Health-Illness Continuum Assignment

Benchmark – Human Experience across the Health-Illness Continuum

Beyond basic disease prevention, obtaining balanced wellbeing is a continuous process. The word wellness is often misunderstood by many people. Many people think of wellness in terms of physical health, nutrition, body weight, and others, however, it is much more than that. According to Paladino and Fromme (2019), well-being should be perceived as a holistic integration of physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing engaging the mind, fueling the body, and nurturing the spirit. Historically, wellness has been defined within a disease framework, which means reducing risks associated with health and preventing illnesses. Understanding of health Illness continuum is a way of promoting patient wellness. With this in mind, the paper discusses the health-illness continuum and its relevance to patient care.

Health-Illness Continuum and its Relation to Healthcare

The health-illness continuum reflects a process of change in which people experience different states of health and illnesses, ranging from extremely good health to death, which fluctuate throughout their lives. According to Paladino and Fromme (2019), the state of wellness is a dynamic goal and a continuous process, therefore, a decision making process is necessary daily in areas related to health. The wellness paradigm spans the whole length of the continuum. This is the direction all patients must experience or face to achieve high-level pf wellness. Owen and Çelik (2018) assert that the health-illness continuum describes the health and illness along a continuum with a high level of wellness at one end and a high level of illness and poor health at the other end.

The middle of the continuum is a neutral point where there is no discernible wellness or illness. People more either side (to and forth) of the continuum daily from the neutral point. A high level of wellness is on the right end of the continuum while illness or death is on the left end. On the left side of the neutral point is the treatment paradigm and this is where the relevance of the health-illness continuum to healthcare becomes more visible (Corrigan et al., 2017). For instance, as one moves to the left end of the continuum, healthcare and medical interventions take over until the person returns to the neutral point. Once the individual returns to the neutral point, it is his responsibility to take measures that can enable him to attain a high level of health (wellbeing).

Importance of Understanding the Health-Illness Continuum to a Health Care Provider

Understanding the health-illness continuum is very important for a nurse to provide quality and optimum care to their patients. It enables health providers to ensure that patients continue to move towards the right direction along the continuum. A better understanding of the health-illness continuum, health care providers can visualize, plan, and accomplish goals for a healthier lifestyle (Corrigan et al., 2017). For instance, once the treatment paradigm is achieved and the patient has returned to the neutral point, a healthcare provider who understands the health-illness continuum does not stop at that point. He/she may educate the patient regarding strategies to achieve a higher level of wellbeing.  For instance, home health nurses extend this continuum by visiting patients at home to carry out follow-ups as well as provide essential services (Corrigan et al., 2017). They perform this because they have a good understanding of the health-illness continuum.

Reflection on My Overall State of Health

I am well educated and fully aware of the health-illness continuum. Therefore, I understand what should be done and avoided to achieve high levels of wellness. Some of the behaviors that contribute to my wellness include healthy eating habits, regular daily moderate exercise, positive attitude towards achieving wellness, and regular screening of diabetes, high blood pressure, and diabetes which have records in my family (Perugini, Iglesia, Solano, & Keyes, 2017). Other qualities I poses include commitment and perseverance to achieve a high level of webbing.  I tend to ignore things that could lead to mental distress and I attend church for spiritual nourishment. Based on these behaviors, I believe that I have achieved a high level of wellness on the continuum.

Options and Resources Available To Help Me Achieve Wellness

Physical options include maintaining healthy nutrition, engaging regular physical exercise, and avoiding risky or abusive places to stay safe and others. Social options include having a positive relationship with good people while trying to manage stress and emotions. Intellectual options include reading consciously regarding good ways of achieving wellness (Payton, 2017). The spiritual option includes attending church to receive spiritual nourishment which is part of wellness.  Resources available include counseling programs, healthcare facilities, friends, family, books, church, and community resources such as free fields for physical exercise.

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Conclusion

Beyond basic disease prevention, obtaining balanced wellbeing is a continuous process. The health-illness continuum describes the health and illness along a continuum with a high level of wellness at one end and a high level of illness and poor health at one end. On the left side of the neutral point is the treatment paradigm and this is where the relevance of the health-illness continuum to healthcare becomes more visible. Some of the behaviors that help achieve wellness include physical exercise, and regular disease screening.

 

Health-Illness Continuum Assignment
Health-Illness Continuum Assignment

The health-illness continuum is one of the healthcare concepts that facilitate patient evaluations and permit generalizations about client condition. The concept, which was proposed more than four decades ago, altered how health is understood and diminished unnecessary simplifications. This essay examines the contested concept in relation to patient health and human experience and illustrates its applications to the health situation of individuals.
The continuum defines wellbeing and establishes links between its key components, such as physical, emotional, and mental states. Travis proposed this perspective in the 1970s, arguing that healthcare providers’ dichotomous view of health was detrimental to patient outcomes (Penwell-Waines, Greenawald, & Musick, 2018). The dichotomous approach is limited in its ability to improve people’s health because the elimination of disease and symptoms that diminish patients’ quality of life is viewed as the ultimate objective (Penwell-Waines et al., 2018). In the context of the health-illness continuum, the absence of conditions that impact daily life is regarded as the boundary between health and illness.

The elimination of disease is largely the responsibility of healthcare providers, whose concerted efforts assist patients in reaching the neutral point mentioned. Then, the degree to which a person is aware of his or her health becomes a significant predictor of future progress on the path to achieving high-level wellness (Grénman & Raikkonen, 2015). To pass the point of neutral health, which presents a false sense of wellness, individuals are expected to conduct research on their individual health risks. Then, attaining a high level of health necessitates engaging in self-study activities in order to choose healthy lifestyle practices that are advantageous in specific situations (Grénman & Raikkonen, 2015). Consequently, as individuals progress along the continuum of illness and health, their degree of responsibility for health outcomes tends to increase.

The relevance of the health-disease continuum to patient health can be correlated with the prevention of disease recurrence, according to a summary of its fundamental characteristics. In particular, because the continuum transcends dichotomous perspectives of health and illness, it offers new opportunities to implement measures that address health risks in advance (Grénman & Raikkonen, 2015). When a patient reaches the point of neutral health, for instance, he or she can be encouraged to move forward by emphasizing self-education and lifestyle improvement. In many instances, this strategy can enhance the outcomes of treatment and care administered by specialists.

The concept is relevant to the human experience in healthcare because the use of the health-illness continuum facilitates patient engagement in the process of wellness enhancement. Numerous variables, including the capacity to achieve positive long-term outcomes for patients, predict the quality of this experience (Jason, 2017). In light of this, it is essential to consider the continuum, as it outlines the key steps to be taken following the conclusion of treatment under professional supervision (Grénman & Raikkonen, 2015). To facilitate the attainment of stable and positive health outcomes, it is possible to use the aforementioned perspective to convince patients that they can make invaluable contributions to their health. Therefore, when considered, the health continuum can enhance the human experience by influencing the long-term effects of treatment.

The health-disease continuum is the concept that permits the monitoring of physical and mental health. Regarding my current state of health, there are no obvious factors and issues that inhibit the proper functioning of my organ systems. Particularly, timely visits to healthcare specialists and diligent efforts to adhere to medical advice significantly reduced the severity of the health problems I once had. Constantly acquiring health-specific knowledge and a willingness to submit to regular medical examinations are among the behaviors that contribute to my current state of health. In addition, I am a goal-oriented individual because I regularly exercise to remain active and full of energy.

To continue, there are specific obstacles preventing me from achieving optimal health. They include the presence of unhealthy sleep patterns during periods of stress, for instance. In addition, as a result of my busy schedule, I am not always able to prepare nutritious meals, which makes my diet imperfect and limits my consumption of vegetables and fruits. On a scale ranging from zero (disease) to ten (optimal health), I would rate my current health as a seven. In general, my health is good, but there is room for improvement, particularly in the areas of nutrition and stress management.

For the middle-aged adult, exercise can reduce the risk of various health problems. Choose two at-risk health issues that regular physical exercise and activity can help prevent and manage. Discuss the prevalence of each of these health problems in society today. Describe measures that you would take as a nurse to assist clients with health promotion measures to incorporate exercise and physical activity into their lives. Include the kind of activities you would recommend, the amount of exercise, and the approach you would use to gain cooperation from the client. Support your response with evidence-based literature.

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Middle- aged adults experience a variety of health concerns, varying from terminal illness to minor problems. Though our health is very important to us, the reality should be addressed with the individual early on in the diagnosis. Two health issues that can be improved with regular activity are hypertension and high cholesterol. According to Falkner, “Proper nutrition and physical activity are essential and lead to positive effects on overall health and help to prevent disease”…“ For instance, if the patient does not have access or financial means to join a gym, the nurse could help them develop a home workout regimen or a walking plan. The nurse should also provide proper nutrition recommendations such as those described on the Unites States Food and Drug Administration (USDA) website” (2018).

Hypertension is a pesky illness that may stay borderline for years, but the body can only tolerate the higher pressures within the blood vessels before it starts to damage vital organs and cause further health issues. The CDC conducted a study which showed “During 2015–2016, the prevalence of hypertension was 29.0% and increased with age: age group 18–39, 7.5%; 40–59, 33.2%; and 60 and over, 63.1%” (CDC, 2017). The fact is, these rates will continue to climb unless action is taken to reverse these illnesses. Increasing physical activity and exercise will allow these individuals to improve heart health, as well as become more aware of other health improvements. Along with changing your lifestyle, you should also encourage the individuals to monitor blood pressure daily, provide better dietary choices low in fats and salts, and also giving the individual the ability to still feel like they have options.

High Cholesterol is another illness that can be modified if lifestyle and dietary changes are made. According to the CDC, “Nearly 94 million U.S. adults age 20 or older have total cholesterol levels higher than 200 mg/dL. Twenty-eight million adults in the United States have total cholesterol levels higher than 240 mg/dL” (CDC, 2017). The goal for optimal cholesterol is anything less than 200 mg/dL. According to Heart, “Eat a heart-healthy diet. Focus on plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Limit saturated fats and trans fats. Monounsaturated fat, found in olive and canola oils, is a healthier option. Avocados, nuts and oily fish are other sources of healthy fat” (2021). They also suggest “Exercise regularly. With your doctor’s OK, work up to at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise five times a week. Don’t smoke. If you smoke, find a way to quit” (Heart, 2021).

 

References:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017d). New CDC report: More than 100 million Americans

have diabetes or prediabetes. Retrieved from

https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2017/p0718-diabetes-report.html

My cholesterol guide. American Heart Association. https://www.heart.org/en/health-

topics/cholesterol/cholesterol-tools-and-resources. Accessed March 10, 2021.