The notion of health has been debated since mankind has been concerned about it – so, probably forever.
The World Health Organization gives a definition that has not changed since 1946:
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
It is more a goal than a state, for several reasons. First, because the physical state varies from one time (one age) to another in the same person depending on his or her activity, diet, and the hours of sleep that she offers or refuses , Its environment, etc.
Then because the human body is not static: it changes permanently. Between conception and adulthood, the organs develop almost continuously (brain development is considered to cease only around the age of 25). After adulthood, the body continues to change according to whether it is stimulated or leaned; And of course it ages under the combined effect of physical activity, the environment,
Yet one can say if someone is, or is not, “healthy”. And it’s relatively simple.
In developed countries, people born without a disability and without chronic illness are most often healthy because they are properly fed and receive the basic vaccines that prevent the most serious illnesses of childhood (diphtheria, polio, measles , Tetanus). When they are “sick”, it’s temporary – they have a cold or bronchitis or gastroenteritis, which heals spontaneously in eight days because their immune system does the job.
Some people born with a disability are, in spite of this, in very good health. A person who is deaf or partially sighted or even born without an arm can be otherwise perfectly healthy. Even when the disability is very embarrassing and compromises their social life, it does not necessarily affect their overall health or psychological health.
Similarly, some people affected by chronic disorders (seasonal allergy to pollen, migraine) may otherwise be in perfect health and remain so. Allergies may disappear by changing region (or with appropriate treatment); Migraines may subside after menopause (for women) or after changing jobs or resolving family concerns (for both genders). People with a seasonal allergy or a migraine are not in poor health. They carry a physical characteristic that sometimes causes painful symptoms but does not affect their future health.
Good but when you have nothing special, how do you know if you are healthy?
More often than not, one cares only for his health in two circumstances:
1 ° one does not feel well
2 ° one does not feel bad but one would like it to last.
I do not feel well, am I sick?
Let us take the first instance. You may feel ill (or sick) occasionally (as in the above-mentioned cases of a benign respiratory or digestive infection).
But from a general point of view, all benign diseases cure spontaneously in one to two weeks. So anything that lasts less than eight days is, a priori, benign. (Between eight and fifteen, it is also very likely.)
Some frequent symptoms are painful but do not mean that we are in poor health:
“Mechanical” pain: having a pain in a limb or back is not necessarily a sign of ill health (or illness). When this pain appears in certain positions or after certain movements, it is very probably muscular and not serious. The muscles of the body hurt when they are over-stressed. Pain is a warning, and not necessarily a symptom of ill health or disease. Occasional pain (especially when it is brief) is not worrying.
Digestive disorders (constipation, accelerated bowel movements, heartburn). Their brevity (once again – less than eight days) is a sign of their benignity. Beyond eight days (or if they are so important as to interfere with everyday life) they justify a consultation but it does not make them serious.
Fatigue: this is not a sign of ill health, it is a signal that the brain sends us to tell us that we make (or that we undergo) too much. In other words, we do not heal fatigue, we cure the causes of fatigue. The first treatment of fatigue (when possible) is rest and sleep. Sometimes you do not know how to stop to rest. We must ask his relatives to force us to stop.