Q:

What is the difference between a disease and an illness?

A:

Quick Answer

A disease is an identifiable condition affecting an organ or organism whereas illness is the subjective negative experience that comes with ill health. Specifically, in this case, illness is a product of disease although one can be made ill through psychosomatic processes without a disease.

  Know More

Full Answer

In 1978, Eric Cassell established the distinction between disease and illness by saying "disease … is something an organ has; illness is something a man has." What is meant in this case is that illness refers to feelings that are part of an individual's subjective experience. Illness is typically what sends individuals to the doctor. When the illness, negative feelings and symptoms, abate one considers treatment a success. This incongruity between disease and illness is why doctors advise their patients to complete their fully prescribed dosage of medicines, such as antibiotics. Because illness can disappear before disease, since illness is contingent on the subject experience, one must be vigilant when treating their disease.

The danger of having a disease without an illness, experiencing no symptoms, makes regular check-ups essential for all individuals. The idea of one having an illness without a disease, such as through a psychosomatic process, is a matter of some dispute. Many medical professionals argue that the experiencing of illness, symptoms without the corresponding disease, means that the patient is experiencing a neuro-biological disease that is not yet understood by modern medicine.

Learn more about Conditions & Diseases

Try a quiz

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is the treatment for E. coli?

    A:

    The primary treatment for illness from E. coli is rest and fluids. The Mayo Clinic states that most illnesses caused by E. coli are self-limiting and do not require treatment. However, serious E. coli infections can cause hemolytic uremic syndrome, which does require supportive care in a hospital.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What happens if you have a weak immune system?

    A:

    According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, people who have a weakened immune system become more susceptible to illness and have trouble fighting these illnesses when they occur. Weak immune systems allow bacteria, viruses and other diseases to run through the body unchecked.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the average lifespan for an individual with emphysema?

    A:

    The life expectancy of an individual with emphysema is impossible to determine due to a lack of large studies that have examined the impact of the illness on lifespan, according to WebMD. Generally, people with higher stages of emphysema have lower long-term life expectancies.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How do you care for babies with G6PD deficiency?

    A:

    According to KidsHealth, avoiding triggers, such as illness, painkillers, some antibiotics and some antimalarial drugs, is the preferred treatment for babies with G6PD deficiency, an inherited condition resulting in an insufficient amount of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenise. Caregivers should minimize a G6PD-deficient infant's exposure to illness and review all medications with a health care provider.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore