Health is a condition of physical, emotional and social well being in which infirmity and disease are absent. According to the United Nations, “A society that does not have the means to ensure its basic needs and is not aware of its full potential is one with declining health and a decreasing sense of its historical importance.” The primary aim of health is to ensure the survival of the individual and his or her family.
This article aims at clarifying the meaning of health and its related concepts. As the population ages, there is an increasing concern on the quality of life and the definition of good health. Most commonly, health promotion is considered as the management of diseases and disability, while health education is the education about how to live a healthy life. In everyday life, the major aspects of health promotion are prevention of diseases, early detection of disease, maintenance of health, and correction of disease, and promotion of health. The following are the different definitions and aspects of health.
Overall health refers to a person’s ability to undertake everyday activities and survive without limitation. It is essential for overall well-being. It is associated with physical and mental health but also incorporates other factors such as the ability to work, education, economic status, social support, transportation, and home care as well. Depression is included in the major component of the concept of overall health, as this affects the capacity to perform even physically demanding tasks and is reflected in the decreased functioning, both in home and at work. Mental health is a combination of all the components of the mental health.
The term communicable diseases refers to any infections or diseases that can be transmitted through touch, breath, or mouth. These include bacterial and viral infections, common colds, flu, leptospirosis, syphilis, and cholera. A person who has communicable diseases can spread these diseases to others by simple contact. A contagious disease can cause a greater harm than an infectious disease if not treated early and can lead to a more serious condition and disability if not treated properly.
Occupational health refers to the safe handling of hazardous substances and equipment in work places. This comprises all those practices related to the use of the environment by workers including prevention of exposure to hazardous substances and proper ventilation of hazardous materials. These practices can prevent illnesses and diseases caused by these environmental issues by reducing the risks of workers to these diseases. However, the effects of these occupational health problems on employees may still be unknown. Studies have shown that in some cases, workers have been found to have increased risk of developing several kinds of diseases including breast cancer and colon cancer.
Health definition and classifications are important to manage multiple diseases and their associated risks. For public health officials it is important to consider the definition and classifications for health risks from the perspective of preventing the occurrence of the next major health problem and to understand how to control and improve the current health conditions. In the United States, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have defined various classifications depending on the nature of the job. These classifications include general health, physical therapy, dental health, patient care and safety, chemistry and biology, electrical safety and radiation protection, and manual labor. These classifications have been used for decades to set the standards for workers’ health.