Have you heard the phrase, “Prevention is better than cure”? It sure is. We get sick every now and then due to many reasons. In such a case, we take medicines or visit a doctor. But prevention of diseases is possible. Yes! We can prevent falling ill by taking care of our health. But sometimes it’s too late and we can only treat a disease. So let’s learn about the treatment and prevention of diseases.
What is Health?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) gave the following definition of health in 1948. “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. The WHO definition of health recognizes three dimensions of health i.e. physical, mental and social. In 1978, another thing was included in this definition. It is the ability to lead a “Socially and economically productive life”.
It is rightly said that Health is Wealth. There are various factors which influence health. These factors lie both within the individual and also in the society in which he or she lives. The internal factors are basically the genetic make-up of an individual while external factors lie in the environment to which he/she is exposed.
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Factors to Help Maintain Community Health
Personal health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being. Community health comprises of maintaining, improving and protecting the health of the entire community. The various factors that help in maintaining community health are:
- Maintaining proper hygienic and sanitary conditions of the environment.
- Providing good socio-economic conditions.
- Providing health care services.
- Imparting health education and promoting public awareness.
- Providing proper facilities for preventing diseases.
Basic Conditions for Good Health
‘A sound mind in a sound body’ is an old saying and expresses the importance of good health. There are some common points that you must follow to ensure that you enjoy a good health. These include:
- Have a balanced diet
- Maintain personal hygiene
- Keep your surroundings clean
- Consume clean food and water
- Keep your environment and air clean
- Maintain a proper schedule of exercise and relaxation
- Keep away from any kind of addictions like alcohol or drugs
Distinctions between Healthy and Disease-free
Too often we confuse being healthy with being disease free. However, it is not the same thing at all! There is a lot of difference between the two. Below we will look at the basic differences between the two.
|One who is not suffering from any disease or derangement of the functioning of the body.||Health is a state of physical, mental and social well being|
|It refers to the individual||It refers not only to the individual but also its social and community environment|
|A disease-free individual may have good health or poor health||A healthy individual is one who is able to perform normally under given situation.|
Now we move on to look at the principles of treatment and prevention.
Principles of Treatment
The immune system is a major factor that determines the number of microbes surviving in the body. There are two ways to treat an infectious disease, i.e.,
- to reduce the effects of the disease
- to kill the cause of the disease
In the first case, treatment reduces the symptoms which are due to inflammation. A doctor gives medicine to the patient so as to bring down fever, reduce pain or loose motions. One must also take bed rest so that he/she can conserve his/her energy. This will enable him/her to have more energy to focus on healing.
How do the Medicines Work?
To cure the disease, the microbes have to be killed by the use of medicine. As you know, we can classify microbes into different categories. They are viruses, bacteria, fungi or protozoa. Each of these groups of organisms will have some essential biochemical life processes, which is peculiar to that group and not shared with the other groups.
These processes may be pathways for the synthesis of new substances or respiration. For example, our cells may make new substance by a mechanism different from that used by bacteria. Therefore, the drug that can block the bacterial synthesis pathway without affecting our own, is used to cure a bacterial disease. The antibiotic drugs work on the same principle. Similarly, there are drugs that kill protozoa such as malarial parasite without affecting our body.
Viruses have only a few biochemical mechanisms of their own. This is the reason why making antiviral medicines is difficult than making antibacterial medicines. The viruses enter the host cells and use host’s machinery for their life processes. Therefore, there are relatively few virus drugs, which check a number of viral diseases including HIV infection.
Prevention of Diseases
There are two ways for prevention of diseases.
- Specific to a disease
In general, we can prevent exposure to diseases by providing good living conditions like drinking safe water and having a clean environment. In the specific prevention, we have an immune system in our body which normally fights off microbes. We have cells that specialise in killing infecting microbes.
These cells go into action when microbes enter into the body. The immune cells manage to kill off the infection long before it assumes major proportions. The functioning of the immune system will be good if proper and sufficient nourishment and food are available. There are some specific ways also for preventing infections like a vaccination for a particular disease.
A Solved Question for You
Q: What do you mean by a vaccine?
Answer: A vaccine is a preparation of weakened infectious agents or their products. It is injected or given orally for the prevention of diseases specifically.