To be or not to be … HEALTHY

For humans to be in good health, or “healthy”, usually means the general condition of a person’s mind and body free from illness, injury or pain.
Everyone wants to be healthy and society explores that. All around us everything actually claims to be a healthy “something” for us humans. It seems that using the adjective “healthy” in close connection with whatever you are trying to sell is the best publicity slogan to sell almost anything you can imagine.
The adjective “healthy” is used in an impressive amount of different meanings.
It is an interesting exercise to look it up in a dictionary. One can find basic lines like:
▪ Possessing or enjoying good health or a sound and vigorous mind.
▪ Conducive to good health.
▪ Pertaining to or characteristic of good health.
▪ Prosperous (business).
▪ Fairly large or appropriate amount.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) defined health in its broader sense in 1946 as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.
According to WHO, the social and economic environment, the physical environment and the person’s individual characteristics and behaviour are the main determinants of health. It is recognised that the context in which an individual lives is of major importance for his/her health status and quality of life.
Health is maintained and improved not only through the advancement and application of the health-related sciences, but also through the efforts and intelligent lifestyle choices of the individual and the society in which he lives.
To be healthy, thus maintaining good health, is an ongoing process shaped by both the evolution of healthcare knowledge and practices, as well as strategic and organised personal interventions for staying healthy.
To be or not to be healthy is a matter of choice, up to a certain level.
Although individual decisions for a personalised lifestyle, over which the individual has control, are always of strong relevance, there are factors over which the individual has little or no control, like the environmental factors, including all matters related to health that are external to the human body or all biomedical factors which are physical, and mental aspects of health that develop within the human body, influenced by genetic inherited traits.
Healthy living, healthy attitude, healthy eating, healthy exercising, healthy thinking, healthy shopping, healthy holidays, healthy, healthy, healthy … it is fashionable, it is cool, it is mandatory to claim to be living, and to do all that you do in life, in a healthy way.
Good. But please be careful. To be healthy is a very relevant matter; it needs to be taken seriously as it is not a momentary decision, taken every now and then in a non-continuous and non-rational way.
To be healthy and keep the healthiest you can, in spite of the not easily controllable environmental factors and the even more difficult-to-surpass genetic factors, is a big challenge, as in present times of humankind evolution it requires an enormous discipline.
Discipline, self control, willpower, looking almost like superman powers… when getting home exhausted, hungry, with brain cells that feel like they lost all the capacity to be rational and just do not want to know about the future.
Finding the appropriate motivation to start doing it as it should be will be followed by the pleasure of the achievement that will make the continuity easy.
Evidence shows that some of the leading causes of death in the World, such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, some lung diseases, injuries and HIV/AIDS often can be prevented by improving personal health habits.
As we all have heard, to the point of not even listening any more, eating right, staying physically active and not smoking are good habits that can help you to stay healthy. A few examples only, as there is a world of many other things that count, some of them that might look like irrelevant details, but all of them matter.
By the way, do not forget you need your own Family Doctor who is probably your best partner to achieve the most important victory of life: to be healthy. Everything else depends on this.
It is sometimes tough to navigate the healthcare system. It might look hard to find a compatible primary provider. Insurance choices are confusing. Hospitals are intimidating. Being sick is scary. Sometimes health prevention and monitoring are also scary as people are afraid of what they might find. It is undoubtedly better to find it sooner than later. When it comes to your health, you are your own best advocate, so you need to take charge.
It is estimated that 90% of health outcomes are determined by factors over which healthcare providers have little or no control, in other words it is about what you eat and how you deal with stress. It is about choosing to be physically active. It is about how to prevent illness before it happens, because no one wants to spend a life in and out of hospital.
You can do whatever you prefer; it is your decision, your health, your life. Your consequences as well …
Best healthy wishes,
Dr. Maria Alice
By Dr Maria Alice
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Dr Maria Alice is a consultant in General and Family Medicine. General Manager/Medical Director – Luzdoc International Medical Service. Medical Director – Grupo Hospital Particular do Algarve