Health – the measure of your physical capabilities and psychological/emotional state.

Illness – anything that can hinder the body or mind from performing its intended natural abilities.


When taking a step back and thinking of the criteria I used for my definitions, I referenced experiences from my life, such as going to the doctor, interaction with family and even from previous coursework. I think anything that stops the body from working the way its supposed to is an illness. I also believe that people sometimes have habits or actions that can lead to illness of the mind and/or the body.


Anxiety – I believe this can be considered an illness because it can affect your mental state and sometimes in extreme cases your physical state. Anxiety by definition (using google and is uneasiness of the mind caused by fear, danger, or worry. For example, this can be taxing on the mind because all you focus on is what you worry about and sometimes when people worry too much they stop eating or start eating too much and are constantly on edge. This then becomes a problem for your physical health too.

Menstruation – I do not consider this a disease because it is a natural occurrence for most women. It is a natural process for the body and although I’m pretty sure some women do not enjoy the side effects it has been explained medically and is necessary for the reproductive cycle. I have heard that some women do not experience period such as those in nomadic tribes in Africa, but they are also said to have low childbirth rates because of their lack of menstruation.

Poverty – I do not consider this an illness, but more of a socioeconomic problem. Living in poverty does not necessarily affect one’s physical state directly. I do, however, think that it can be the cause of illnesses. Poverty can lead to hunger and having no nutrition can cause issues in the body like edema. Poverty can affect mental states.



This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. heilmann says:

    I agree with your view on poverty. It is interesting to even consider it as an illness because I have never thought about it in that sense or from that kind of perspective. I do not think that is an illness but rather an issue that can be associated with one. Poverty itself is not recognized as an illness or a disease of any kind (or at least not that I could find. The state of poverty, however, can lead to all kinds of illness and disease. The article “Poverty and Childhood Chronic Illnesses” notes that children that are in families that are poverty-stricken are at a substantially higher risk of illness. It specifically notes that these poorer children are surrounded with conditions that cause illness or disease that is chronic, which is even more serious. They may also be chronic because they are poor and are not able to afford proper care and do not get proper coverage by the health care system our country has. Therefore, the poverty is not an illness in itself, but it is difficult to classify because it can definitely lead to various types of illnesses as a result of the poor conditions surrounding a person.

    Newacheck, Paul W. “Poverty and childhood chronic illness.” Archives of pediatrics & adolescent medicine 148, no. 11 (1994): 1143-1149.

  2. Alison Johnson says:

    Depression is a large problem throughout the world. Most of the symptoms related to depression remain similar throughout different cultures. These symptoms include being tired, apathy, and loss of appetite. However, in some Asian cultures it is treated differently than how we would deal with it in the United States. For example, there are different explanations given for what is actually going on. In our society we would refer to depression as “being depressed” or “being sad.” In Nigeria it could be explained by having “ants crawling in my brain,” while in China someone may describe it as having exhausted nerves. With any mental illness, including depression, it is hard to know the prevalence rates in other cultures in relation to the US. People may not be as open or willing to go get help for mental illnesses in other cultures. It is unknown if a lower rate of depression among other countries compared to Western places are from a lack of resources and help, or for cause that it would bring the family down in society’s eyes. Mental health still has a stigma attached to it, and it is clear that different places react differently to having an “illness.”

    Peterson. “Depression .” . (accessed July 7, 2014).

  3. Jaana Ashtiani says:

    I find it really interesting that you chose menstruation because that’s something that I was skeptical about myself. I know that a lot of cultures and religions view this process differently than we do in the American Culture. For one thing I know that in my religion of Islam menstruation is not seen as a disease, but those females who are experiencing it are seen as “unclean” and not allowed to perform certain religious rituals such as prayer, entering a Masjid, or fasting during Ramadan. Also, although they are restricted from fasting during the month of Ramadan, they are still required to make up those days that they missed due to their cycle. From further research I found that during this period of menstruation women are not to engage in sexual intercourse and are not to touch the cover of the Quran (the holy book)either. The term used to express the uncleanliness of women is referred to as “najeste.” This idea of dirtiness can be cleansed from the body once the menstruation period is over and the woman has done a ritual cleansing of her body while reciting a prayer. In general, the Islamic religion seems to make the idea of menstruation something that is seen as dirty or damaged.

    Gutterman. “Menstruation Taboos Among Major Religions.” ( Accessed July 6 2014)

    • Nikki Silva says:

      Jaana, it is really interesting how you discussed how menstruation is viewed in Islam. In many other cultures the idea of menstruation is seen as dirty or damaged and some it is viewed as an incredibly important time for women. There is controversy within some Native American groups on menstruation (Moon Time), because women were often not included in the Sweatlodge during this time being viewed as unclean, but they are seen as closer to and feel the effects of the Moon, even seen as experiencing vision quests during this time.

      I think that in America, menstruation is often seen as something secretive. When (some) women go to the store to buy tampons or pads, it is very secretive, or when women need to go to the restroom to change one of these items, it becomes a secretive act; hiding it in your sleeve, bringing your purse with you, hiding them in your pocket. The other side of this though, is advertisement for these products, they are everywhere and yet many women (my self included) still hide these items.

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