Health-illness continuum

Human health is never static, and even if someone has not had diseases for a long time, even headaches or fatigue are manifestations of illness. The health-illness continuum also explains human health as an ever-changing and dynamic structure that can be improved or worsened. Nurses need to understand and remember the concept of the health-illness continuum to motivate patients’ moving to a high level of wellness despite their chronic conditions. Cut 15% OFF your first order We’ll deliver a custom Healthcare Research paper tailored to your requirements with a good discount Use discount 322 specialists online

Health-illness continuum 4

The health-illness continuum is a simple concept as each person has gone through almost all parts of the spectrum at least once in a lifetime. According to this theory, a high level of wellness and death due to diseases are located on different sides of the continuum, next to them is the level of good health and illnesses, and in the center, there is a neutral zone (Burke, 2019).

The complete absence of any complaints is a high level of wellness, and patients with chronic diseases can also achieve this level of health if their ailments are controlled and people indicate themselves as healthy. At the same time, a person without any physiological manifestations of the illness may relate to the negative part of the spectrum if he or she feels depressed, stressed, and unhappy.

Consequently, nurses need to understand and accept the concept of the continuum to improve the patient’s condition. A nurse can affect the patients’ health and treatment by using such practical means as medication and procedures and by explaining to them the importance of a positive approach to their health. For example, a person who was first diagnosed with diabetes is in the phase of the illnesses in the continuum; however, diet, healthy lifestyle, and medications will make his or her diagnosis almost unnoticeable. Nurses should explain this factor to the patients since a positive and correct approach to their health helps to improve it.

I am in the phase of good health now since I have no illnesses, but I often feel tired and depressed due to lack of sleep and external factors that make me worry. In general, I eat well, do not abuse junk food and lots of sugar, and these habits push me to the side of my wellness. However, I am too worried about some external factors, which makes me feel depressed. It is also difficult for me to go to bed on time, so I often lack sleep, which makes me tired and anxious. Therefore, I need to keep the day schedule more clearly and go to bed no later than 11 pm, as well as learn how to cope with stress and pay less attention to trifles.

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health illiness

In general, nurses can use a wide range of resources to improve patient health. Firstly, these are medical tools that help treat diseases or recover from operations. These measures may include medication, exercise, massage, and other treatments. Besides, according to Dean (2016), biotechnology is increasingly becoming part of the health-disease continuum; thus, such instruments as insulin pumps or pacemakers can also be used to care about patient health. However, another critical aspect is the spiritual or moral support of patients, since it helps people cope with their condition and continue to move towards a high level of wellness on their own (Swanson, Thompson, Valentz, Doerner, & Jezek, 2019). In this case, the primary tool of each person is healthy habits that correspond to the needs of his or her body.

Therefore, the health-illness continuum is a concept that explains the changes in a person’s well-being over time and the possibility of influencing it. Nurses need to understand and use this concept to ensure the best care for patients in the hospital and after discharge. This understanding helps people to live a happy life despite their chronic diseases, and it pushes them to realize the importance of their health. On-Time Delivery! Get your customized and 100% plagiarism-free paper done in as little as 3 hours Let’s start 322 specialists online

The Health-Illness Continuum

The individual’s state of health is one of continual change.

He moves back and forth from health to illness and back to health again. His condition is rarely constant. He may wake up feeling great, develop a headache mid-morning, and feel fine again by noon.

The health-illness continuum (see figure 1-1) illustrates this process of change, in which the individual experiences various states of health and illness (ranging from extremely good health to death) that fluctuate throughout his life.

Figure 1-1. The health-illness continuum.
Figure 1-1. The health-illness continuum.

As we previously stated, health, just as life itself, is a process of continual change. And we must continually adapt to these changes in our lives in order to maintain good health and well-being. It is our adaptation or response to that change, rather than the change itself, that affects our health.

For example, two students just found out about a big test tomorrow, for which they are completely unprepared. One student responds to this stressful situation (stressor) by going home, getting his books out, and starting to study. The other student breaks out into a sweat, and spends most of the evening fretting over this outrage and imagining what will happen to him if he doesn’t pass the test. No doubt, this student is doing more damage to his health than is his friend. And, considering the time and energy he is expending on worrying (and not studying), he may experience even more stress when they receive their grades!

Adaptation and effective functioning, even in the presence of chronic disease, can be considered a state of wellness. A person may be in perfect physical condition, but feel too tired and “blue” to go to work, while his co-worker, a diabetic, is at work, functioning fully and accomplishing his job. Which of these two people is at a higher level on the health-illness continuum?

What is an example of a health continuum?

For example, if a patient is diagnosed as overweight and has some conditions such as diabetes that are often associated with being overweight, this person is in the treatment paradigm. However, the person’s choices have put them on the side of the continuum that ends in premature death

What are the three components of the health continuum?

There are 3 major areas of the health triangle: physical, mental and social.

What are the two categories which make up the continuum of wellness?

Dimensions of Wellness

Occupational Wellness– the idea of enriching your life through work that aligns with your values and is fulfilling and rewarding. Physical Wellness– how you care for yourself through what you eat and drink, ensuring you are sleeping enough, and exercising


Burke, A. (2019). Health promotion and disease prevention: NCLEX-RN. Web.

Dean, P. J. (2016). Nursing considerations for an emerging and enlarging symbiosis between technology and integrative human health: Need for a systematized base for caring science. International Journal of Human Caring, 20(4), 171–175.

Swanson, C., Thompson, A., Valentz, R., Doerner, L., & Jezek, K. (2019). Theory of nursing for the whole person. Journal of Christian Nursing, 36(4), 222–227.

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