Illness and Disease

  • Is a personal state in which the person feels unhealthy.
  • Illness is a state in which a person’s physical, emotional, intellectual, social, developmental, or spiritual functioning is diminished or impaired compared with previous experience.
  • Illness is not synonymous with disease.
  • An alteration in body function resulting in reduction of capacities or a shortening of the normal life span.
Common Causes of Disease
  1. Biologic agent – e.g. microorganism
  2. Inherited genetic defects – e.g. cleft palate
  3. Developmental defects – e.g. imperforate anus
  4. Physical agents – e.g. radiation, hot and cold substances, ultraviolet rays
  5. Chemical agents – e.g. lead, asbestos, carbon monoxide
  6. Tissue response to irritations/injury – e.g. inflammation, fever
  7. Faulty chemical/metabolic process – e.g. inadequate insulin in diabetes
  8. Emotional/physical reaction to stress – e.g. fear, anxiety
Stages of Illness
  1. Symptoms Experience– experience some symptoms, person believes something is wrong 3 aspects –physical, cognitive, emotional
  2. Assumption of Sick Role – acceptance of illness, seeks advice
  3. Medical Care Contact– Seeks advice to professionals for validation of real illness, explanation of symptoms, reassurance or predict of outcome
  4. Dependent Patient Role
    • The person becomes a client dependent on the health professional for help.
    • Accepts/rejects health professional’s suggestions.
    • Becomes more passive and accepting.
  5. Recovery/Rehabilitation – Gives up the sick role and returns to former roles and functions.
Risk Factors of a Disease
  1. Genetic and Physiological Factors
    • For example, a person with a family history of diabetes mellitus, is at risk in developing the disease later in life.
  2. Age
    • Age increases and decreases susceptibility ( risk of heart diseases increases with age for both sexes
  3. Environment
    • The physical environment in which a person works or lives can increase the likelihood that certain illnesses will occur.
  4. Lifestyle
    • Lifestyle practices and behaviors can also have positive or negative effects on health.
Classification of Diseases

1. According to Etiologic Factors

  1. Hereditary – due to defect in the genes of one or other parent which is transmitted to the offspring
  2. Congenital – due to a defect in the development, hereditary factors, or prenatal infection
  3. Metabolic – due to disturbances or abnormality in the intricate processes of metabolism.
  4. Deficiency – results from inadequate intake or absorption of essential dietary factor.
  5. Traumatic– due to injury
  6. Allergic – due to abnormal response of the body to chemical and protein substances or to physical stimuli.
  7. Neoplastic – due to abnormal or uncontrolled growth of cell.
  8. Idiopathic –Cause is unknown; self-originated; of spontaneous origin
  9. Degenerative –Results from the degenerative changes that occur in the tissue and organs.
  10. Latrogenic – result from the treatment of the disease

2. According to Duration or Onset

  • Acute Illness – An acute illness usually has a short duration and is severe. Signs and symptoms appear abruptly, intense and often subside after a relatively short period.
  • Chronic Illness – chronic illness usually longer than 6 months, and can also affects functioning in any dimension. The client may fluctuate between maximal functioning and serious relapses and may be life threatening. Is characterized by remission and exacerbation.
    • Remission– periods during which the disease is controlled and symptoms are not obvious.
    • Exacerbations – The disease becomes more active given again at a future time, with recurrence of pronounced symptoms.
  • Sub-Acute – Symptoms are pronounced but more prolonged than the acute disease.

3. Disease may also be Described as:

  1. Organic – results from changes in the normal structure, from recognizable anatomical changes in an organ or tissue of the body.
  2. Functional – no anatomical changes are observed to account from the symptoms present, may result from abnormal response to stimuli.
  3. Occupational – Results from factors associated with the occupation engage in by the patient.
  4. Venereal – usually acquired through sexual relation
  5. Familial – occurs in several individuals of the same family
  6. Epidemic – attacks a large number of individuals in the community at the same time. (E.g. SARS)
  7. Endemic – Presents more or less continuously or recurs in a community. (E.g. malaria, goiter)
  8. Pandemic –An epidemic which is extremely widespread involving an entire country or continent.
  9. Sporadic – a disease in which only occasional cases occur. (E.g. dengue, leptospirosis)