Health is a condition of mental, physical and social well being where infirmity and illness are absent. The concept of health has been evolved from the observation that all living things need an appropriate environment for their growth and survival. Environment plays a vital role in the well being of an individual and there is no denying that the quality of our environment has a direct bearing on the quality of our health. A healthy environment will support life and help people to adapt to new circumstances. It also has a positive impact on our emotional well being and improves our moods and assists us in reducing stress levels. It helps us become more determined, patient and disciplined and gives us the strength to fight against the many challenges that pose a threat to our health.
A healthy environment is the sum total of all the factors that affect an individual’s overall health. It includes the person’s general lifestyle, personal values, social environment, work and housing and medical history. When these factors are considered together, one can come up with an ideal environment that provides optimal opportunities for health. However, healthcare delivery is the key to achieving this goal and it varies according to the type of healthcare system you have in place.
The first step towards creating a healthy environment is to understand what causes ill health. Illness is caused by a combination of genetic, environmental and physiological factors. These factors may include exposure to toxins, stress, poor nutrition, underweight or obese body mass, immune deficiency, insomnia, lack of exercise, depression, lack of mental stimulation, poor sleep and poor diet. All these factors work together and cause illness. Some illnesses are chronic and progressive, thus posing a significant challenge for the treatment and prevention of health care practices. These include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, asthma, kidney diseases, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, viral diseases and cancer.
As mentioned earlier, environmental factors are very powerful when it comes to making people ill. They affect both present and future by causing the development of different types of illness. Pollution is one such environmental factor. It causes pollution due to the chemical and heavy metals that are released into the atmosphere. These elements cause an array of health conditions.
Another major cause of ill health is ageing. As people age, they become less active and may develop various types of disease. In order to reduce healthcare costs and create better public health, it is important to prevent and treat illnesses before they develop into something serious. There are several ways in which public health can be achieved. One way is through prevention where all steps are taken to avoid disease are taken as preventive measures. This includes proper diagnosis and treatment of any existing condition and providing regular health screenings for children, elderly and those at risk.
Another way is to ensure that everyone is able to access healthcare services. In other words, ensure universal health coverage and make sure that the poor have access to health care. Prevention can only be achieved if steps are taken to eliminate existing illnesses. This means that factors like poverty, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status and other factors may affect how people get sick and develop a condition. However, it is possible to design systems and policies that help in reducing health disparities.