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Concepts of health


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Concepts of health

  1. 1. Dearne Valley College Access to Higher Education Diploma (Nursing, Health and Social Care) Health Assignment Essay on Concepts of Health By Susan Deakin DV Number – 3003836
  2. 2. Susan Deakin Word Count – 1,563 According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), ‘Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity (World Health Organisation, 2013)’. There are however different ways of looking at health as the word health can mean different things to different people, for example: Physical health refers to the state of a person’s body and its compositions, development, functions and maintenance. To ensure physical health there are a few ways this can be achieved by eating nutritious food to keep the body and mind energised, never over eat or skip meals. Water is essential for cleansing the body along with keeping fit through exercise which will increase immunity and endurance levels of the body. At least 7-8 uninterrupted sleep is essential and regular checkups with the doctor to help catch an illness in its very early stages. The avoidance of addictive substances, for example, drugs, alcohol and caffeine are essential to physical health (World Health Organisation, 2013). Mental Health refers to a broad array of activities directly or indirectly related to the mental well-being. It is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease. It is the promotion of well-being, the prevention of mental disorders and the treatment and rehabilitation of people affected by mental disorders (World Health Organisation, 2013). Emotional Health is the ability to cope with own feelings and is defined as emotional well-being. Emotions contribute to almost all aspects of life and even setting a course of action. Symptoms of emotional problems such as hopelessness, depression, anxiety and even suicide are not always easily detectable but can lead to dire consequences and even death. An awareness and acceptance of strengths and weaknesses are essential for emotional well-being. An ability to handle stress and seek help is needed. A strong family and friend support is essential for emotional well-being (World Health Organisation, 2013). 2
  3. 3. Susan Deakin Social health is to build and maintain satisfying relationships because human beings are very social animals and it comes naturally. Social acceptance is also connected to emotional well-being. A person needs to enhance their interpersonal communication skills and adopt a positive self-image to be socially accepted and have social heath. There is a need for the acceptance in understanding diverse cultural norms and networks need to be built amongst different kinds of people no matter of their race or religion (World Health Organisation, 2013). Spiritual health is the ability to develop ones spiritual nature to its fullest potential using relaxation techniques, for example, yoga, pilates, tai chi and also religion plays a big factor in spiritual health as it gives the sense of peace and belonging (World Health Organisation, 2013). Sexual Health is ensuring all aspects of the reproductive system are healthy. This includes freedom from disease for example testicular and ovarian cancer as well as sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s) for example Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis and Herpes (World Health Organisation, 2013). Societal health is about the conditions in which a person is born, grow, live, work and age including the health system. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels. The societal determinants of health are mostly responsible for health inequalities, the unfair and avoidable differences in health status seen within and between countries (World Health Organisation, 2013). Environmental Health is the ability to recognise the responsibility for the quality of air and water and to make a positive impact on the quality of the environment, be it in the home, community or planet (World Health Organisation, 2013). The health triangle is an equilateral triangle balancing health and well-being equally on three sides. Each side of the triangle represents a determinant of health, for example, physical, mental and societal health all depend on each other, an example being that people with poor social health often experiences feelings of isolation and loneliness which can lead to depression. Studies show that if a person is lonely they are likely to recover from illness slower than a physically fit person and face an increased risk of high blood pressure and certain cardiac conditions. A physically fit 3
  4. 4. Susan Deakin person on the other hand typically has higher self-esteem which can enhance their ability to have healthy relationships (EHow, 2013). Maslow states that people are motivated by needs and most basic needs are inborn. Maslows hierarchy of needs states that we must satisfy each need in turn, starting with the first which are about survival. When lower order needs of physical and emotional well-being are satisfied on to the higher order needs of personal development. If things that satisfy our lower order needs are swept away, higher order needs are no longer a priority. According to World Health Organisation, more than 450 million people suffer from mental health disorders and that it is an integral part of health. It states that mental health is determined by socio-economic, biological and environmental factors. Persistent social pressures are recognised risks to mental health for individuals and communities. The clearest evidence is associated with poverty and low levels of education. Poor mental health is also associated with rapid social change, stressful work conditions, gender discrimination, social exclusion, unhealthy lifestyles, human rights violation and physical ill-health (World Health Organisation, 2013). According to WHO Health is the state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and is not just being absent from illness (World Health Organisation, 2013). This is a very positive view on health; however, health can be defined negatively and positively and means different things to different people. For example of a negative approach on health would be the holistic concept of health as it considers the whole person rather than just concentrating on the illness they may have. It recognises that every aspect of health can impact on another, for example having a mental illness can impact on a person’s physical health. A more positive definition is where health can be described as the achievement and maintenance of physical fitness and mental stability. When looking at class, The health of a person living in a deprived area is far worse and life expectancy much shorter as they are more likely to suffer long standing illnesses, have less money to buy nutritious food and less likely to seek help. However a person in an area of high social class can afford the best health care and have money to buy nutritious food and therefore have a longer life expectancy. Need to add about how every person view of health will vary dependent on their background and education. When comparing health in other countries with the United Kingdom, there is a huge difference in the care provided and mortality rates. For example, when looking at 4
  5. 5. Susan Deakin Tanzania in Africa, their prevailing health problems are communicable diseases and obstetric complications, which amount to approximately 70% of hospital attendance. Infectious bacterial diseases, such as diarrhoea, pneumonia, tuberculosis and meningitis are the main causes of hospital attendance. This is because of the poor sanitation and lack of clean water. HIV has also become a major threat to health in Tanzania with the number of patients diagnosed with AIDS increasing annually. 10% of adults are HIV positive in some parts of the country. Malaria, which is a parasitic disease, is the leading problem causing death in young children and adults. Industrial and occupational health problems do not receive much attention and rules for an employees protection either don’t exist or are not followed. The traditional African system of health care is holistic and interwoven with religion, which is a way of life, and daily living. But in the present-day Tanzania, traditional medicine operates alongside the modern health care system which will in turn provide the Tanzanian people with better health care, education and longer life expectancy as in the present day mortality rates for a man in Tanzania is 49 years and for a woman it is 51 years which is vastly poorer than in more developed countries. (Department of Nursing and Health Administration, 2013) New Zealand, is a much more developed country than Tanzania. A woman’s life expectancy in New Zealand is 82 and a man’s life expectancy is 78. This is because New Zealand is a much more developed country with a good education, sanitation and health care service. However, as with other developed countries, the main cause of diseases are cancers, cardiovascular disease, strokes, diabetes and mental health with can result in suicide. Having said that New Zealanders have a strong cultural identity, which gives them a strong sense of well-being. They strive themselves on recognising the importance of a shared national identity and a sense of belonging. They value cultural, social and ethnic diversity and recognise New Zealand as a multicultural society (The Social Report, New Zealand, 2010). In the United Kingdom, the life expectancy for a man is 77 and a woman is 81. This is slightly lower than Australia but substantially higher than Tanzania. As with New Zealand the United Kingdoms biggest diseases and health issues are cancers, cardiovascular disease, strokes, diabetes and mental health (NHS Choices, 2013). There are also high levels of sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia and the teenage pregnancy rates are the lowest they have been sine 1969 but are still very high with 35,633 teenage pregnancy’s in 2010. The NHS provides a free service 5
  6. 6. Susan Deakin to the whole of the United Kingdom population which is not available anywhere else in the world (BBC website, 2013). 6
  7. 7. Susan Deakin References BBC Website (2013), ‘Health – Teenage Pregnancy [online]’, Available at: < > [Accessed 20th February 2013] Department of Nursing and Health Administration (2013), ‘Tanzanian Health Care System [online]’, Available at: <> [Accessed – 20th February 2013] EHow (2013), ‘Describe the Three Elements of the Health Triangle [online]’, Available at <> [Accessed - 18th February 2013] NHS Choices (2013), ‘Health News [online]’ Available at: < > [Accessed 20th February 2012] The Social Report, New Zealand (2010), ‘Life Expectancy [on-line]’ Available at <> [Accessed 20th February 2013] World Health Organisation (2013), Environmental Health Definition [online]’, Available at: <> [Accessed – 18th February 2013] 7
  8. 8. Susan Deakin World Health Organisation (2013), ‘Key Concepts [online]’, Available < at: > [Accessed – 18th February 2013] World Health Organisation (2013), ‘Mental Health Definition [online]’, Available at: <> [Accessed – 18th February 2013] World Health Organisation (2013), ‘Sexual Health Definition [online]’, Available at: <> [Accessed – 18th February 2013] World Health Organisation (2013), ‘Social Health Definition [online]’ <> [Accessed – 18th February 2013] World Health Organisation (2013), ‘Spiritual Health Definition [online]’ <> [Accessed – 18th February 2013] World Health Organisation (2013), ‘WHO Definition of Health [online]’ Available at: <> [Accessed - 18th February 2013] 8
  9. 9. Susan Deakin Bibliography Oxford Journals (2013) ‘Physical, Mental and Social Health [online]’ Available at: <> [Accessed - 18th February 2013) Statistics, New Zeland (2013), ‘How long will I live [online], Available at: < > [Accessed – 20th February 2013] Tanzania National Website (2003) ‘Health [online]’ Available at: <> [Accessed – 20th February 2013] 9
  10. 10. Susan Deakin Bibliography Oxford Journals (2013) ‘Physical, Mental and Social Health [online]’ Available at: <> [Accessed - 18th February 2013) Statistics, New Zeland (2013), ‘How long will I live [online], Available at: < > [Accessed – 20th February 2013] Tanzania National Website (2003) ‘Health [online]’ Available at: <> [Accessed – 20th February 2013] 9