Diabetes Blogs

Defining Health, Part 2

In my most recent post, "Defining Health", I wrote about the multifaceted quality of health. If you were to define health in the broadest, holistic terms, you would need to include emotional, psychological, physical, and spiritual health, but we also touched last week on financial health, environmental health (including your home), and even social health. What else is there to this conversation of defining health? 

Even The Facets Are Multifaceted

While we did indeed say that health is multifaceted, even those individual facets themselves are multifaceted. For example, let's look at financial health, which is very emotionally charged for many people.

For people who live on the edge of poverty, feeding and housing themselves from paycheck to paycheck, their financial health is intrinsically tied to their mental, physical, and spiritual health and well-being. If an individual on the verge of poverty and homelessness is also diabetic, how will their financial health impact their diabetes? Will they eat fast food because it's easily available and cheaper than everything else? Will they not refill their prescriptions because they need to choose between medications and bus fare to get to work? 

What about the health of your relationships? If an individual comes from a family that was abusive and violent, how have those family dynamics affected their health? If this person lived with chronic stress in their household, and perhaps now has a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Major Depression, what impact do those factors have on their health?  Maybe another person underwent ritual abuse or was sexually abused; this then is part and parcel of how they care for their bodies---or not. 

Physical health is itself multifaceted, with the aforementioned traumas and abuses also playing a role in physical wellness, even if the abuses occurred in years past. 

Every aspect of health can be broken down into smaller and smaller fragments (that are no less important than the whole), and those fragments hold many keys to whether a person will choose a path of health or a path of less healthy lifestyle choices. 

We could stretch this discussion into educational health, neighborhood health, and a variety of other areas. I think you get the idea. 

Thinking More Deeply and Broadly

When thinking or talking about health, try to help the conversation have as much breadth and depth as possible. While most of us immediately think of the body when considering health, there is so much more than meets the eye.

The body lives in a home, the home sits within a neighborhood, the neighborhood is within a city, town, county, state and/or country, and the employment opportunities and relative wellness of that place where the person lives also impacts their health, even if we don't usually think about it in those terms. 

If you ask the averge person if they're healthy, they will likely respond regarding their weight, their medical diagnoses, or how many medications they take, or how many vegetables they eat. Ask a different question about health, and you'll likely get a very different---but interesting and eye-opening---answer. 

So, if you were to ask yourself about your own health, what would you ask? And what would you say in response? 

No comments yet.