When I first tried to define health and illness in my own words, I struggled to distinguish between the two. After going through the conditions and determining whether they were an illness or health I successfully came to a conclusion.

My definition of health is not having a disease or an illness. Also, health pertains to someone’s mental and physical conditions. Health means for the body, physically and mentally, to be working together correctly. On the other hand, illness is where the body and mind are impacted negatively, thus the body is not able to work in sync.

My idea of health and illness mainly come from the media. The media is constantly trying to portray what is meant to be healthy and what is not. For example, many commercials will say that you need to eat  a certain amount of servings of fruits and vegetables each day to be “healthy.” But what if the person needs more then the recommended serving for their body to work properly and be healthy? In addition to the media, I find personal experience to play a role in our ideas of health and illness. Having studied human biology and taken many classes on the human body, many of my ideas come from the classes I have taken such as physiology and anatomy.

Insomnia is an unhealthy state, which I find to be an illness. Insomnia is a disorder, which interrupts someone’s normal sleep cycle. Insomnia is caused by an imbalance of hormones and chemicals in the body.  Many treatments aim to normalize this imbalance.

Menstruation is a healthy state.  Menstruation is part of a normal female monthly cycle. Regardless of the pain women may feel during this cycle, it is still not considered a negative or abnormal phenomenon. It produces normal bodily chemicals that allow women to stay healthy. For example, the hormone estrogen helps maintain strong bones.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. howarde6 says:

    In response to Francesca’s post about insomnia, I have done research on what some techniques the Chinese culture would go about to treat insomnia. Chinese medicine has used alternative medicine such as acupuncture, craniosacral therapy, or taking Chinese herbs to cure insomnia. The Chinese believe the problems of insomnia and many other conditions are brought on upon by body imbalances. “Insomnia is the result of imbalanced chi, involving multiple organ and meridian systems” (Yang February 20, 2012). Acupuncture is one of the oldest medical practices around today. By stimulating the body by placing thin medal needles into the area of interest, acupuncture has been known to cure many conditions, including insomnia, by balancing out the internal body systems. Along with acupuncture, Chinese herbal remedies have been used to treat insomnia. Unlike modern Western medicine, that may just diagnose with a specific pill, potentially varying in dosage, traditional Chinese medicine is very customized for each case. When seeking help for insomnia in the traditional Chinese medical field, the cure is bound to be different for everyone. Cures will consist of varying amounts of acupuncture and herbs recommended by the specialist. Treating insomnia will not only help with sleep, but will improve overall quality of life.

    Yang, . The Epoch Times, “Say Good-Bye to Insomnia.” Last modified February 20, 2012.

  2. Thuy-Tien Giap says:

    Hi Bignasci,
    I like your definition of health and illness because they are similar to my own- and perhaps this is due to the source (media) that helped us define these terms.

    I agree with you that insomnia is an illness. Lack of sleep puts people in a bad mood, and doesn’t it cause more auto accidents compared to DUI?

    Here, I want to use the official symptoms Mayo Clinic provided. They are: irritability, depression/anxiety, tension headaches, gastrointestinal symptoms, difficulty paying attention and focusing of the task, along with increase errors/accidents. It also affects one’s mental capacities.

    Studies showed that insomnia has negative impacts on several aspects of daytime functions and is the reason that people seek medical attention.

    According a book by Eluned Summers-Bremmer titled ‘Insomnia: A Cultural History’, staying awake has a history aspect associated with world power. He discussed that wakefulness or ‘vigilance’ is an attribute of a successful nation that wants to keep its top position in the world. He mentioned a quote Malonson made regarding the incident of 9/11 in the US. The blame of the tragedy was put on the guards for having been asleep. It was noted that after the event, the people with difficulty falling asleep doubled, which I conclude to be from fear of being under attack again.

    It was interesting that insomnia is linked to Westernization. Bremmer went on to say that insomnia results from our urge to get things done. It is also from more activities we are engaged in (eg. watch TV, text, surf internet), and late work shifts. Insomnia creates a surplus of thought, and technology creates surplus in information..of which we don’t know what to do with them.

    My source was from a chapter excerpt, and it was quite lengthy! Some points I mentioned were ones I found particularly interesting, hope you’ll be enlightened as I was =).

    1.) Summers-Bremmer, Eluned. “Insomnia: A Cultural History.” In The Wall Street Journal, 2008. Accessed July 3, 2013.

    2.) “Insomnia”, Mayo Clinic, Accessed July 3, 2013.

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