Understanding Good Health


Good health is a broad concept that can be understood in various perspectives and contexts. This essay seeks to define good health and apply the definition to a case study patient, Flossy, who is 45 years old and has recently been diagnosed by Type 2 diabetes. The patient lives in Essex and works part-time as a data input clerk. Here, we will apply the World Health Organization’s definition of health and apply to Flossy’s case. Furthermore, we will classify the disease and evaluate its epidemiology. The penultimate section will examine the lifestyle factors that might have contributed Flossy contracting Type 2 diabetes while the final section will identify what Flossy can do to improve her health.


The Definition of Health

According to WHO (2019), one is considered to be of good health when they have complete mental, social and physical well-being. Thus, the state of healthiness does not only entail having no disease but also being mentally and socially well. Considering this definition, Flossy’s diabetic condition renders her unhealthy because diabetes affects an individual’s physical, mental and social well-being. For instance, having diabetes Type 2 means that Flossy’s body resists the effects of insulin or her body does not produce enough insulin to maintain enough blood sugar levels (Mazze, 2006). Other physical effects of diabetes Type 2 that Flossy might be experiencing include fatigue and frequent infections (Zargar & Kalra, 2013), all of which are symptoms of diabetes Type 2.

As a diabetic patient, Flossy could also be experiencing some mental issues associated with the psychological effects of diabetes type 2. For instance, Zargar & Kalra (2013) observes that living with diabetes contributes to some psychological impacts including the struggle of keeping up with the changing health situation, having relationship challenges with self, friends and family, and bearing one’s responsibilities and the responsibilities of others.

Lastly, there are several social issues that Flossy might be experiencing as a result of being diabetic. For instance, according to Mensing et al (2000), diabetes patients are at risk of having reduced blood supply in the foot’s small and large vessels as well as nerve damage; and this may affect their mobility. Thus, Flossy may become highly immobile and this may affect her ability to socially interact with society. Mensing et al (2000), when discussing the social effects of diabetes asserts that immobility is among the single most effects of diabetes that affects the patient’s social life because staying indoors means the patient does not interact with anyone except their close relatives and carers.

Classifications of Diabetes

Diabetes Type 2 is a type of diabetes that is characterised by the body’s resistance to insulin, causing the body’s inability to metabolize glucose, which is an important source of fuel to the body (Crabtree, 1987). According to Mensing et al (2000), other classifications of diabetes include type 1 diabetes and gestational diabetes mellitus. Type-1 diabetes is also termed as juvenile diabetes and occurs when the pancreas produces little or no insulin thus rendering the body unable to metabolize sugar and produce energy (Braun et al, 2008). According to Sperl-Hillen et al (2013), type-1 diabetes is attributable to some viruses and genetics, and although it is common among children and adolescents, it can also be found in adults.

Gestational diabetes occurs in pregnant women who were no diabetic before they became pregnant (Diabetes Care, 2014). Gross et al (2001) observed that gestational diabetes shows up in the middle of pregnancy and is associated with extra-large babies, high blood pressure in the pregnant woman, hypoglycaemia and caesarean section. It is majorly controlled through a healthy diet and regular exercise. In some cases, women with gestational pregnancy and placed under insulin treatment.

The Epidemiology of Type 2 Diabetes

According to WHO, the incidence and prevalence of diabetes type two have been increasing at an alarming rate since 2014 (Nijpels, 2019). It is estimated that at least 9% of the global population was diabetic in 2014, 90% of this population suffering from Type 2 diabetes (Nijpels, 2019). Moreover, Whiting (2011) estimated that Type-2 diabetes is responsible for at least five million deaths annually, most of the deaths emanating from cardiovascular diseases. By 2030, it is expected that Type 2 diabetes will be the 7th cause of death worldwide.

There is a strong association between diabetes type 2 and obesity, creating a burden for developing and middle-income countries that have increased urbanization and lifestyle changes (Nijpels, 2019). Currently, it is estimated that a large population of the Western Pacific region contributes to the global type 2 diabetes statistics despite its percentage prevalence being highest in North Africa and Middle East countries (Nijpels, 2019). It is estimated that at least 20% of the Saudi Arabian population is diabetic. Nonetheless, according to Guariguata (2013), all regions now have at least 5% prevalence, causing a globally increased recognition of type 2 diabetes burden.

According to Hillson (2015), the burden of diabetes has increased due to its significant contribution to cardiovascular disease. Considering the most recent statistics that Type 2 diabetes contributes to at least 5 million deaths yearly, Type 2 diabetes, therefore, has a higher disease burden compared to tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/AIDS combined (Herman, 2010).

Furthermore, according to Mazze (2006), type-2 diabetes is currently also considered the leading cause of lower leg amputations, kidney failure and acquired blindness worldwide. This translates to a global health cost of type 2 diabetes of 673 billion dollars and this is expected to rise with an increase in the disease’ prevalence (Nijpels, 2019). Nonetheless, the risk of diabetes can be reduced with life changes, and there is a high potential of reversing the pandemic or slowing it down.

Lifestyle Contributors to Type 2 Diabetes

Whereas genes play an important role in type 2 diabetes, lifestyle is also a very important risk factor for the disease. For instance, Zargar & Kalra (2013) asserts that an individual can have the genetic mutation responsible for diabetes but if they take care of themselves, they may not develop diabetes. Someone who eats well stays physically fit and watches their cholesterol is less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes compared to the one who does not because the body use of insulin is greatly influenced by certain lifestyle choices.

Therefore, certain lifestyle choices might have contributed to Flossy’s diabetic condition. For instance, according to Levy (2016), failure to engage in physical activity increases one’s susceptibility to diabetes type 2. Besides, an unhealthy diet comprising of high-fat foods, as well as foods with little fibre, increases the chances of getting diabetes type 2.

Furthermore, according to Hillson (2008), obesity or overweight increases the risks of type 2 diabetes. This is because overweight increases the individual’s likelihood of being insulin resistant as well as the development of other health conditions. There is a large body of evidence linking obesity to Type 2 diabetes. Eberhart et al (2004) found that obesity was associated with 55% of type two diabetes cases in their study. In an attempt to explain the role of obesity in Type 2 diabetes, Hillson (2015) explains that chronic obesity contributes to increased insulin resistance mostly because adipose tissues are known to be insulin resistance. Therefore, a combination of lifestyle choices and genetic susceptibility can cause insulin resistance.

In a study by Mozaffarian et al (2009), participants who had a high level of physical activity took a healthy diet and had moderate alcohol consumption habits had an 82% lower rates of diabetes. When the researchers included normal weight as a variable, the rate was 89% lower. Noteworthy, Mozaffarian et al (2009) defined a healthy diet as one with high fibre, low-fat consumption and high polyunsaturated to saturated fat ratio.

How Flossy Can Improve Her Health

The first step to improved health for diabetic patients is a healthy diet. According to Mazze (2006), eating healthy food reduces risk factors such as high blood pressure, imbalanced sugar and high cholesterol. This implies that Flossy, together with her carer need to plan all her meals to ensure that she eats food rich in starches, proteins, and vegetables. Hillson (2015) also asserts that diabetic patients should try their best to eliminate sodium, sugar and fat from her diet. An easier way to maintain such healthy food is by eating whole-grain and low-fat foods. Flossy could also maintain a healthy diet by feeding on lean meat such as fish and poultry instead of red meat. Besides, as Mazze (2006) insists, diabetic patients should avoid sugary drinks such as juice and soda unless they are medically prescribed to boost their sugar levels.

Flossy should also focus on engaging in regular physical exercise to enhance her longevity and protect her from cardiovascular diseases. Mazze (2006) asserts that diabetic patients should get at least two hours of moderate –intensive physical exercise per week, as well as moderate exercises such as cycling, walking, and gardening. Apart from a healthy diet and physical exercise, Flossy can also keep herself healthy by keeping a watch at her blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. This implies that she should get regular checks from the doctor as well as maintain self-monitoring routine using prescribed tools.

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