In a medical context, a health condition is also sometimes called a disease or disorder; it’s an abnormal state affecting the body, and sometimes the mind. Conditions are associated with specific symptoms, but may be present without symptoms—therefore usually undiagnosed—until found by medical testing (i.e. high blood pressure, or hypertension).


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1 out of every 2 American adults has at least one chronic illness—such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and arthritis. Much of this illness is partly caused by unhealthy lifestyle habits, including inactivity, poor nutrition, smoking, and drinking too much alcohol. Environmental pollutants—such as bisphenol-A (BPA) in some plastics—likely are playing a greater role in causing cancer and perhaps other health conditions, according to a 2010 report by the Presidents Cancer Panel.


Healthy lifestyle choices, on the other hand, can significantly reduce risk for most health conditions. Beyond regular exercise and stress reduction, eating a moderately low-calorie diet based on deeply colored vegetables and fruits, plus whole grains, lean protein, and small amounts of healthy fats has been shown to reduce risk for most chronic conditions.


Essential supplements for disease prevention may include: high-quality multivitamin/minerals (for cancer); fish oil or omega-3 fatty acids (for heart and brain health, joint health, mood); vitamin D and others.