“The greatest gift you can give your family and the world is a healthy you”
Each year on 7th of April, The World Health Organisation sponsors World Health Day to draw an attention towards the importance of global health. Every year many countries celebrate this day with a great enthusiasm, based on the theme decided by World Health Organisation, various programmes, health camps, blood donation camps, poster making competitions, quizzes, skits etc. are organised worldwide.
When it comes to health, it is very important for all of us to maintain a good health to prolong our respective lives. Also, taking care of our loved ones’ is also an important aspect. The World Health Day is acknowledged by various Non- governmental and Governmental organisations to increase awareness about health and its related issues to the common man.
So, what is health?
The state of physical, mental, social, spiritual and emotional well- being is termed as health. World Health Organisation defines health into three dimensions: physical, mental and social. Disruption in any of the physical, mental or social well- being leads to a disease, thus making the person ‘unhealthy’.
Our health can be affected by various factors, some of them being infections, genetic disorders (when the genes or the unit of inheritance gets affected), our life styles etc. In order to keep ourselves healthy, we must maintain a healthy lifestyle as well- as a healthy mind set first.
Yes, even healthy thinking is important. Negative thoughts and a negative mind set disrupts your overall health of your body, even if you are maintaining a very healthy lifestyle, you are susceptible to mental diseases over all making you unhealthy. For our physical health we should have a balanced diet, should maintain hygiene (both personal and communal), get immunised at regular intervals, exercise regularly and many more.
So, what is a disease? The Oxford English Dictionary defines disease as ‘a condition of the body or some part of organ of the body in which its functions are disturbed’. Also, a disease can be defined as the malfunctioning of the body or a specific part of the body with certain specific symptoms.
Symptoms are the evidences of the presence of a disease. The various disease causing agents such are bacteria, fungi, protozoans, viruses. Such biological disease causing agents are called as pathogens. There are also genetic causes of a disease such as genetic mutations.
Physical agents such as heat, humidity, radiation, electricity can also contribute or cause a disease. There are chemical agents which, when enter the body cause an infection or a disease. Certain enzymes, hormones, urea, allergens (spores), pollutants (fumes, gases) fall under this category.
There are also some diseases for which the causative agents are not fully known. Such diseases are hypertension, peptic ulcers etc.
Diseases can be either Congenital or Acquired. A congenital disease is a disease that is present since birth caused due to genetic mutations, chromatic aberrations and certain environmental factors. Haemophilia, Night blindness, Klinefelter’s syndrome, cleft palate etc. are some of examples of congenital diseases.
Another category of diseases are Acquired diseases which develop after birth. They are further divided into Communicable and Non- communicable diseases. Communicable diseases, also known as infectious diseases are caused by pathogens and can spread from one person to other.
Examples of communicable diseases are Common cold, HIV AIDS, Malaria, Ring worm and many more. On the other hand, non- communicable diseases are those diseases which remain confined to the person who develops it and do not spread to others.
Non- communicable diseases can be degenerative (organic) diseases caused by malfunctioning of some important organs, e.g., heart diseases, epilepsy; Deficiency diseases caused due to the deficiency of nutrients, minerals or vitamins, e.g., scurvy caused by the deficiency of vitamin C; Cancer caused due to uncontrolled growth of cells in the body, e.g., breast cancer, brain tumour; Allergies caused to hyper sensitivity of the body against a foreign substance, e.g., Hay fever; Diseases due to hyper secretion or hypo secretion of a particular hormone, e.g., Diabetes mellitus is caused due to hypo secretion of insulin, goitre is caused due to deficiency of thyroxine hormone.
The various examples of diseases caused by pathogens are
- Bacterial diseases: Anthrax, Diarrhoea, Cholera, Pneumonia, Typhoid, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Whooping cough, plague, tuberculosis, leprosy syphilis, gonorrhoea.
- Viral diseases: HIV AIDS, Influenza (Flu), Chicken pox, rabies, dengue, hepatitis, measles, small pox, polio.
- Fungal diseases: Ring worm, athlete’s foot.
- Helminth diseases: Taeniasis, Ascariasis, Elephantiasis, Hookworm disease.
- Protozoan diseases: Malaria, Amoebic dysentery.
Pathogens cause disease in two ways: by damaging the tissues and secreting toxins (endotoxins and exotoxins).
Every day we come across millions of disease causing agents but we don’t get infected by the particular disease every day. Reason is that our body has the ability to fight against the disease causing organisms, conferred by the immune system.
This capability of the body is termed as immunity. There are two types of immunity, Innate (which is inherited from parents and is present from birth and protects an individual throughout its life) and Acquired ( the immunity which is developed after birth by the response against a pathogen after the disease caused by it).
About World Health Day
The World health organisation sponsors the celebration of World Health day every year to make people aware about diseases, their causes and maintaining the overall health. World Health Organisation is an agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health.
WHO also sponsors other seven health campaigns worldwide namely, World Tuberculosis Day, World Hepatitis Day, World No Tobacco Day, World Blood Donor Day, World AIDS Day, World Malaria Day and World Immunization week.
Each year WHO decides a theme for the World health day. From last five years and the present year, the following themes have been decided and celebrated worldwide:
- Year 2012: Good health adds life to years/ Aging and health.
Life expectancy is going up in every country, which means that the people need better health care services when they age. Thus, countries need to find ways to find more sustainable health care facilities.
- Year 2013: Healthy blood pressure.
In today’s busy lifestyle, hypertension has become a common thing. In the year 2013, issues were raised about high blood pressure and how to prevent it and treat it: because hypertension is both preventable as well as curable.
- Year 2014: Small bite, big threat
The spotlight was put on some commonly known vectors or disease carriers such as flea, mosquitoes, ticks which spread a wide range of diseases. The goal was to provide better protection against the vector borne diseases.
- Year 2015: Food Safety.
Food borne diseases have become a very common factor now a days. The goal was to prevent, detect and respond to food borne diseases ensuring food safety.
- Year 2016: Diabetes.
Caused due to insufficient formation of hormone insulin, diabetes is now a worldwide disease affecting more than 422 million people worldwide. The main motto was to prevent and strengthen care for diabetes suffering patients.
- Year 2017: Depression- Let’s talk.
Depression is becoming one of the leading cases of suicides and self- harm now- a- days. The main motto was to talk to people who are depressed and pave a path of positivity for them.
So, how can someone stay healthy?
Staying healthy is very easy if you follow a healthy lifestyle regularly. Following a healthy lifestyle is not that difficult as someone thinks it is. One should find some time from his/her busy schedule for pampering oneself and to follow a healthy routine. Various practices should be followed for a healthy lifestyle, some of which are:
- Exercise regularly: Exercising regularly has proven to impact the human body in a very positive way. Exercising increases the blood circulation, helps in maintaining the overall balance of the body. Running every day or doing Cardio exercises promote a better heart health.
- Having a balanced diet. A balanced diet is defined as a diet which consists of all necessary carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and mineral sources. Having a balanced diet ensures the amount of necessary calories a person is taking in addition to keeping healthy.
- Drink a lot of water. Drinking water also falls under the maintenance of a healthy lifestyle. Water flushes out the toxic substances from our body keeping it fresh and energetic.
- As we have seen, mental ailments such as depression has increased a lot in the past few decades. Hence, it is important to maintain an overall mental health too. Meditation helps a person to focus better, stay calm, refreshed and energised.
- Avoid regular smoking, alcohol and drugs. In addition to disrupt the physical health, these things also disrupt the mental health of the body.
- Take vaccinations regularly. Vaccinations are a type of ‘training’ one can provide to the body’s immune system. Taking vaccinations on regular intervals, specially the ‘booster doses’ helps one to stay immunized and thus live a healthy life.
So, stay healthy and stay happy: because a healthy soul resides in a healthy body