W5 Reflection: healthy/sick

When I think of the culture of biomedicine I link it to how people in a particular culture view medicine/health. In more terms for some cultures they view medicine as a bad thing were in others it is something that can save your life. In many cultures they do not take medicines because they view it as something that weakens your body. In the western medicine we see it as a saver, example being penicillin to save the body from illness. Overall this is an important concept because your culture shapes the way you view biomedicine. Also not having the resources to get health care is another factor of how biomedicine can be sectionalizing within groups like the poor and rich.

The dichotomy I chose to analyze is healthy and sick because I think the way people view the two is very different. I view health as the internal and mental state of a person and how they feel, meaning if they feel and believe they are health then they are. Others may view it as being physically healthy inside and out without any care into how the person feels. Being sick to some can mean having being diagnosed by a doctor with a recognizable illness. I don’t agree with this western biomedicine term either, I think being sick is feeling ill even without a doctor telling you or agreeing with you.

I think this dichotomy is accepted in western society because they are complete opposite of each other and without one there is no way to have the other. We could not define sick if we don’t know what health is. Also in western medicine they both have broad definitions that contradict each other. An example being having a mental illness that can’t be real because it’s not the flu. Yet mental illness can be diagnosed and fixed, while the flu can sometime not be cured.

3 thoughts on “W5 Reflection: healthy/sick

  1. Hi Dejonia,

    I found your post on the culture of biomedicine and healthy/sick dichotomy to be very informative and interesting and you did a good job of explaining it. When you were discussing how biomedicine is viewed differently among different cultures I found that to be very true in terms of certain cultures viewing medicine as a bad thing and others seeing it as something that can save your life. This is an interesting concept to analyze given the nature of how the people handle their health when they are in situations where they need to consider being treated by a professional and make the decision to seek help/to not seek help. I also found your definition of health to be very interesting and I agree with your idea that the way an individual views their health plays a significant role in how healthy they are to a certain extent. When an individual feels that they are healthy mentally and physically, they most often are healthy to the best of their knowledge and don’t have to worry about falsely diagnosing themselves with an illness due to their strong mindset. However, even if you are strong minded and confident that you are healthy based off of the way you feel mentally and physically, you still could have some underlying conditions that may not be presenting symptoms that are noticeable and therefore would make you considered to not be all the way “healthy”. I also agree with your viewpoint on how in western medicine we often overlook conditions that have not been studied enough to be classified as a certain disease or illness because it can’t be diagnosed or treated. Some of these conditions are very serious and cripple peoples lives and need be studied more so that these people can receive the treatment that they deserve.

  2. Hello,
    The dichotomy of healthy and sick has always been very arguable. Since our society measures illness and health biomedically, if one’s body system is not operating according to the confines that have been established as “standard” or “healthy” you are considered “ill” and everyone becomes alarmed and seeks to “treat” you. However, having a standard for each person’s body system to operate within is not so reasonable and it is quite possibly the reason why everyone is really hesitant to even consider themselves healthy. We are always under the impression that illness is hovering over us. We say, “Wash your hands our you’ll get sick.” Others may say, “Wear a coat or you’ll catch a cold.” What I think of when I think of this dichotomy of healthy vs. sick is worrying us sick! People are hesitant to even go to the doctor because it seems our health goes into a downward spiral when we’re under the microscope. So what is the implication for health practitioners? Maybe we should treat patients on an individual basis. Maybe separating the idea of healthy and sick based upon a set standard (for everyone) and taking unnecessary action on someone who is not necessarily “ill” is not in the best interest of the patient! Setting this standard of what’s considered healthy and what’s considered ill leaves a lot of people on the unhealthy end of the spectrum. Altering one’s natural process t achieve this set standard of “healthy” is not always best or practical for the individual.

  3. Hello,

    Thank you for shedding light on the dichotomy of healthy and sick! I share many of the same opinions as you.

    I believe many people have very close minded definitions of healthy and sick, that is until it comes to their own well being and health. When referring to someone else, many people (especially in western biomedicine), view “healthy” as everything inside the human body is working normally. Those same people view “sick” as a diagnosed problem with the human body proven by certain test results.

    When it comes to the health of themselves, I think their definitions expand to cover more criteria. This sounds selfish, and maybe it partially is, but I think it is a natural response because it is easier to understand and explain your own feelings than to relate to another person’s. The term health expands to include not only the body, but also the mind, soul, and general mood for the day. The term sick expands to include not only medical diagnoses, but also feeling ill for a few days with a headache perhaps.

    I think it is extremely important for clinicians to understand this dichotomy, and to understand how broad it really is. Clinicians cannot have a closed mind when it comes to patients saying they are either healthy or sick. In order to get a full and complete diagnosis and treatment plan, it is necessary for the clinician to take into account more than only test results, but to listen to the other details that the patient offers.

    If a clinician takes this dichotomy as fact, it is possible they could miss major aspects of the patient’s complaints or illness. Although there are certainly some areas of medicine that are black and white, when it comes to patient care, clinicians must be careful to remember that each patient is different and requires close listening in order to correctly diagnose.

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