I originally defined health as the absence of disease, and presence of lifestyle choices, such as exercise and eating right, that aid to the absence of disease. I chose to include the last part because I believe there are people who may not currently have any diseases, but exhibit “unhealthy” behavior that may cause them to develop one in the future. However, I find a problem with my definition because there are also people who may have a disease like asthma or a food allergy but are considered “healthy” in all other aspects, does this disease make them unhealthy?
I defined illness as the presence of a physical or psychological disease. As the activity proceeded I began to question and expand upon this simple definition.
I believe the criteria I used to construct these definitions came largely from what societies definitions for these terms. You usually consider a fit person eating a salad to be healthy rather than the overweight person eating McDonalds. As a society we use assumptions on others behavior or visible symptoms to classify them as healthy or ill.
Cancer jumped out to me as one of the easier on the list to define as an illness. First, because it is a physical disease that displays symptoms. Second, because it is easier to visualize a disease when you can see a tumor and be told the diagnosis because of a test result. This is not to say however that something not as concrete can’t be an illness. Such as chronic fatigue which I also assigned to be an illness. This is not as concrete and thus doesn’t actually follow my original definition. However, when including a patients individual experience with it I found that it could be labeled as one. If a patient experiences it to be so disruptive to their daily life and a cause of great pain, then I do believe it would be considered an illness to that person.