Health, according to the World Health Organization, is “the condition of being fit and healthy, without limitations”. A number of definitions have also been applied to the term over the years. While these various definitions remain relatively constant, the ways in which people actually view and perceive health can vary widely. For the purposes of this article, health is broadly defined as the ability to cope with or prevent diseases or health disorders.
The word healthy refers not to a state of full well-being but to the absence of sickness, disease, death and infirmity. Good health is not equivalent to healthy bodies, although they are often associated with good health. Health is a mental state, and therefore it follows that the mental state must be healthy as well. When a person is healthy mentally and physically, their physical health is also improving and becoming better. This improvement in the physical health allows the person to live longer and more productive lives, and to enjoy good health throughout life.
The definition of healthy can vary among different cultures. In the United States, healthy is often thought of as being free from disease. Although this is the best definition, another way to think of it is the absence of terminal illness or serious disability. Healthy can also be thought of as having the capacity to overcome illness, disease, or disability. Many diseases, such as cancer, are not inevitable and can be successfully treated if the person who has the disease is healthy. The same is true of most mental illnesses, which sometimes can be successfully treated if the person is healthy.
Health has many emotional components, as well. People who are healthy emotionally and physically are generally happier and live longer than those who are unhealthy. This may seem counter intuitive, as the idea of poor mental health may lead one to believe that the opposite is true, but there are many connections between physical and emotional health and good health and longevity. Emotional well-being is related to levels of stress hormones and this directly impacts health and wellness.
The definition of healthy has changed over time, as medical science has developed new ways to approach the issue. New definitions recognize a range of conditions that are considered to be chronic conditions. These include conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. Conditions considered to be a separate category of “pervasive” diseases have become increasing common in recent years, including obesity, osteoporosis, and some forms of cancers. These conditions are now included in the definition of “pervasive” because the advent of new technologies such as magnetic resonance imaging has made it possible for doctors to diagnose and treat many conditions that were previously difficult to diagnose.
The third definition of health is the absence of disease, a quality of life that is balanced and appropriate for the age and health of the individual. This is a broad definition and includes a range of things from health and happiness, to physical health, to functioning capabilities and life course. In other words, the quality of life encompasses all the aspects of an individual’s existence, but it is the presence of health and function that truly defines success. This therefore makes it easier to determine what a person should be called healthy. It is important to remember that the definition of health does not begin and end with the presence of a disease diagnosis and does not exclude the impact of traumatic life events and the likelihood of future disease diagnosis and treatment.