Understanding the Well Being of Americans

Health is a condition of mental, physical and emotional well-being where infirmity and disease are absent. Being ill makes us feel bad, depressed and stressed out. It can also interfere with our ability to do the things we love to do. The feeling of anxiety can make it difficult for us to be creative or have a clear thought process. In short, ill health is not a pleasant state of being.

There are many ways to measure general health, some more relevant to women than to men. An assessment of the general health using the composite scores for physical health, mental health, emotional health and their relationship (partly financial, partly social) is known as the HDL (Hazard Rating Likert scale for adults) and the EQ-i (EQ-I score index). This composite rating system gives a quick indication of the levels of illness or decline in the individual’s quality of life.

There is growing interest in the causes of ill health and how to cure or manage it. One of the areas of great interest in health science is chronic physical conditions, the disabling effects of long-term untreated physical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, cancer and arthritis, which affect large numbers of people. These illnesses are the most common reason for absence from work. In spite of the advances made in preventive medicine and inpatient care, the numbers of deaths from cardiovascular diseases, for example, remain alarmingly high.

There is mounting evidence that there is a genetic component to unhealthy physical profiles and that this accounts for a major segment of morbidity and mortality. A large proportion of chronic conditions has a genetic factor and that explains why people of similar profiles tend to experience similar health status characteristics, despite being in different environments. This has provided an impetus for efforts aimed at identifying and then overcoming the genetic factors that determine ill-health. Much progress has been made in genetic testing and the consequent identification of genetic determinants. For example, in the US, tests for the B gene that are associated with type 2 diabetes have been developed and are now available.

The relationship between emotional and mental illness and the well-being or illness and well-being is a more complex issue. Emotional disorders include post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety, while mental illness covers a whole spectrum of mental health problems including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, psychosis, post-traumatic stress disorder and eating disorders. The latter categories are arguably the most common cause of morbidity and mortality across the globe. Many researchers now consider mental illness as a cause of both health and disability.

Lifestyle is a huge part of determining your health status. People living in the United States live an unhealthy lifestyle, with tobacco consumption, fat intake, obesity and sedentary lifestyles are some of the contributing factors. Obesity accounts for nearly all the increased burden associated with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. As a result, the prevalence of many chronic non-communicable diseases such as cancer and heart disease is on the rise. As a consequence of these conditions, it has become imperative that everybody lives a healthy life, so this new awareness about proper health has brought along with it a variety of useful changes to make us all more active and fit.

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