How healthy are you, really?

How healthy are you, really?

It seems that people who are perfectly healthy are a rarity.

A new analysis found that more than 95 per cent of the world's population are plagued with some kind of health problem. One-third of them have more than five ailments.

The findings are from the Global Burden Of Disease study published earlier this week in medical journal The Lancet.

Data from 188 countries found that the worldwide prevalence of diabetes, for instance, jumped by 45 per cent from 1990 to 2013.

But it is not all about blockbuster diseases such as diabetes and cancer. In fact, lower-back pain and depression were among the top issues identified in every country involved in the analysis.

Said lead author, Professor Theo Vos of the University of Washington in the United States: "Large, preventable causes of health loss, particularly serious musculoskeletal disorders and mental and behavioural disorders, have not received the attention that they deserve."

It made me wonder how people view the term "health problem".

I have come across people who declare themselves "fit and healthy" despite experiencing an occasional twinge in their back, loss of hearing and itchy or flaking skin.

Yet, these are health problems all the same, for do they not affect one's physical or mental health?

Perhaps it is because they do not kill, while conditions such as heart failure or infections might.

Or, perhaps they have gotten too used to the conditions. Some may even believe that as long as they are not taking medicine, they do not have health problems.

I guess it would do everyone some good to reflect upon how "healthy" he really is. It may spur the person to take action to improve his quality of life, especially if he has have been bearing with the discomfort for some time. And, yes, things such as tooth pain and constant stress count, too.

This article was first published on June 11, 2015.
Get a copy of Mind Your Body, The Straits Times or go to for more stories.

This website is best viewed using the latest versions of web browsers.