Term Paper: Health Concept Analysis Health From a Nurse

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Health

CONCEPT ANALYSIS

Health" From a Nurse Practitioner's Perspective

Health

The word "health" is, among other things, a concept that relates in most cases to the survival and physical condition of a living entity, in this case, the human body. This analysis will embrace and encompass the varied and diverse approaches to understanding and defining "health" as a concept. Health is a useful term, but it also becomes somewhat ubiquitous as it is attached to and applied to such a range of interpretations and usage (see thesaurus references below). This paper will delve into the attributes, antecedents and consequences of health as we have come to understand it and be familiar with it in our language and our lives. This paper will also define and describe health as the term applies to the human condition, as it applies to the condition of other living things - including the health of Planet Earth, which is currently being harmed and suffering the consequences of severe climate change.

3. USES of the CONCEPT of HEALTH:

Dictionary Definition: Oxford Universal Dictionary (Little, 1933) (p. 878): "Health (N). 1. Soundness of body; that condition in which its functions are duly discharged. 2. Hence, the general condition of the body; usually qualified as good, bad, delicate, etc. 1509. 3. Healing, cure - 1555. 4. Spiritual, moral, or mental soundness; salvation (arch.) OE. 5. Well-being, safety; deliverance - 1611. 6. A wish expressed for a person's welfare; a toast drunk in a person's honor 1596."

Dictionary Definition: Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/health):"Health (N) Etymology: Middle English helthe, from Old English h[AE]lth, from hAl; 1 a: the condition of being sound in body, mind, or spirit, especially: freedom from physical disease or pain; b: the general condition of the body 2 a: flourishing condition: WELL-BEING b: general condition or state 3 a: a toast to someone's health or prosperity."

Dictionary Definition: Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary: (McKechnie, 1977) (p. 836) "Health (heith), n. [ME. Heith; as. Health, health, from hol, whole.] 1. Physical and mental well-being; soundness; freedom from defect, pain, or disease; normality of mental and physical functions. Health is something different from strength; it is universal good condition - Munger. 2. Condition of body or mind; as, good or bad health. 3. Power to heal, restore, or purify. [Rare.] the tongue of the wise is health, Prov. xii. 18. 4. A toast wishing health and happiness to another; as, to drink one's health. Come, love and health to all - Shakespeare. Health officer; an officer whose duty it is to enforce sanitary rules and regulations."

Dictionary Definition: The World Book Encyclopedia: (Field Enterprises 1959) (Volume 8) (p. 3332) "Health is a state of physical, mental, and emotional well-being, and not merely the absence of disease. It is the most precious possession that any person may have. When we are not in good health we cannot work or study well. The unhealthy person does not fully enjoy his recreation. He is not happy in his relationship with other people. Millions of dollars are spent every year in the search for health.... Just as a person who lacks good health is neither happy nor efficient, so a nation whose citizens are not healthy cannot be efficient and happy. Scientists believe that many great civilizations declined because the health of the people was injured by disease, lack of food, or bad living habits."

Synonyms. Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus (Kipfer, 1992) (p. 399): "Health (n) physical, mental wellness; bloom, clean bill, complexion, constitution, energy, eupepsia, euphoria, fettle, fine feather, fitness, form, good condition, haleness, hardihood, hardness, healthfulness, healthiness, lustiness, pink, prime, robustness, salubriousness, salubrity, shape, soundness, stamina, state, strength, tone, tonicity, top form, verdure, vigor, well-being."

Blood and Health: Current considerations of healthfulness: A healthy nation is one that adheres to healthful medical standards, which always centers on the availability of fresh supplies of blood. Blood is one of the circulating fluids of the body that serves as nutrition, carrying oxygen, nutrients, and metabolic waste. The average adult has about five liters of blood that travels through the heart, arteries, veins, capillaries and cells. The plasma of the blood, according to Gray's Anatomy (pp. 1077-1078) has within it corpuscles, some of which are colored red. There are about four to five million red corpuscles in the average person's blood, and about 12,000 red corpuscles "in each cubic millimeter of blood."

In general, the red corpuscles carry oxygen and other nutrients and the white corpuscles fight disease. As a person gets older, and the size of his or her blood vessels change (usually shrinking), the red corpuscles "change their shape...as to adapt themselves to some extent to the size of the vessel," according to Gray's Anatomy.

That kind of human adaptation is an important part of keeping the body alive and healthy during the aging process - and during times of challenges to the health of the person - but in most cases the body cannot adapt to impure or tainted blood.

Good health can be protected and/or restored: In order to fight disease (such as HIV, malaria and hepatitis) and treat patients, a clean blood supply is necessary. In the United States, the blood supply "...is among the safest in the world," the Center for Disease Control (CDC) claims. Nearly all of those in the U.S. who have been infected with HIV as a result of contaminated blood used during blood transfusions were infected prior to 1985, CDC explains. The risk of infection with HIV in the U.S. By receiving a blood transfusion or blood products "is extremely low and has become progressively lower, even in geographic areas with high HIV prevalence rates," according to the CDC.

In addition to fears of HIV, there is also the worry of a person getting hepatitis through contaminated blood; but the National Institutes of Health (NIH) assert that "today, thanks to improvements in screening donors and their blood, the rate of transfusion-associated hepatitis at NIH has dropped to virtually nothing" (McManus 2000).

The NIH states that 1 in 300 Americans carries the HIV virus; but, "Chillingly, 90% of the recipients of HIV-contaminated blood later become infected"; that makes it all the more important to assure that the blood given to patients is indeed safe and free from disease. Today, according to the NIH article called "Blood Supply Largely Safe, but More Needed" by writer Rich McManus, because better screen procedures have been put into place, "the risk is approaching 1 in 1 million, or about the same as being struck by lightning," in terms of the possibility of getting HIV through a blood transfusion.

And the NIH also claims that the chances of getting malaria through impure blood in the U.S. is 1 in 4 million; "only 103 cases were reported in the period 1958-1998," McManus asserts. The attention paid to the possibility of a person getting malaria is crucial, because that disease is "by far the most important transfusion-transmitted illness on a world-wide basis," McManus writes. And the malaria parasite can remain in the blood for "around 40 years."

4. DETERMINE DEFINING ATTRIBUTES:

An inherent attribute of "health" is "healthy" and when one thinks of a child being "healthy" the concept of "mother" comes into focus. People generally attribute a mother's presence as required for healthy children. Moreover, our Earth has the attribute concept of a "Mother Earth"; indeed, traditionally poets, teachers, conservationists and writers (among many others) have made the point that the Earth is like our mother and will protect us and keep us in good health. When we were young and had a cold or fever our mother took care of our health. But lately "Mother Earth" herself is showing signs of having a fever. Global warming, although still somewhat controversial in conservative media like Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, among alert, objective and informed citizens of the current quality of the planet's ecosystems, Earth's good health is at risk. Never in the history of humans has so much attention been paid to the health of the planet, and it has come to this because humans have abused the Earth.

The very latest report from the scientific community about the fever that Earth is suffering from - global warming - comes from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a United Nations-sponsored network of 2,000 scientists from all over the world who have been studying the Earth's environment since 1988. The IPCC issued its latest findings - the second of a series of four climate change reports - from Brussels, Belgium, early in April, 2007 - and this report received a tremendous amount of attention in the media. The reason why this report received so much attention is that it is predicting that because of ongoing man-made conditions, global warming has now reached a point where there is not stopping it, and the harmful effects of global warming are already in… [END OF PREVIEW]

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