What Is Quality of Life, Anyway?

By Beth W. Orenstein
Reviewed by Daniel Lew, M.D.
February 06, 2023

Quality of life (QOL): You may have seen this term or heard your doctor use it during your visits, especially when making recommendations for your treatment. But just what is quality of life—what does it really mean for your health and happiness, and how do you measure it?

What Determines Quality of Life?

It turns out, quality of life isn’t that easy to define, says Dana Simpler, M.D., a board-certified internist with Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says QOL is pretty subjective.

Benjamin Bring, D.O., a board-certified family medicine physician at OhioHealth’s Dublin Methodist Hospital, says QOL can be different for everyone, depending on where they live and what’s important in their particular culture.