W1 Activity: Old Age

For this activity I chose old age because it unintentionally fell into my definition of an illness although I wouldn’t personally define it as an illness.  My definition of illness was “any change that can disrupt the functioning of the human body”.  This definition is derived from not knowing the differences between sickness, disease, and illness and thinking that these terms could be used interchangeably.  My definition was also shaped by a societal perspective in which illness is seen as specifically disease oriented, such as the flu and the fever compared to mental disorders.  My parents are both nurses and I always looked into illness in a one track mindset so it is a bit eye opening to see how my definition fits in with all the different statuses of the human body.

I shaped my definition of illness to be pretty much opposite of my definition of health.  My idea of health was “a state of the human body where all body functions are working normally to working super efficiently.”  This definition once again comes from a societal image of the word “health” where fitness models with six pack abs and toned muscles come to mind.  I was once a larger individual until I started working out Freshman year of college so this image is implanted in my mind.  In a way, old age fits the first part of my definition because of the possibility of having a fully functional body and being older as well.  My definition once again didn’t really account for the complexity of the human body.

Along with old age, two different statuses that came to mind from the video was erectile dysfunction and infertility because these two are definitely irregularities within the human body but it’s hard to categorize them as specifically an illness.  A more thorough definition of illness is the “human experience and perceptions of alterations in health, as informed by its broader social and cultural contexts” and this definition gives off a more complex look into these two conditions.  Because of the human experience part of the definition, a subjective view can be applied to the two and I would most probably categorize them as illnesses because of the disruption of body functions.  This also coincides with my earlier definition of illness.

2 thoughts on “W1 Activity: Old Age

  1. Hi, Ronald
    I really like your activity post about defining illness and disease. I also like how you define the old age relates to erectile dysfunction and infertility. After I did some research about African culture on old aging, I find that older people in Africa tend to have higher severe diseases such as HIV and AIDS because of poor living environment, lack of health care support and spreading from parents or other neighbors in many countries in Africa. Because of having higher rate of HIV and AIDS for older people in Africa, the life expectancy of Africa decreased from 62 years to 48 years as the time went by. In addition, for social security system in Africa is very limited and unfair because country only provides social security system to old people who had high-waged income, but not for people who had lower income and who run their own company or store. Because of all sorts of problem, people recommend researching more about old aging in Africa to help old people in Africa for their fair and healthy life. I personally think that helping poor countries’ or continents’ old people for their well-being is also important thing to keep in mind.

    Barney, Cohen, “Aging in sub-saharan africa: recommendation for furthering research..” 2006, http://www. Ncbi. Nlm. Nih. Gov/books/nbk20296/ (Accessed May 24,2015).

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