9 Little Known Factors That Affect Your Health
Many factors have an impact on our health, such as what we eat, how we sleep and our habits and hobbies. While lifestyle choices and genetics play a large role in our health, our social and physical environments can also impact our wellness.
In this article, we’ll discuss the lesser-known determinants of health. You’ve heard all about diet and exercise since you were young, now let’s take a look at the little-known factors that play a role in our health.
Your education can affect your health because it gives you the knowledge and tools you need to make good decisions. People with more education, especially those whose education revolves around health, wellness, and medicine, typically live longer because they are more likely to be active, regularly see their doctor, and eat well.
These individuals also know the right steps to take to improve their health. For example, if someone has acid reflux, they’ll know their doctor can help them. Then, their doctor might give them tips as well as tools like an acid reflux pillow to help that individual feel better.
Not only that, but a higher education level can lead to higher-paying jobs, which come with benefits like health insurance and potentially healthier work environments.
The amount of money you make can also impact your health. Those with higher incomes are typically healthier and live longer. The reasons for this might be because they do not have physically demanding jobs or they have sufficient funds to better care for their health and lifestyle. Not only that, but these individuals are more likely to live in safer neighborhoods with access to healthy food stores and safe spaces for exercise and other physical activities.
Individuals with income levels below the poverty line are more likely to face situations that can lead to poor health, including unsafe housing, challenges in getting healthy food, and less time for exercise. Not only that but having a lower income might affect your ability to have affordable health insurance and find affordable healthcare.
For example, someone with low income may not have access to doctors to prescribe weight loss medication that can drastically improve their overall health.
3. Housing & Neighborhood
Where you live also impacts your overall health. Conditions like pests, mold, and toxins can and will affect your health, so your home must be free of these hazards. Your neighborhood can also play a role in your health. A neighborhood free from violence and pollution allows you to have a safe place for physical activity and fresh air.
4. Access to Health Care
Access to healthcare is another significant determinant of health. If you have health insurance, whether it’s provided by your employer or you bought it through the marketplace, you’re more likely to visit the doctor if anything different occurs in your health pattern. Visiting your doctor can include anything from preventative care to helping you recover from sickness.
Unfortunately, not everyone has this level of access to health insurance or health care. Some people also don’t have the transportation necessary to make it to the doctor, while others simply cannot afford to go.
By not being able to get the necessary care, you can be faced with a multitude of health problems that can lead to dangerous health outcomes.
5. Air Pollution
Air pollution can have a significant impact on your health, not only because of its role in climate change but because it can increase mortality. Air pollution can be any solid or liquid particles and gasses that are suspended into the air and have harmful effects on the body. When you think about air pollution, you’ll likely think about the human causes of air pollution, such as car exhaust. However, there are also natural air pollutants, such as mold and pollen, that are linked to allergies and poor health.
Cities typically have more air pollution than suburbs, but air pollution can happen anywhere. While you may not be able to do anything about the air outside, you can purify your indoor air with an air purifier to help protect you against mold, smoke, and other pollutants from growing or coming in.
6. Poor Water Quality
Millions of people across the world don’t have access to clean water. Poor water quality can cause disease and be attributed to industrial waste, pollution, and lack of proper water treatment and sanitation.
Your behavior plays a large role in your health. For example, if you smoke, you could increase your chances of developing lung cancer or heart disease. If you quit smoking, you’ll reduce your chances.
Part of your behavior is also how you manage stress. Many people eat when they’re stressed, which can cause unhealthy weight gain. Others have chronic stress that can negatively impact their immune systems.
The good news is that positive changes in your behavior can dramatically improve your health. For example, if you decide to cut out junk food and decrease your sugar intake, you can increase your chances of losing weight while decreasing your risk of diabetes. Behavioral factors that impact health include:
- Physical activity
- Drug and alcohol use
8. Genetics and Biology
No matter how well you take care of your body, you can’t always have a say in your health. Some biological factors affect certain populations more than others. For example, seniors are more prone to being in proper health than younger individuals because of the physical effects of aging. Some examples of biological and genetic factors that play a role in your health are:
- Inherited conditions
- Family history of diseases
9. Birth Control
Medications that contain estrogens, such as the birth control pill or patch, can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. Similarly, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) which also contains estrogen, can have risks to your health, including the potential for blood clots, especially if you smoke.
While you can’t change some of the factors that affect your health, such as your age, you can make healthier choices daily, which can help you stay healthy. For example, if you want to improve your health right now, you can quit smoking or make a goal to exercise more every single day.
Written exclusively for Expat Network by Marné Amoguis