Diseases are the archenemy of medical professionals everywhere. Whether the diseases are contracted genetically, infectiously, or developed, disease can affect any body at any time. A disease is a condition of an organism, out of the ordinary, that negatively affects bodily functions. Symptoms and signs are the common indicators.
Disease can be caused by external factors or internal dysfunctions. Infectious diseases are caused by external factors, usually from pathogenic microbial agents such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, or prions. These different pathogens are responsible for causing diseases in animals and plants. Infectious diseases are called infectious because of their tendency to be highly contagious.
Internal dysfunctions, such as auto-immune diseases. An auto-immune disease is a disease cause by an overactive immune response of the body. Auto-immune disease causes the body to attack itself, and requires immunosuppression medication that decreases the immune response.
When specifically used regarding human beings, the word disease often refers to any condition that causes pain, distress, social problems, or death. In other words, diseases are harmful conditions to the body.
There are many terms that are strongly associated with diseases, whether that is a disorder, infection, or illness. The rest of this article will aim to list and define these different disease terms to, hopefully, clear up confusion or misuse.
The word infection is used when a disease is an abnormal condition that impairs normal function of the body. For example, infectious diseases are the most common type of infection. An infection is usually the result of a pathogenic agent such as a virus, bacteria, or other pathogen. Non-infectious diseases are all diseases that are not infectious. Cancer, heart disease, and genetic disease are good examples of diseases considered non-infectious.
The term illness, or sickness, is often referred to the patient’s experience of his or her disease. While it is often used interchangeably with disease, an illness does not necessarily require the presence of a disease. Conversely, a disease does not necessarily require the patient to be ill. A patient can feel ill, or sick, for a multitude of other reasons.
Disorder is defined as an abnormality or disturbance in function. There are many different medical disorders, usually separated into the categories of: mental disorders, physical disorders, genetic disorders, and functional disorders. The word disorder is both less stigmatizing and broad than the word disease and, therefore, is used often.
4. Medical Condition
The term medical condition describes all diseases and disorders, and also includes injuries and normal health situations that affect a person’s overall health. It is the most broad term associated with disease, and can refer to almost anything. Often times, the term is used to describe all diseases and disorders that are not mental. The term “medical” can then be seen as the flip side of the term “mental.” It can also be used to describe the medical state of a patient.
Morbidity usually refers to poor health due to any cause. It describes the existence of disease or the degree that the condition affects the patient.