Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is a condition that is capable of preventing or delaying the development of a disease or its symptoms. A wide variety of definitions are used for these purposes over the years. However, there is one that is often used to define the condition that is recognized internationally as the ideal health state. The definition asserts that good health is having “the ability to experience and perform all of the normal bodily functions.”
There are several illnesses that fit into this definition, including: chronic pain, blindness, deafness, cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, kidney or liver diseases, menstrual disorders, pregnancy, fertility problems, gastrointestinal disorders, menstrual disorders, stress, aging, infectious diseases, AIDS, cancer, and anemia. Some of these conditions are often interrelated, and some can even be symptoms of another illness. This explains the use of several other illness and disease definitions. For example, a woman may suffer from “peripheral neuropathy” if her nerves are damaged in a specific area of the body. She may have peripheral neuropathy if she has diabetes, for example, and her diabetes can cause peripheral neuropathy as well.
Unfortunately, “good health” is an exceedingly vague term, and what is regarded as good health by one doctor may be considered hazardous by another. This makes obtaining proper diagnosis and treatments very difficult. For example, a definition of “permanent” illness as “the absence of any cancer after a specific period of time” can vary from practitioner to practitioner, and may not necessarily mean complete absence from cancer.
The third definition, a disease or illness with no cure, provides some hope that the problem can be treated and healed. This definition can help those who suffer from a disease that has no cure find relief from their symptoms. However, those with incurable disease or illness can sometimes get some benefits from the third definition. In this case, “disease” could be interpreted as “expectant parents struggle with labor.” The first two definitions are obvious examples.
When a person has a disease or illness that is not curable, it may be possible to gain some benefit from the third definition. For example, a patient with Crohn’s disease might benefit from information regarding how her bowel movements affect her health. If her bowel movements are irregular, this might lead to abdominal pain and discomfort, which could lead to anorexia. The lack of knowledge about how her bowel functions might lead to more appropriate dietary nutrition and lifestyle changes.
These are some common examples of how definitions change when a condition is not necessarily life-threatening or curable. The lack of exact precision makes it difficult to establish the absolute relationship between a certain symptom and a certain disease. Still, the existence of such qualms is often inconvenient. People suffering from diseases and conditions that might lead to symptoms similar to other diseases and conditions should be able to accept the fact that they do have these conditions and should be prepared to face whatever consequence might result from them. A patient who does not accept the existence of such symptoms is likely to suffer from self-diagnosis, which is nothing but an unreliable means of arriving at the correct diagnosis. This mistake could either lead to unnecessary complications or to a positive identification of a different condition than what one has already got.