According to the World Health Organization, “health is a condition of full physical, mental and emotional well-being with no limitations.” Different definitions have been employed over the years for various purposes. One definition, from the Mayo Clinic, is, “the absence of all disorders, diseases, and conditions that interfere with your ability to function normally.” Another, from the American Psychiatric Association, says, “A healthy body is a product of a healthy mind.” Still another, from the American Heart Association says, “life style, not health, is the key to lasting good health.”
There are many facets to health and well-being. Some of the most common components of it are physical and mental aspects. Proper nutrition, exercise, and rest contribute to good health, as do attitudes and behaviors related to stress, well-being, and self-care. Illness, on the other hand, can significantly impact a person’s well-being, but it also has an impact on the quality of life that a person enjoys. Ill health impacts one’s ability to function properly in work, family life, and one’s leisure time as well as one’s finances, personal relationships, and interactions with friends and the community.
The quality of life that people enjoy can be affected by ill health in several ways. It can decrease self-esteem, prevent participation in sports and physical activities, reduce work attendance and productivity, affect relationship satisfaction, reduce one’s sense of well being, reduce the achievement gap between genders, increase the likelihood of divorce and other marital problems, reduce life expectancy, and reduce academic performance. Ill health can have an effect on a person’s health care, insurance, and other resources. It can even lead to increased premiums and deductibles on one’s insurance policy. This is especially true of individuals who are more prone to illnesses or diseases.
People living with HEAL disabilities are at risk for many of the same diseases and health conditions as other healthier individuals. However, they experience much higher rates of disability due to their inability to perform the fundamental tasks required of a healthy lifestyle. They experience greater health care costs, higher health insurance premiums, and limited access to necessary medical professionals. As a result, many people with disabilities live with a slower rate of life expectancy than the average person. This can have a negative impact on society, because health services are one of the driving forces behind the development of economies and societies. The longer a person lives, the more that society will invest in him or her to ensure that he or she has optimal health.
A person’s HEAL status can be influenced by a number of determinants. These determinants can be social, biological, and environmental. Determining a person’s HEAL status is based on the answers to four broad questions: physical environment, social environment, biological environment, and lifestyle choices. In addition to being assigned a numerical value reflecting his or her level of impairment, the answers to these questions can also be used to describe a person’s perception of his or her level of “alive “ness.
Many people with HEAL problems report that they have had to cope with a variety of stressors and pathogens since coming to live with their disabilities. Living with a disability often brings additional stress to a person’s life that was not present prior to coming to the assistance of others. This added stress can have a significant impact on a person’s ability to adapt to health conditions that he or she may have been able to cope with in previous healthier years. While an individual’s ability to recover from disabilities is largely affected by his or her early life experiences, his or her ability to continue this recovery after a certain point (the “thermal limit”) may be impaired.