Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is a condition characterized by a body condition that diminishes with age. A variety of other definitions have also been used over the years for various reasons. The dictionary definition of the condition is, “a healthy body capable of sustained development and growth.” By contrast, the medical definition is, “health is an essential condition of the body in its processes and relations with the environment.” Although some believe that health is a state of being free from disease or injury, others hold that health is the absence of sickness, the restoration of health, and the maintenance of the normal functions of the body without any damage to the internal structure. It may also be interpreted to mean the absence of suffering, pain, disfigurement, or other impairment affecting the normal functioning of the body.
One of the challenges that health care delivery faces today is developing an accurate diagnosis and prognosis of a patient’s health status. Diagnosis is a very crucial part of health care because it determines the most effective treatment that can be administered. In addition, diagnosis determines the extent of the patient’s disability and the extent to which he can engage in the various activities of life. By the same token, a correct diagnosis can also help to define the patient’s capacity to receive or provide services, determine his or her rights and responsibilities, and determine the extent of his or her limitations. For this reason, accurate diagnosis is a prerequisite for proper implementation of health systems.
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), a definition of health system should be based on two major components. One of these two components should be public health, which is a system that focuses on preventing the occurrence and spread of diseases, disability, and risk factors that can contribute to poor health. Another component is quality improvement, which focuses on ensuring that the patient experiences the best possible treatment and has access to, and utilizes, services and resources that improve his or her health. The definition further states that the two definitions should be integrated with each other to form the most comprehensive system of standards for health systems.
The second component of the standard definition is risk factor. Risk factors refer to any characteristics or factors that can increase the likelihood of an individual developing a particular disease or disability. Common risk factors are age, gender, race, geography, and genetic characteristics. They can also be social or environmental conditions that can be traced to the cause of a disease. These, however, fall under the category of “risk factors” rather than “deficiencies.”
The third definition of good health is independent life. It refers to a person’s ability to lead an active and healthy life even when disease has been diagnosed. Good health would also require the absence of major disabilities, such as blindness, deafness, paralysis, and extensive medical care, except in the case of life-endangering diseases. A person’s independence would depend on his/her personal values, social setting, and personal attitudes about health.
The fourth component of the definition of wellness is optimal state of health. This refers to the condition in which diseases are not manifested or are properly managed. Optimal state of wellness is also called “the balanced state.” This emphasizes the idea that the balanced condition requires not only prevention but also the maintenance of optimal state of health.