Communicable and Noncommunicable Diseases
Communicable diseases are illnesses that are spread from one individual to another or from an animal to a human. Communicable diseases are often referred to as infectious diseases. Communicable diseases are typically spread through direct contact with a sick individual, breathing in airborne bacteria or viruses, contact with bodily fluids or blood, contact with contaminated surfaces, or insect or animal bites. Common communicable diseases include the common cold, influenza, hepatitis, and malaria. Communicable diseases can be prevented by receiving appropriate vaccinations and washing your hands regularly, including before and after eating and after coughing or sneezing.
Noncommunicable diseases are illnesses or health conditions that cannot be spread from person to person. Noncommunicable diseases are often referred to as chronic diseases. Common noncommunicable diseases include cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes. Noncommunicable diseases typically result from a variety of health factors, including genetics and physiological, environmental, and lifestyle factors. Lifestyle factors include unhealthy diets, irregular exercise, smoking, and excessive alcohol use. Noncommunicable diseases can be prevented by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, avoiding too much alcohol, getting ample sleep, and being aware of your family health history. There are three approaches for preventing common chronic diseases: primary (legislation, education, and immunization), secondary (daily exercise), and tertiary (chronic disease management programs) prevention.
Early detection is vital in identifying a disease and preventing it from worsening. Meeting with a genetic counselor can help someone determine whether they carry genes that can make noncommunicable diseases more likely. Common screenings include mammograms, pap smears, prostate exams, and colonoscopies.
Components of Fitness
The five components of fitness serve as a useful tool for improving one’s health and creating effective personal fitness programs. Designing a fitness plan that embodies each of the five components can help assure individuals get the greatest health benefit from their plan. The five components of fitness are cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance, muscular strength, flexibility, and body composition.
- Cardiorespiratory endurance (sometimes known as cardiovascular endurance or aerobic capacity) refers to the body’s ability to effectively intake oxygen and transport it by way of the heart, lungs, arteries, veins, and vessels to the body for use during exercise. Cardiovascular endurance requires the heart and lungs to work together to provide oxygen and fuel to the body during exercise. Running, walking, swimming, biking, interval training, boxing, and dancing are cardiovascular exercises.
- Muscular endurance is the ability of muscles to sustain or repeat muscular activity over time. Think of a muscle group contracting continuously against a given resistance. Holding a plank or doing sit-ups for a continuous period are examples of muscular endurance.
- Muscular strength refers to the maximal force that a muscle can exert in a single, all-out effort. Muscular strength is commonly known in weight training as the one-rep max. Common examples of muscular strength include the bench press, leg press, and squat. Plyometric training, also known as jump training, involves exercises that allow a muscle to reach maximal force in short intervals.
- Flexibility refers to the range of motion for a given joint. Being flexible allows for greater mobility and a greater range of motion in joints and muscles. Lack of flexibility causes tension buildup in muscles and increases the risk of injury. Stretching, yoga, Pilates, tai chi, and barre workouts all improve flexibility.
- Body composition refers to the body’s ratio of fat mass to fat-free mass (bones, muscles, and organs). Body composition can be measured in several ways, some more accurate than others. Hydrostatic testing, skinfold tests, bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), and body fat percentage calculators are all estimators of body fat percentages.
Stress Management and Coping Skills
Stress refers to a feeling of emotional or physical tension. Stress often results from events that cause individuals to feel frustrated, anxious, or angry. How your body reacts to a challenge or situation is stress. While stress can be positive (as when it helps you to avoid a dangerous situation), stress is generally thought of as negative.
Stress often negatively affects individuals’ lives. Common physical, psychological, and emotional signs of stress include rapid heart rate, fatigue, increased blood pressure, feelings of being overwhelmed, sleep difficulties, and persistent thoughts of stressors. Continual stress can result in health problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
Individuals who learn to deal with stress tend to lead happier, healthier lives. Coping is the ability to manage personal and interpersonal problems in order to minimize or tolerate stress and conflict. Individuals with symptoms of stress should take steps to manage stress. Some common strategies for managing and coping with stress include getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, limiting caffeine, and getting ample sleep. Spending time with family and friends, participating in hobbies, and learning to set limits can help to manage stress. Smoking, alcohol, and drugs should be avoided.
Anatomy, Physiology, and Human Body Systems
Anatomy refers to the study of the shape and structure of the body, body parts, and their relationships. Physiology refers to the study of how the body and its parts work. Anatomy and physiology correlate because anatomy focuses on organs and their relationships, while physiology studies how the same organs work in the context of larger organ systems and the entire body. These relationships are important in health education. If individuals do not understand the parts and structure of the body, it is extremely difficult to learn how the parts function together and make life possible.
The human body consists of a variety of body systems that work together to allow the body to function properly and perform daily tasks. The body systems are the circulatory, digestive, lymphatic, endocrine, integumentary, muscular, nervous, urinary, reproductive, respiratory, and skeletal systems.
Substance abuse refers to the use of illegal drugs or the use of legal substances wrongly or in excessive amounts. Substances are often abused because they create a pleasurable “high” that helps individuals feel good, decrease stress, or avoid problems. Common substances that are abused include alcohol, over-the-counter medications, heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and tobacco products. Just like other common diseases, there are risk factors associated with substance abuse, including family history, stress, depression, and environmental influences like exposure to physical abuse or peer usage.
Not only does substance abuse negatively affect the user, substance abuse can also be hurtful to others, including family members, friends, and the larger community. Some common areas that may be affected include finances, work, relationships, friendships, and communities. Communities with a high incidence of substance abuse often see more break-ins, criminal behaviors, and drug dealing.
First aid is the initial care given to an individual who is injured or experiencing psychological distress or sickness before medical assistance arrives. Individuals who provide emergency care should remember to utilize proper universal precautions.
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, commonly known as CPR, provides oxygenated blood to the brain of an individual who has just suffered cardiac arrest. Trained individuals can provide CPR in emergency situations, but should call 911 and ensure that the scene is safe before beginning care.
An automatic external defibrillator, or AED, is an automated device that is simple to use and delivers a therapeutic electric shock to the heart of a victim who has suffered sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Many schools and public buildings have an AED in a central location for use during a cardiac emergency.
Families, schools, and communities should have detailed emergency plans in place to efficiently handle emergency situations. Emergency situations to consider and plan for include fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, and intruders.