Factors Affecting Individual Health

Various factors affect a person's health, and medical professionals classify them as internal and external. Internal factors -- also known as hereditary factors or acquired elements -- include smoking and personal diet or eating habits. External factors pertain to the direct outer environment, the geographical location and micro-organisms that could affect an individual's health.

Lifestyle and Health

Lifestyle -- or a typical way of life, as health specialists often define it -- could affect an individual's health and life expectancy. An imbalanced diet or bad eating habits might cause a person to develop chronic diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension, down the road. A sedentary lifestyle -- or one with little exercise -- also might not foster good health and physical fitness. Other habits that could adversely affect a person's metabolism include consuming too much saturated fat and starch, abusing alcohol and using illicit drugs, such as cocaine and heroin. Obesity also causes an individual to experience health problems and could lead to diseases and risky conditions including high cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease.

Smoking and Imbalanced Diet

Smoking adversely affects a person's metabolism and life expectancy. According to Dr. Gavin Petrie, cigarettes contain more than 4,000 chemical compounds and at least 400 toxic substances. The most damaging substances in cigarettes include tar, which causes cancer; nicotine, an additive that increases cholesterol levels in the body; and carbon monoxide, which reduces oxygen in the body.

An imbalanced diet -- the kind that results from eating high-calorie, high saturated fats and low-fiber food -- also could have a negative impact on a person's health. For example, fast food often contains higher calories and highly saturated fats that the body does not need. A high calorie diet and low-exercise lifestyle will be harmful to the body over time.

Natural Habitat

An individual's natural habitat -- the house or apartment where the person lives -- also can affect an individual's health. People who live close to manufacturing facilities or industrial settings are more likely to be exposed to chemicals and other hazardous substances -- such as nuclear residue, asbestos and radioactive materials -- that companies use in the production of goods.

Work Environment

Occupational pollution -- the other name for workplace pollution -- also can affect an individual's health. For example, workers could suffer from the extreme noise that production equipment generates or harsh chemicals used in cleaning processes. The skin and lungs are the most vulnerable to these effects. Dermatitis -- also known as skin inflammation -- can be caused by detergents and certain rubber chemicals. Inhaling flour or other substances used in bakeries, for example, might cause asthma.