What is “Health”?

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What is “Health”?

What is Health? What do you mean when say you care about your good health? After all, as the program in the Matrix aptly put it, love is only a word. It is not the emotion itself. Similar, health is simply a word; not a healthy body itself.


Health as freedom?

On the surface, it could describe either the proper functioning of individual physiological body systems and their coordination with each other. The thing is, health can mean different things to different people. To me personally, health describes a freedom of choice and independence. Freedom to walk on my own two legs and use my own limbs unassisted. That I have the choice of avoiding certain drugs and courses of treatment that I do not want because I do not need. This independence is how I might define “health”. So, health means being able to do things without certain restrictions.


Health as control?

Similar to the consideration of choice but for some people the buzz word is “control”. An argument could be made that they are the same thing but I would assert that they have subtle differences in how they feel from each other. After all, it is one thing to say I like doing something because I enjoy doing it and it is another to say I enjoy simply having the option of being able to do it should I so choose. This could point a finger towards health literacy: knowing enough to be in control of your own life so that you do not have to be at the mercy of the onslaught of health advice that people very frequently find it difficult to distinguish from.


Health as security?

Health for some people simply means security. Security from the insidious threat that is disease and, more commonly, chronic disease. As the incidence of these conditions continue to rise, the safety that comes with paying attention to your health cannot be under appreciated. After all, after someone has been diagnosed as a diabetic or starts experiencing hormonal imbalances, their quality of life slowly but inevitably decreases whether it is because they have to take more and more drugs everyday, because they feel tired more often than not or even as severe as because the ulcers forming on their feet require amputation. It is a scary thought and health as a security from these issues is completely valid.


 Health to care?

Health could also point towards being able to care and experience with your loved ones. As usual, there are degrees and variation. It could be something as simple as being healthy enough to be able to go out and enjoy Nasi Lemak with your family or as precious as being able to see your children; Multiple sclerosis refers to the stripping of insulation that nerve cells rely on to relay their messages and can lead to the loss of sight.


So, what does health mean to you?

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