VARIABILITY AND STABILITY OF HEALTH DIMENSIONS THROUGH THE LIFE SPAN
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The meaning of health has undergone changes through the last two decades. Its evolution manifests itself in extending the scope, appreciating the dynamics and variability of health, recognizing the importance of its subjective evaluation and ascribing the responsibility for own health to the agent. The article presents changes in the dimensions of health through the life span in the light of the contemporary concepts of health. According to these concepts, four dimensions of health are distinguished: somatic, mental, social and spiritual health. The somatic dimension is characterized by a discrepancy between objective and subjective evaluation of changes. From the objective, medical point of view aging of the human body begins since birth and the probability of many somatic illnesses has increased through the life span. The subjective evaluation of health is related to age, which means that the same medical health status is evaluated as better in older age. The notion of mental health includes mental illnesses and disturbances on the one hand and positive mental health on the other. The majority of mental illnesses have their onset in young or middle age and the probability of becoming mentally ill rather decreases with aging. The subjective evaluation of the quality of life, regarded as an index of the positive mental health, exhibits the curvilinear shape, growing till the late age. The social health, estimated on the base of functioning in social roles, has increased as the agent learns by experience, how to perform new roles. The spiritual health is characterized by the constant development and its indices are higher in the old age. It may be concluded that the picture of the changes in health through the life span is complex, exhibiting specific courses for the different dimensions of health.
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