Consider the view that the key to good health is not medicine, but lifestyle

"Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing, not merely an absence of disease or infirmity." - World Health Organization.

This definition of health in its broadest sense implies that curing of physical diseases and abnormalities alone cannot earn us a good health. Can medicines go beyond curing diseases, to improve our health on the mental and social grounds? The medicines for the mental diseases, like depression, might improve our mental and social health to some extent; however, good health in its broadest sense can only be achieved through improved lifestyle.

Lifestyle constitutes of our way of living in aggregate; the way we eat, sleep, and perform our daily duties. It also comprises of the more abstract and complex behaviours like our thinking patterns, beliefs, manners, social interaction, and so on. Thus, lifestyle comprises our culture, which we can improve to achieve a sound health. For example, rather than relying upon medicine after catching a disease, we can prevent most of the diseases through balanced diet, regular exercise and proper rest. Similarly, we can improve our social and mental life by maintaining a healthy social relationship with everyone. Therefore, lifestyle change can provide us a sound physical, mental and social health.

Many people have some kind of addiction such as smoking, drinking alcohol and using drugs. Cigarettes, tobaccos, alcohols and drugs are harmful for the health of people. They affect the body organs of the people like lungs, liver, kidneys and so on. All these harmful effects cannot be stopped by using medicine. The only way to get rid of these harmful effects is to change owns’ lifestyle and stop using these substances.

One of the serious health problems in richer nations is obesity which is the result of intake of excessive calories of food. Obesity with the passage of time leads to serious health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, heart problems and so on. These problems have no permanent medical treatment. The only way that can help these people achieve a sound health is through exercise and cutting back on food consumption. Therefore, lifestyle plays a more important role in maintaining the good health of a person.

On the contrary to the rich countries, people in poor nations are underfed. Moreover, they do not have a fixed schedule to eat because of poverty. They eat whenever they get food, and when they do not get food, they are bound to stay hungry. As a result of the uncertainty of food intake, they suffer from various gastrointestinal diseases like gastritis. Similarly, their growth and other normal functioning of body are hindered, thus causing various physical abnormalities. Solving these types of health problems is beyond the use of medicines. The only solution is to provide them with proper and timely nutrition and bring change in their lifestyle.

The mental health and social health are closely related. The social life of a person has its impact upon the mental health and the mental health has its influence upon the social health. For example, a person who gets negative criticisms only from his friends and relatives is at a risk of developing mental abnormalities like depression. And a depressed person is likely to have a bad relation with his peers and social circles. Now, although medicines have been developed for curing mental problems such as depression, their use cannot improve the lives of people on social ground. However, improved lifestyle can ensure sound mental and social health at the same time. This is true because, a person with good lifestyle is likely to have good friends, than a person who is uncivilized.

However, there are circumstances when medicines can be used for both prevention and cure of the health problems. For example, the use of polio or tuberculosis vaccines in a newly born child is one example of preventive function of medicine. There are many circumstances when the common health problems are treated through allopathic treatment. However, the worth noting thing is that these medicines aren’t perfect and moreover, requires a supportive immune system to cure the patients. The patients who have very weak immune system face the danger of not being cured. Therefore, a reliable solution is to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

In conclusion, achieving a good health is not a function of single factor but a combination of many different variables. While medicine can be one important factor, lifestyle clearly can play a better role in providing a sound health to people on all three grounds: physical, mental, and social. Also, since the lifestyle solves the health problems from grassroots level, the solution are more long lasting than that of medicines. Therefore, it has rightly been said that the key to good health is not medicine, but lifestyle.

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