Old Age

Without looking for the definition I would define health as the basis for what we as humans describe our overall condition of emotional, physical, and mental well being.  When considering how to define health, I think of how I would use the word and in what context.  The phrase, “how is your health?” comes to mind.  I would use this term when asking someone of their emotional health, physical health, or mental health, hence why I would define it in such a way. 

I think of illness as anything that alters someone’s state of “healthiness”.   I would not consider an illness to have to be something that is medically diagnosed, nor a disease, in fact, I believe that an illness can be completely mental and perhaps exaggerated.  In many and most cases though, illness and disease probably go hand in hand. 

The first condition that I found interesting, and perhaps confrontational, to diagnose is erectile dysfunction.  ED, as it is often know as, has become a huge focus for the pharmaceutical market for men all over the world, however, is it really an illness or is it hyped up by marketing in order to make men think that they are abnormal if they do not have erections as the drop of a dime like when they were 18 years old?  I honestly don’t have any scientific knowledge on the topic to back it up, however, I do believe that it can indeed be an illness for men.  (I would love to say the opposite just to stir up conversation.)  Whether or not they have a medical problem, if they mentally psyc themselves into thinking that they do, than this does in fact effect their state of well being both mentally, and the stress of not being able to perform could effect them emotionally as well. 

The second condition that I chose to discuss is old age.  How interesting to bring this up.  I would absolutely not consider this to be a disease; however that was not the question.  So is it an illness, well, according to my own definition, I would say yes.  As a person ages, their physical well being most definitely deteriorates, although with possibly their mental state.  These would label it as an illness, although I would never had considered it to be prior to this exercise.  I suppose it would also depend on the comparison.  Is it fair to compare an aging person to the same health levels as someone in their prime of health?  Or is health only comparable to one’s age?  I think that this condition brought up more questions for me than answers to be honest, and would love to hear others input on the topic.  I suppose the law background in me, likes to bring up the pros and cons and antagonize a discussion.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Tyler Kavanagh says:

    Hey, after reading your post I found it very entertaining bringing up many questions that could be asked of definitions as well as each condition you chose to elaborate on. I too agree with your discussion about Erectile Dysfunction, to me that is a illness for the same reasons you described, in that physically there is something wrong with blood flow, as well as it could definitely mess with that persons mental status.
    As for old age, I could see this one going both ways. I personally said it wasn’t because the aging process is one that seems natural and something that everyone goes through, but I do agree that some people react to it different from a mental state. Going off what you said about their mental state possibly deteriorating, I did a little bit of research into it and sometimes old age can boost peoples morals as a sign of power in many cultures. Also as said in the research old age can be a time of “contentment, peace, relaxation, toleration, reflection, and the freedom to do what you want” (Fry, 114). But honestly I could see both point of views when it comes to the aging process.

    Fry, Christine L., Jeanette Dickerson-Putman, Patricia Draper, Charlotte Ikels, Jennie Keith, Anthony P. Glascock, and Henry C. Harpending. “Culture and the meaning of a good old age.” The cultural context of aging: Worldwide perspectives (1997): 99-123.

  2. Rebecca Chockley says:

    Like you, I think erectile dysfunction is an illness. Many men suffer from the inability to achieve or maintain an erection. There could be many reasons why this condition may be occurring, but for many it is a real problem. In America this is often a blood flow issue associated with high blood pressure. In China, erectile dysfunction is seen as an illness that can be treated and dietary supplements are a common method of treatment. Some additives are more controversial than others. Tiger penis soup is a traditional cure that has greater environmental implications. There are many other foods that are purported to have beneficial effects though. “Adding lamb, chicken, chicken livers, shrimp, leek, walnut, and pistachio to the diet can all help warm the kidneys and invigorate yang and thus treat impotence.”(Gang & Sionneau, p.4) From what I gathered, impotence is thought of in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to result from a lack of yang or a blockage of qi in the penis. Yang seems to come from the kidneys. Warming the kidneys is believed to increase yang and therefore cures the afflicted of his impotence.

    Gang, Lu & Sionneau, Philippe, “Diseases of the Urogential System & Proctology,” The Treatment of Disease in TCM vol 6 (1999).

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