Health

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What is health?

Health was defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) - 1948

'A state of complete physical, social and mental well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity'

Widened its definition in 1986

'Health is therefore seen as a resource for everyday life, not the objective of living. It is a postive concept emphasising social and personal resources as well as physical capabilities.'

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Factors affecting Health

  • Individual factors - Things we cant change, Genetic make-up, gender, age
  • Behaviour and lifestyle factors - Important impact on health and can be modified, Smoking, Drinking alcohol, diet
  • Social networking - Support and care given by friends and family, this influences our behaviour and lifestyle
  • Issues in society - Where we live and work, access to health services, poor housing
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Incidence and causes of major health problems

Diet and lifestyle - A balanced diet is an important way of protecting health.

INCIDENCE OF OBESITY - Obesity results in an imbalance between energy intake and energy needs. Too many children spend too much time travelling by car instaed of walking or cycling. The increase in obesity suggests that the number of calories consumed is too high for the inactive child. Obesity is a risk factor associated with heart disease, stroke, some cancers and type 2 diabete. Obese people are more likely to suffer from low self esteem and reduced mobility.

DENTAL DECAY - The Children's Dental Health Survey in 2003 suggested that children attending deprieved primary schools were found to have more tooth decay than children in non-deprived schools. Tooth decay is caused by sticky deposits called dental plaque collecting around the gum line and in crevices between teeth. Dental plaque consists of food remains and bacteria in the saliva. If it is not removed when brushing it causes tooth decay. The dental plaque hardens into a substance called tartar and both this and the dental plaque are acidic and dissolve the protective enamel coating on teeth.

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Physical activity

This is important as it prevents heart disease, builds healthy bones and helps maintain good mental health. Inactivity is a risk factor for a number of diseases including cornorary heart disease, high blood pressure etc. Affordable leisure services make it easier for individuals to be more physically active.

Smoking

Smoking is the main cause of lung cancer and is linked to heart disease, chronic bronchitis and asthma. Smoking is increasingly common in deprieved areas. PASSIVE SMOKING is breathing in someones cigarette smoke. This 'second hand' smoke is a major source of indoor air pollution and contributes to the development of disease.

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Alcohol

Drinking alcohol is socially accepted behaviour and many have long term effects, but some people do not drink sensibly causing health problems like heart disease, cancer of the mouth, liver and breast.

Sexual health

Teenage girls living in deprived areas are 4 times more likely to fall pregnant than those living im more affluent areas. STDs being transmitted are increasing. This causes in some cases infertility if untreated.

Drugs

Misuse of drugs can cause overdoses and is increasing the incidence of blood-borne virses

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The inequalities in health

  • Poverty - Household living in poverty are more likely to sufer ill healht due to lifestyle habits including smoking, drinking, no excercise. Diseases of the respiratory system, some cancers and heart disease are more common.  Poverty can bring mental health problems, can affect life expectency and health. 
  • Employment -The unemployed are more likely to die from cancer, heart disease, accidents and suicide. Also smoking has become more common in the unemployed. 
  • Housing - Children living in unfit or overcrowded homes are almost a third more likely to suffer from respiratory problems, such as asthma and bronchitis. Overcrowded conditions can lead to accidents, sleeplessness, stress and the rapid spread of infections. In winter the elderly and young are vulnerable. 
  • Access to health services -Deprived communities are in greatest need, but are the least likely to access the health services athat they require. Many deprived communities are also less likely than affluent ones to recieve heart surgery, other services such as health screening. 
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Diabetes

It is a condition in which the amount of glucose in the blood is too high. The method the body has to convert glucose into energy doesnt work properly. The hormone which converts glucose to energy is called insulin. Insulin is made by the pancreas.

TYPE 1 DIABETES -  Insulin dependent diabetes (IDDM) , usually develops in childhood and is treated by a combination of diet and drugs. Symptons include: thirst, weight loss, blurred vision etc. This is treated by injections of insulin coupled with a healthy diet.

TYPE 2 DIABETES - Non-insulin dependent diabetes (NIDDM). It develops when there is not enough insulin produced or the body cant use it properly. It is usually found in overweight people.

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The role of diet in diabetes

  • Eat healthily - balanced diet based on startchy foods and plenty of fruit and vegetables and low in fat, sugar and salt.
  • Small amount of sugar and sugar contained foods can be eaten as part of a healthy meal.
  • Alcohol is a source of calories and care should be taken over quantity.
  • Smoking should be avoided because it accelerates arterial disease and can affect the eyes and kidneys.
  • Excercise is a great way to maintain a healthy weight
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Coeliac Disease

Coeliac disease is the main form of wheat intolerance. It is a bowel disease and it is an intolerance of gluten. It is a permenant condition and may come on at any age.The small intestine consists of villi. These are tiny finger like-projections which normally provide the very large absoptive surface of the small intestine. Characteristics of coeliac disease is that the villi are stunted.

There are two important factors necessary for the diesease to occur:

  • It can be genetic and run in families
  • There is gluten in the diet to trigger the condition. It is estimated to have a prevalenxe of about 1 person in 100 although this is reduced to 1 in 10 in families where coeliac disease exists.

Possible symptons are:

  • diarrhoea
  • abdominal swelling
  • loss of appetite and vomiting
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The role of diet in coeliac disease

  • Follow a strict gluten-free diet
  • Now gluten free flour available

Have wheat from other sources

  • Iron can come from meat
  • The vitamin B group can come from offal, milk, eggs and green vegetables
  • Calcium can come from dairy products and nuts
  • Fibre can come from the skin of fruit and vegetables, nuts and pulses
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Osteoporosis

This is a diet related condition which involves the thinning of the bone, involving loss of organic matter and bone mineral. It is a multifactorial disease which means that many factors increase the risk of osteoporosis.

Hormones play a part in osteoporosis. Women can get it due to a lack of oestrogen, this is caused by an early menopause or early hysterectomy.

Men and womencan be more at risk for the following reasons:

  • If they use high dose tablets for conditions such as arthritis and asthma long term
  • If there is a family history of it
  • If they drink heavily
  • If they smoke
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The role of diet and lifestyle in Osteoporosis

  • Needs a well balenced diet
  • Needs calcium phosphate to make the bones stronger
  • Sources for calcium envolve milk and dairy products
  • Taking regular, weight-bearing excercise
  • Smoking has a toxic effect on bones
  • Drinking too much alcohol is damaging to bones
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