or unhealthy behavior. However, other factors, such as genetic, can not be controlled.
Awareness on health and health care
Awareness (knowledge, expertise) on the health and health care reflects the cognitive and social skills which determine the motivation and ability of individuals to access information, understand and use it in a way that is conducive to the development and maintenance of good health. Awareness on health and health care means achieving a certain level of knowledge, personal skills and confidence to take action to improve personal health and wellness at the community level by changing personal lifestyles and living conditions. Thus, awareness, awareness on health and health care ( “Health literacy”) means more than a simple skill that allows you to read the summary, brochure, etc. and be able to negotiate or agree on something. Health literacy (awareness) is crucial for the provision or acquisition of real possibilities, authority, powers. Health literacy is itself dependent upon more general levels of literacy, awareness and competence. Poor awareness may directly affect health by limiting the opportunity for personal, social and cultural development, as well as hindering the development or otherwise of literacy, awareness of health and health care.
Healthy Lifestyle (lifestyles conducive to health)
Healthy lifestyle – image of a person’s life, aimed at disease prevention and health promotion. Lifestyle is a way of living based on identifiable patterns of behavior and characteristics, determined by the interaction between personal characteristics of human social interaction and socio-economic and environmental living conditions. These patterns of behavior are continually interpreted and tested in various situations and are not socially so once and for all predetermined, fixed, and are subject to change. Individual attitudes and lifestyles, characterized by identifiable patterns of behavior, can have a profound impact on an individual’s health, as well as on the health of others. If health is to be improved, thereby giving people the opportunity to change their life patterns and lifestyle, the activities should be aimed not only at individuals, but also on the social situation and living conditions which interact to “create” and maintain these features and styles behavior. However, there is no “optimal” lifestyle, which can be prescribed for all people who do not have, and it is important to recognize. Culture, income level and income, family structure, age, physical ability and possibilities, home and work / work environment will make certain ways and conditions of living more attractive, accessible and “implemented” and appropriate, consistent. A healthy lifestyle – a complex of measures aimed at the preservation of health; promotion of healthy lifestyles; motivate citizens to personal responsibility for their health and the health of their children;develop individual approaches to promote healthy lifestyles, including children; combating the risk factors for diseases; education and public awareness about the dangers of tobacco use and alcohol abuse; prevention of socially significant diseases, including among children; prolongation of the active life.
Prevention – a set of preventive measures aimed at preserving and strengthening health. Primary prevention – a complex of medical and non-medical interventions aimed at the prevention ie deviations in health and prevention of diseases that are common to the entire population and specific (regional, social, age, professional and other) groups and individuals. Primary prevention of diseases includes various components.
- Measures to reduce the impact of harmful factors on the human body (the improvement of air quality, drinking water, structure and quality of food, conditions of work, living and leisure, the level of psychosocial stress and other factors affecting the quality of life), an environmental and sanitation screening .
- Formation of a paradigm of a healthy lifestyle through the creation of a permanent system of advocacy aimed at increasing public awareness about the impact of negative factors on the health and reduce their impact; sanitation and hygiene education.
- Measures to prevent physical and mental illness and injuries (including those due to professional), accidents, disability and mortality from external causes, road traffic injuries, and others.
- Identifying during preventive medical examinations, health hazards, including behavioral, take measures to eliminate them.
- Implementation of immunization (vaccination) of various population groups.
- Improvement of individuals and groups who are under the influence of adverse health factors, involving the use of medical and non-medical. Preventive measures should focus not only on any one risk factor, and total risk defined by the existing set of factors.
Secondary prevention – a set of medical, social, sanitary, psychological and other measures aimed at early detection and prevention of exacerbations and complications of diseases, as well as a set of measures for the prevention of disability, including disability and premature mortality. Secondary prevention includes:
- holding dispensary medical examinations to detect the disease and the factors influencing them for;
- targeted hygiene education (training) of the patients and their families the knowledge and skills associated with a particular disease or group of diseases;
- conduct of health and medical measures to eliminate negative health factors, the implementation of follow-up.
The aim of health promotion is to strengthen the control over health and its determinants factors. The wide range of available strategies and interventions aimed at developing the skills of people and changing social, economic and environmental conditions in order to reduce their impact on health.
- Elevated blood pressure – systolic blood pressure equal to or higher than 140 mm Hg, diastolic blood pressure equal to or greater than 90 mm Hg or holding antihypertensive therapy;
- Dyslipidemia – abnormality of one or more parameters of lipid metabolism (total cholesterol over 5 mmol / L, HDL cholesterol in women less than 1.0 mmol / l, men less than 1.2 mmol / l, LDL-cholesterol more than 3 mmol / l triglycerides more than 1.7 mmol / l) or holding hypolipidemic therapy;
- Elevated blood glucose levels – the level of fasting plasma glucose more than 6.1 mmol
- Tobacco smoking – daily smoking of one cigarette or more;
- Poor nutrition – excessive food intake, fat, carbohydrates, salt intake more than 5 grams per day (frequent consumption of pickles, canned food, sausages), inadequate fruit and vegetable intake (less than 400 grams, or less than 4 – 6 servings day);
- Overweight – BMI 25 – 29.9 kg / m2, obesity – body mass index over 30 kg / m2;
- Low physical activity – walking at a moderate or brisk pace at least 30 minutes a day.
- Alcohol abuse – Permissible, relatively safe daily dose of alcohol for women is 16 grams of ethyl alcohol, which roughly corresponds to 50 ml of vodka, 100 ml of fortified wine, 200 ml of dry wine, 330 ml of beer, and for men – 24 g of ethyl alcohol, which is about It corresponds to 75 ml of vodka, 150 ml of fortified wine, 300 ml of dry wine, 500 ml of beer.
It should be borne in mind that the majority of risk factors are interrelated and simultaneous action reinforce each other, thereby greatly increasing the risk of developing the disease.