Health is a condition of emotional, physical and mental well-being where infirmity and illness are absent. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, “In the United States, physical health refers to the ability to participate in the community and perform the activities of daily living. Emotional health describes the ability to cope with stress and change.” Mental health refers to the ability to learn and manage the demands of modern life.
With advances in technology and science, there has been growing concern over determinants of ill-health which affects both physical and mental well-being. Determinants refer to those elements that cause an event or circumstance to occur. Some of the determinants that have been identified and discussed include: Genetics, environment, motivation, arousal, cognitive, bodily sensations, bodily processes, coping mechanisms, insomnia, sleep, nutritional status, medical history and behaviour.
The relationship between genetics and health issues is an important area of ongoing research. Research has shown that genetic differences between individuals can contribute to the presence or absence of certain diseases and conditions which may affect both the physical well-being and mental health of an individual. Studies have also shown that genetic differences between individuals may contribute to the variation in levels of stress and depression and to the occurrence of specific types of cancers.
Although well-being is primarily related to one’s physical health, it is important to note that well-being has multiple aspects and influences. It includes emotional well-being, which is influenced by external factors like stressors and environmental changes. Mental health conditions are mainly divided into two categories. They are based on the presence of a disorder or a disease (i.e. schizophrenia) or the absence of a disorder or disease (i.e.
The relationship between physical illness and mental illness is an issue of much debate. Some researchers argue that physical illness contributes significantly to the onset of mental illness. According to this view, people with physical illnesses are more prone to depression and anxiety as they are unable to cope with stress. However, most health experts counter that the correlation is not reliable and that there is no direct relation between the two. They claim that although both physical illness and mental illness may increase the risk of developing depression and other psychological illnesses, the causal relationship is unclear.
Poor lifestyle choices and environmental exposure to toxins also serve as environmental causes of poor health and disability. These lifestyle choices include a sedentary lifestyle, poor eating habits, and exposure to toxic substances such as cigarette smoke, air pollution, and chemicals in food. Poor personal hygiene and drug use also contribute to poor overall health. The relationship between these lifestyle choices and disability is unclear. Researchers have not found consistent evidence that poor dietary habits, low physical activity, and exposure to toxins lead to increased disability. Similarly, the relationship between disability and illness is not clear.
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