What’s to Understand About Health?

by | May 22, 2023 | Resilience

Image: Shutterstock

Perhaps the most important aspect of understanding is that when you understand something, you know how it relates to other things that you understand.

Many eSavvyHealth blogs and articles talk about the importance of getting an understanding of matters related to the body as you work to maintain or improve your health. But what is it, exactly, that you’re being asked to understand?

Without getting esoteric about it, the place to start in answering that question is the recognition that there are various kinds of knowledge. For example,

  • Recognizing someone you know
  • Knowing where your live or your phone number
  • Comprehension of language
  • The ability to cook a dish
  • Current events
  • How you feel about someone

These are all things that you can know, and they all have value. But they aren’t all necessarily things that you would seek to understand, because understanding runs deeper than knowledge. Perhaps the most important aspect of understanding is that when you understand something you know how it relates to other things that you understand. And that’s our goal at eSavvyHealth, to help you gain knowledge about your body and health matters that you can relate to your own or others’ experiences, to other things that you already understand, and to choices and decisions you are called upon to make.

In order to do this, we focus on two types of knowledge.

The first type is mental ideas that can be expressed with individual words or short phrases. These are all examples:

  • Table
  • Vacation
  • Red
  • Friendship
  • Running
  • Place setting

We refer to such mental ideas as concepts. (This is not the only meaning of the word concept, but it is the right meaning for this context.) As you can see from the examples, concepts can be concrete or abstract, and can be nouns, verbs, or other parts of speech.

In the field of health and the operation of the body, here are a few concepts that are useful to understand:

  • Blood sugar
  • Metabolism
  • Hormone
  • Energy Management
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Informed consent

The second type of knowledge that we hope to help you understand better consists of statements that describe how something works, or a general rule, or a cause-effect relationship. For example,

  • When a commodity becomes more scarce, it usually becomes more expensive.
  • Some types of clouds do not produce rain.
  • Traffic in a city is usually heaviest from 8 to 10 am and 4 to 7 pm.
  • Higher interest rates provide greater returns on savings.
  • Wild animals live in places where they can find the things they need to survive.
  • On the other side of the Earth, things fall toward the sky instead of the ground.

We call such statements principles.

You might have noticed two aspects of principles in the above examples. First, principles allow you to predict what is likely to happen or not to happen in certain circumstances. Second, as the last example illustrates, just because a principle is stated doesn’t mean that it’s true.

A principle that is generally true is knowledge that can be extremely valuable. But that’s a two-edged sword, because a principle that is not actually true but is believed to be true can be quite destructive.

Here are a few health-related principles:

  • The presence of metabolic syndrome in an individual indicates higher risk for diabetes and cardio-vascular disease.
  • Eating less processed foods generally results in better health.
  • The human body can convert carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into useful forms of energy.
  • You should avoid foods high in cholesterol to safeguard against cardiovascular disease.

The first three of these are true and valuable to know; the fourth is false (which is also valuable to know!).

Each of the health-related concepts and principles listed above is the subject of one or more eSavvyHealth articles, Guidebooks, or courses. We invite you to use the site’s search feature to find resources that are designed to increase your understanding of them.

Dave Hendry

Dave Hendry

Position

Dave Hendry is co-founder of The 5 Fundamentals of Health and Fundamentals of Health Alliance. He has an extensive CV in research, education and curriculum development.

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