I defined health as when your body is working properly and you are free from disease. I consider illness to be when your bodily functions start to falter since you are no longer maintaining homeostasis and systems no longer are able to perform their jobs correctly. I believe that I looked back on personal experience for criteria for these terms. My grandmother was diagnosed with cancer and I knew that she was ill and no longer healthy since a disease had taken over her body and it was not able to function correctly. Later on when I took a biological science course at Michigan State I better understood homeostasis and it’s significance to the definitions of health and illness.
I believe that menstruation should not be considered an illness since it is a normal human function that every woman has. It is mother nature’s way of notifying a woman that she is not pregnant that month. An illness is something that is abnormal, that healthy people do not have. However, menstruation is something that the vast majority of women have (barring those that have certain illnesses that prevent menstruation). It is healthy to have and is an instrumental part of child bearing since if the uterus lining is shed like it is during menstruation then a child is not able to be carried. However, I believe that cancer is an illness since it alters your body’s functions so that it is no longer working properly. For example, when my grandmother had pancreatic cancer she developed diabetes and bronchitis as well. This was due to a tumor on her pancreas as well as tumors in her lungs that prevented normal functions. Her body was out of homeostasis and was spiraling downhill fast—something that does not happen to a healthy, normal person who is free of disease.