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A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the
structure A structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in a material object or system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A ...

structure
or
function Function or functionality may refer to: Computing * Function key A function key is a key on a computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern comp ...
of all or part of an organism, and that is not due to any immediate external injury. Diseases are often known to be medical conditions that are associated with specific
signs and symptoms Signs and symptoms are the observed or detectable signs, and experienced symptoms of an illness, injury, or condition. A sign for example may be a higher or lower temperature than normal, raised or lowered blood pressure or an abnormality showi ...
. A disease may be caused by external factors such as
pathogen In biology, a pathogen ( el, πάθος, "suffering", "passion" and , "producer of") in the oldest and broadest sense, is any organism that can produce disease. A pathogen may also be referred to as an infectious agent, or simply a Germ theory ...
s or by internal dysfunctions. For example, internal dysfunctions of the
immune system The immune system is a network of biological processes that protects an organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ''organismos'') is any individual contiguous system that embodies the Life#Biolog ...
can produce a variety of different diseases, including various forms of
immunodeficiency Immunodeficiency, also known as immunocompromisation, is a state in which the immune system The immune system is a network of biological processes that protects an organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργα ...
,
hypersensitivity Hypersensitivity (also called hypersensitivity reaction or intolerance) refers to undesirable reactions produced by the normal immune system, including allergies and autoimmunity. They are usually referred to as an over-reaction of the immune sy ...
,
allergies Allergies, also known as allergic diseases, are a number of conditions caused by hypersensitivity Hypersensitivity (also called hypersensitivity reaction or intolerance) refers to undesirable reactions produced by the normal immune system, i ...

allergies
and
autoimmune disorders An autoimmune disease is a condition arising from an abnormal immune response to a functioning body part. There are at least 80 types of autoimmune diseases. Nearly any body part can be involved. Common symptoms include low grade fever and feeli ...
. In humans, ''disease'' is often used more broadly to refer to any condition that causes
pain Pain is a distressing feeling often caused by intense or damaging stimuli. The defines pain as "an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with, or resembling that associated with, actual or potential tissue damage." In medical ...
,
dysfunction Dysfunction can refer to: * Abnormality (behavior) * Dysfunctional family * Sexual dysfunction * Dysfunction (album), ''Dysfunction'' (album), an album by the rock band Staind * Manifest and latent functions and dysfunctions (sociological theory) * ...
, distress,
social problems A social issue is a problem that affects many people within a society. It is a group of common problems in present-day society and ones that many people strive to solve. It is often the consequence of factors extending beyond an individual's con ...
, or
death Death is the permanent, irreversible cessation of all biological functions that sustain a living Living or The Living may refer to: Common meanings *Life, a condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organi ...

death
to the person afflicted, or similar problems for those in contact with the person. In this broader sense, it sometimes includes
injuries Injury, also known as physical trauma, is damage to the body caused by external force. This may be caused by accidents, falls, hits, weapons, and other causes. Major trauma is injury that has the potential to cause prolonged disability or deat ...

injuries
,
disabilities A disability is any condition that makes it more difficult for a person to do certain activities or effectively interact with the world around them (socially or materially). These conditions, or impairments, may be cognitive Cognition () ...

disabilities
, disorders,
syndrome A syndrome is a set of medical signs and symptoms Signs and symptoms are the observed or detectable signs, and experienced symptoms of an illness, injury, or condition. A sign for example may be a higher or lower temperature than normal, rais ...
s,
infection An infection is the invasion of an organism's body by , their multiplication, and the reaction of tissues to the infectious agents and the s they produce. An infectious disease, also known as a transmissible disease or communicable disease, i ...

infection
s, isolated
symptom Signs and symptoms are the observed or detectable signs, and experienced symptoms of an illness, injury, or condition. A sign for example may be a higher or lower temperature than normal, raised or lowered blood pressure or an abnormality showi ...
s, deviant
behavior Behavior (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, American English ...
s, and atypical
variations Variation or Variations may refer to: Science and mathematics * Variation (astronomy), any perturbation of the mean motion or orbit of a planet or satellite, particularly of the moon * Genetic variation, the difference in DNA among individuals ...
of structure and function, while in other contexts and for other purposes these may be considered distinguishable categories. Diseases can affect people not only physically, but also mentally, as contracting and living with a disease can alter the affected person's perspective on life. Death due to disease is called
death by natural causes In many legal jurisdictions Jurisdiction (from Latin ''Wikt:ius#Latin, juris'' 'law' + ''Wikt:dictio, dictio'' 'declaration') is the legal term for the authority granted to a legal entity to enact justice. Colloquially it is used to refer to t ...
. There are four main types of disease: infectious diseases,
deficiency disease Malnutrition is 'a state of nutrition in which a deficiency or excess (or imbalance) of energy, protein and other nutrients causes measurable adverse effect on tissue and body form (body shape, size and composition) and function and clinical out ...
s,
hereditary diseases A genetic disorder is a health problem caused by one or more abnormalities in the genome. It can be caused by a mutation in a single gene (monogenic) or multiple genes (polygenic) or by a chromosomal abnormality. Although polygenic disorders a ...
(including both
genetic diseases A genetic disorder is a health problem caused by one or more abnormalities in the genome. It can be caused by a mutation in a single gene In biology, a gene (from ''genos'' "...Wilhelm Johannsen coined the word gene to describe the Men ...
and non-genetic hereditary diseases), and physiological diseases. Diseases can also be classified in other ways, such as communicable versus non-communicable diseases. The deadliest diseases in humans are
coronary artery disease Coronary artery disease (CAD), also called coronary heart disease (CHD), ischemic heart disease (IHD), or simply heart disease, involves the reduction of blood flow to the heart muscle Cardiac muscle (also called heart muscle or myocardium) is ...
(blood flow obstruction), followed by
cerebrovascular disease Cerebrovascular disease includes a variety of medical Medicine is the science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Taxonomy (general), organizes know ...
and
lower respiratory infections Lower may refer to: * Lower (surname) * Lower Township, New Jersey *Lower Receiver (firearms) * Lower Wick Gloucestershire, England See also * Nizhny {{Disambiguation ...
. In developed countries, the diseases that cause the most sickness overall are
neuropsychiatric conditions A mental disorder, also called a mental illness or psychiatric disorder, is a behavioral or mental pattern that causes significant distress or impairment of personal functioning. Such features may be persistent, relapsing and remitting, or oc ...
, such as
depression Depression may refer to: Mental health * Depression (mood), a state of low mood and aversion to activity * Mood disorders characterized by depression are commonly referred to as simply ''depression'', including: ** Dysthymia ** Major depressive ...
and
anxiety Anxiety is an emotion Emotions are mental state, psychological states brought on by neurophysiology, neurophysiological changes, variously associated with thoughts, feelings, behavioural responses, and a degree of pleasure or suffering, disp ...
. The study of disease is called ''
pathology Pathology is the study of the causesCauses, or causality, is the relationship between one event and another. It may also refer to: * Causes (band), an indie band based in the Netherlands * Causes (company), an online company See also * Cau ...
'', which includes the study of ''etiology'', or cause.


Terminology


Concepts

In many cases, terms such as ''disease'', ''disorder'', ''morbidity'', ''sickness'' and ''illness'' are used interchangeably; however, there are situations when specific terms are considered preferable. ;Disease :The term ''disease'' broadly refers to any condition that impairs the normal functioning of the body. For this reason, diseases are associated with the dysfunction of the body's normal homeostatic processes. Commonly, the term is used to refer specifically to
infectious disease An infection is the invasion of an organism's body tissues by disease-causing agents, their multiplication, and the reaction of host A host is a person responsible for guests at an event or for providing hospitality during it. Host may ...
s, which are clinically evident diseases that result from the presence of
pathogenic In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanisms, ...
microbial agents, including viruses,
bacteria Bacteria (; common noun bacteria, singular bacterium) are ubiquitous, mostly free-living organisms often consisting of one Cell (biology), biological cell. They constitute a large domain (biology), domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typ ...

bacteria
,
fungi A fungus (plural The plural (sometimes abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full ...

fungi
, protozoa, multicellular organisms, and aberrant proteins known as
prion Prions are misfolded protein Protein folding is the physical process Physical changes are changes affecting the form of a chemical substance A chemical substance is a form of matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matte ...

prion
s. An
infection An infection is the invasion of an organism's body by , their multiplication, and the reaction of tissues to the infectious agents and the s they produce. An infectious disease, also known as a transmissible disease or communicable disease, i ...

infection
or
colonization Colonization, or colonisation refers to large-scale population movements where the migrants maintain strong links with their—or their ancestors'—former country, gaining significant privileges over other inhabitants of the territory by such l ...
that does not and will not produce clinically evident impairment of normal functioning, such as the presence of the normal
bacteria and yeasts in the gut Bacteria (; common noun bacteria, singular bacterium) are a type of Cell (biology), biological cell. They constitute a large domain (biology), domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a Bacte ...
, or of a
passenger virusA passenger virus is a virus A virus is a submicroscopic infectious agent that Viral replication, replicates only inside the living Cell (biology), cells of an organism. Viruses infect all types of life forms, from animals and plants to mic ...
, is not considered a disease. By contrast, an infection that is asymptomatic during its
incubation period Incubation period (also known as the latent period or latency period) is the time elapsed between exposure to a pathogenic In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical st ...
, but expected to produce symptoms later, is usually considered a disease.
Non-infectious disease A non-communicable disease (NCD) is a disease that is not transmissible directly from one person to another. NCDs include Parkinson's disease Parkinson's disease (PD), or simply Parkinson's, is a chronic condition, long-term neurodegeneration ...
s are all other diseases, including most forms of
cancer Cancer is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. These contrast with benign tumor A benign tumor is a mass of cells Cell most often refers to: * Cell (biolo ...

cancer
,
heart disease Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a class of diseases that involve the heart or blood vessels. CVD includes coronary artery diseases (CAD) such as angina pectoris, angina and myocardial infarction (commonly known as a heart attack). Other CVDs inc ...
, and
genetic disease A genetic disorder is a health problem caused by one or more abnormalities in the genome In the fields of molecular biology and genetics, a genome is all genetic information of an organism. It consists of nucleotide sequences of DNA ( ...
. ;Acquired disease :An acquired disease is one that began at some point during one's lifetime, as opposed to disease that was already present at birth, which is
congenital disease A birth defect, also known as a congenital disorder, is a condition present at birth Birth is the act or process of bearing or bringing forth offspring, also referred to in technical contexts as parturition. In mammals, the process is initiate ...
. ''Acquired'' sounds like it could mean "caught via contagion", but it simply means acquired sometime after birth. It also sounds like it could imply secondary disease, but acquired disease can be primary disease. ;Acute disease :An acute disease is one of a short-term nature (
acute Acute may refer to: Science and technology * Acute angle ** Acute triangle ** Acute, a leaf shape in the glossary of leaf morphology#acute, glossary of leaf morphology * Acute (medicine), a disease that it is of short duration and of recent onset. ...
); the term sometimes also connotes a
fulminant Fulminant () is a medical descriptor for any event or process that occurs suddenly and escalates quickly, and is intense and severe to the point of lethality, i.e., it has an explosive An explosive (or explosive material) is a reactive substanc ...
nature ;Chronic condition or chronic disease :A
chronic disease A chronic condition is a human health Health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being Well-being, also known as ''wellness'', ''prudential value'' or ''quality of life'', refers to what is intrinsically valuable relative ''to'' ...
is one that persists over time, often characterized as at least six months but may also include illnesses that are expected to last for the entirety of one's natural life. ;Congenital disorder or congenital disease : A
congenital disorder A birth defect, also known as a congenital disorder, is a condition present at birth Birth is the act or process of bearing or bringing forth offspring, also referred to in technical contexts as parturition. In mammals, the process is initiat ...
is one that is present at
birth Birth is the act or process of bearing or bringing forth offspring, also referred to in technical contexts as parturition. In mammals, the process is initiated by hormones which cause the muscular walls of the uterus to contract, expelling the fe ...

birth
. It is often a genetic disease or disorder and can be
inherited
inherited
. It can also be the result of a
vertically transmitted infection A vertically transmitted infection is an infection An infection is the invasion of an organism's body tissues by disease-causing agents, their multiplication, and the reaction of host A host is a person responsible for guests at an eve ...
from the mother, such as
HIV/AIDS Human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) is a spectrum of conditions caused by infection An infection is the invasion of an organism's body by , their multiplication, and the reaction of ...
. ;Genetic disease :A genetic disorder or disease is caused by one or more genetic
mutation In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechan ...
s. It is often inherited, but some mutations are random and
de novo In general usage, ''de novo'' (literally 'of new') is Latin expression used in English to mean 'from the beginning', 'anew'. De novo may also refer to: Biology * ''De novo'', mutation, an alteration in a gene that is present for the first time in ...
. ;Hereditary or inherited disease :A hereditary disease is a type of genetic disease caused by genetic mutations that are
hereditary Heredity, also called inheritance or biological inheritance, is the passing on of traits Trait may refer to: * Phenotypic trait in biology, which involve genes and characteristics of organisms * Trait (computer programming), a model for str ...

hereditary
(and can run in families) ;Iatrogenic disease :An iatrogenic disease or condition is one that is caused by medical intervention, whether as a side effect of a treatment or as an inadvertent outcome. ;Idiopathic disease :An
idiopathic disease An idiopathic disease is any disease A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure or function of all or part of an organism, and that is not due to any immediate external injury. Diseases are often k ...
has an unknown cause or source. As medical science has advanced, many diseases with entirely unknown causes have had some aspects of their sources explained and therefore shed their idiopathic status. For example, when germs were discovered, it became known that they were a cause of infection, but particular germs and diseases had not been linked. In another example, it is known that
autoimmunity Autoimmunity is the system of immune responses of an organism against its own healthy cells, tissues and other body normal constituents. Any disease that results from such an aberrant immune response is termed an "autoimmune disease An autoimmu ...
is the cause of some forms of
diabetes mellitus type 1 Type 1 diabetes (T1D), previously known as juvenile diabetes, is an autoimmune disease An autoimmune disease is a condition arising from an abnormal immune response to a functioning body part. There are at least 80 types of autoimmune diseases ...
, even though the particular molecular pathways by which it works are not yet understood. It is also common to know certain factors are
associatedAssociated may refer to: *Associated, former name of Avon, Contra Costa County, California *Associated Hebrew Schools of Toronto, a school in Canada *Associated Newspapers, former name of DMG Media, a British publishing company See also

*Associ ...
with certain diseases; however, association and causality are two very different phenomena, as a third cause might be producing the disease, as well as an associated phenomenon. ;Incurable disease :A disease that cannot be
cure A cure is a substance or procedure that ends a medical condition, such as a medication, a surgery, surgical operation, a change in lifestyle or even a philosophical mindset that helps end a person's sufferings; or the state of being healed, or cur ...

cure
d. Incurable diseases are not necessarily terminal diseases, and sometimes a disease's symptoms can be treated sufficiently for the disease to have little or no impact on
quality of life Quality of life (QOL) is defined by the World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous organizations working with the United N ...

quality of life
. ;Primary disease :A primary disease is a disease that is due to a
root cause A root cause is an initiating cause of either a condition or a causal chainIn philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowled ...
of illness, as opposed to secondary disease, which is a
sequelaA sequela (, ; usually used in the plural, sequelae ) is a pathological Pathology is the study of the causes and effects of disease A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure or function of all ...
, or complication that is caused by the primary disease. For example, a
common cold The common cold, also known simply as a cold, is a viral infectious disease An infection is the invasion of an organism's body Tissue (biology), tissues by Pathogen, disease-causing agents, their multiplication, and the reaction of host (b ...
is a primary disease, where
rhinitis Rhinitis, also known as coryza, is irritation and inflammation of the mucous membrane inside the nose A nose is a protuberance in vertebrate Vertebrates () comprise all species of animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multic ...
is a possible secondary disease, or
sequelaA sequela (, ; usually used in the plural, sequelae ) is a pathological Pathology is the study of the causes and effects of disease A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure or function of all ...
. A doctor must determine what primary disease, a cold or bacterial infection, is causing a patient's secondary
rhinitis Rhinitis, also known as coryza, is irritation and inflammation of the mucous membrane inside the nose A nose is a protuberance in vertebrate Vertebrates () comprise all species of animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multic ...
when deciding whether or not to prescribe antibiotics. ;Secondary disease :A secondary disease is a disease that is a
sequelaA sequela (, ; usually used in the plural, sequelae ) is a pathological Pathology is the study of the causes and effects of disease A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure or function of all ...
or complication of a prior, causal disease, which is referred to as the primary disease or simply the underlying cause (
root cause A root cause is an initiating cause of either a condition or a causal chainIn philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowled ...
). For example, a bacterial infection can be primary, wherein a healthy person is exposed to bacteria and becomes infected, or it can be secondary to a primary cause, that predisposes the body to infection. For example, a primary
viral infection A viral disease (or viral infection) occurs when an organism's body is invaded by pathogen In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemica ...
that weakens the
immune system The immune system is a network of biological processes that protects an organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ''organismos'') is any individual contiguous system that embodies the Life#Biolog ...
could lead to a secondary bacterial infection. Similarly, a primary
burn A burn is a type of injury Injury, also known as physical trauma, is damage Damage is any change in a thing, often a physical object, that degrades it away from its initial state. It can broadly be defined as "changes introduced into a ...

burn
that creates an open wound could provide an entry point for bacteria, and lead to a secondary bacterial infection. ;Terminal disease :A terminal disease is one that is expected to have the inevitable result of death. Previously, AIDS was a terminal disease; it is now incurable, but can be managed indefinitely using medications. ;Illness :The terms ''illness'' and ''sickness'' are both generally used as synonyms for ''disease''; however, the term ''illness'' is occasionally used to refer specifically to the patient's personal experience of his or her disease. In this model, it is possible for a person to have a disease without being ill (to have an objectively definable, but
asymptomatic In medicine, any disease is classified asymptomatic if a patient tests as carrier for a disease or infection An infection is the invasion of an organism's body Tissue (biology), tissues by Pathogen, disease-causing agents, their multiplicatio ...
, medical condition, such as a
subclinical infection A subclinical infection — sometimes called a preinfection or inapparent infection — is an infection An infection is the invasion of an organism's body Tissue (biology), tissues by Pathogen, disease-causing agents, their multiplication, and ...
, or to have a clinically apparent physical impairment but not feel sick or distressed by it), and to be ''ill'' without being ''diseased'' (such as when a person perceives a normal experience as a medical condition, or medicalizes a non-disease situation in his or her life – for example, a person who feels unwell as a result of embarrassment, and who interprets those feelings as sickness rather than normal emotions). Symptoms of illness are often not directly the result of infection, but a collection of evolved responses
sickness behavior 350px, Ancher, Michael, "The Sick Girl", 1882, Statens Museum for Kunst Sickness behavior is a coordinated set of adaptation, adaptive behavioral changes that develop in illness, ill individuals during the course of an infection. They usually, but ...
by the body – that helps clear infection and promote recovery. Such aspects of illness can include
lethargy Lethargy is a state of tiredness, weariness, fatigue, or lack of energy. It can be accompanied by depression, decreased motivation, or apathy. Lethargy can be a normal response to inadequate sleep, overexertion, overworking, stress, lack of exerc ...
,
depression Depression may refer to: Mental health * Depression (mood), a state of low mood and aversion to activity * Mood disorders characterized by depression are commonly referred to as simply ''depression'', including: ** Dysthymia ** Major depressive ...
,
loss of appetite Anorexia is a decreased appetite Appetite is the desire to eat food Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for an organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ''organis ...
,
sleepiness Somnolence (alternatively "sleepiness" or "drowsiness") is a state of strong desire for sleep, or sleeping for unusually long periods (compare hypersomnia). It has distinct meanings and causes. It can refer to the usual state preceding falling a ...
,
hyperalgesia Hyperalgesia ( or ; 'hyper' from Greek ὑπέρ (huper, “over”), '-algesia' from Greek algos, ἄλγος (pain)) is an abnormally increased sensitivity to pain Pain is a distressing feeling often caused by intense or damaging stimuli ...
, and inability to
concentrate A concentrate is a form of substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical substance, a material with a definite chemical composition * Matter, anything that has ...

concentrate
. ; :A disorder is a functional abnormality or disturbance. Medical disorders can be categorized into
mental disorder A mental disorder, also called a mental illness or psychiatric disorder, is a behavioral or mental pattern that causes significant distress or impairment of personal functioning. Such features may be persistent, relapsing In internal medici ...
s,
physical disorder{{Multiple issues, {{expert needed, 1=Medicine, date=September 2018 {{Unreferenced, date=December 2008 {{medref, date=September 2018 A physical disorder (as a medical term) is often used as a term in contrast to a mental disorder A mental dis ...
s,
genetic disorder A genetic disorder is a health problem caused by one or more abnormalities in the genome In the fields of molecular biology Molecular biology is the branch of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and li ...
s,
emotional and behavioral disorders Emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD; also known as behavioral and emotional disorders) refer to a disability classification used in educational settings that allows educational institutions to provide special education Special education ( ...
, and
functional disorder A functional disorder is a medical condition that impairs normal functioning of bodily processes that remains largely undetected under examination, dissection or even under a microscope. At the exterior, there is no appearance of abnormality. Thi ...
s. The term ''disorder'' is often considered more value-neutral and less stigmatizing than the terms ''disease'' or ''illness'', and therefore is preferred terminology in some circumstances. In mental health, the term ''mental disorder'' is used as a way of acknowledging the complex interaction of biological, social, and psychological factors in
psychiatric Psychiatry is the specialty (medicine), medical specialty devoted to the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of mental disorders. These include various maladaptations related to mood, behaviour, cognition, and perceptions. See glossary of psyc ...
conditions; however, the term ''disorder'' is also used in many other areas of medicine, primarily to identify physical disorders that are not caused by infectious organisms, such as
metabolic disorder A metabolic disorder is a disorder that negatively alters the body's processing and distribution of macronutrients such as proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Metabolic disorders can happen when abnormal chemical reactions in the body alter the no ...
s. ;Medical condition or health condition :A medical condition or health condition is a broad concept that includes all diseases,
lesion A lesion is any damage or abnormal change in the tissue of an organism, usually caused by disease or Trauma (medicine), trauma. ''Lesion'' is derived from the Latin ''laesio'' "injury". Lesions may occur in plants as well as animals. Types The ...
s, disorders, or nonpathologic condition that normally receives medical treatment, such as
pregnancy Pregnancy, also known as gestation, is the time during which one or more offspring In biology, offspring are the young creation of living organisms, produced either by a Asexual reproduction, single organism or, in the case of sexual repr ...

pregnancy
or
childbirth Childbirth, also known as labour or delivery, is the ending of pregnancy Pregnancy, also known as gestation, is the time during which one or more offspring In biology, offspring are the young born of living organism, organisms, produc ...

childbirth
. While the term ''medical condition'' generally includes mental illnesses, in some contexts the term is used specifically to denote any illness, injury, or disease except for mental illnesses. The
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders The ''Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders'' (DSM; latest edition: DSM-5 The ''Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition'' (DSM-5), is the 2013 update to the ''Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of ...
(DSM), the widely used psychiatric manual that defines all
mental disorder A mental disorder, also called a mental illness or psychiatric disorder, is a behavioral or mental pattern that causes significant distress or impairment of personal functioning. Such features may be persistent, relapsing In internal medici ...
s, uses the term ''general medical condition'' to refer to all diseases, illnesses, and injuries except for
mental disorder A mental disorder, also called a mental illness or psychiatric disorder, is a behavioral or mental pattern that causes significant distress or impairment of personal functioning. Such features may be persistent, relapsing In internal medici ...
s. This usage is also commonly seen in the psychiatric literature. Some
health insurance Health insurance or medical insurance (also known as medical aid in South Africa) is a type of insurance Insurance is a means of protection from financial loss. It is a form of risk management Risk management is the identification, ev ...
policies also define a ''medical condition'' as any illness, injury, or disease except for psychiatric illnesses. :As it is more
value-neutralA value judgment (or value judgement) is a judgment Judgement (or US spelling judgment) is also known as '' adjudication'' which means the evaluation Evaluation is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elem ...
than terms like ''disease'', the term ''medical condition'' is sometimes preferred by people with health issues that they do not consider deleterious. On the other hand, by emphasizing the medical nature of the condition, this term is sometimes rejected, such as by proponents of the autism rights movement. :The term ''medical condition'' is also a synonym for ''medical state'', in which case it describes an individual patient's current state from a medical standpoint. This usage appears in statements that describe a patient as being ''in critical condition'', for example. ; :Morbidity () is a diseased state, disability, or poor health due to any cause. The term may refer to the existence of any form of disease, or to the degree that the health condition affects the patient. Among severely ill patients, the level of morbidity is often measured by ICU scoring systems. Comorbidity is the simultaneous presence of two or more medical conditions, such as schizophrenia and substance abuse. :In epidemiology and actuarial science, the term "morbidity rate" can refer to either the incidence (epidemiology), incidence rate, or the prevalence of a disease or medical condition. This measure of sickness is contrasted with the mortality rate of a condition, which is the proportion of people dying during a given time interval. Morbidity rates are used in actuarial professions, such as health insurance, life insurance, and long-term care insurance, to determine the correct premiums to charge to customers. Morbidity rates help insurers predict the likelihood that an insured will contract or develop any number of specified diseases. ; Pathosis or pathology :''Pathosis'' (plural ''pathoses'') is synonymous with ''disease''. The word ''
pathology Pathology is the study of the causesCauses, or causality, is the relationship between one event and another. It may also refer to: * Causes (band), an indie band based in the Netherlands * Causes (company), an online company See also * Cau ...
'' also has this word sense, sense, in which it is commonly used by physicians in the medical literature, although wikt:pathology#Usage notes, some editors prefer to reserve ''pathology'' to its other senses. Sometimes a slight connotation, connotative shade causes preference for ''pathology'' or ''pathosis'' implying "some [as yet poorly analyzed] pathophysiology, pathophysiologic process" rather than ''disease'' implying "a specific disease entity as defined by diagnostic criteria being already met". This is hard to quantify denotation, denotatively, but it explains why cognitive synonymy is not invariable. ;Syndrome :A
syndrome A syndrome is a set of medical signs and symptoms Signs and symptoms are the observed or detectable signs, and experienced symptoms of an illness, injury, or condition. A sign for example may be a higher or lower temperature than normal, rais ...
is the association of several
signs and symptoms Signs and symptoms are the observed or detectable signs, and experienced symptoms of an illness, injury, or condition. A sign for example may be a higher or lower temperature than normal, raised or lowered blood pressure or an abnormality showi ...
, or other characteristics that often occur together, regardless of whether the cause is known. Some syndromes such as Down syndrome are known to have only one cause (an extra chromosome at birth). Others such as Parkinsonian syndrome are known to have multiple possible causes. Acute coronary syndrome, for example, is not a single disease itself but is rather the manifestation of any of several diseases including myocardial infarction secondary to
coronary artery disease Coronary artery disease (CAD), also called coronary heart disease (CHD), ischemic heart disease (IHD), or simply heart disease, involves the reduction of blood flow to the heart muscle Cardiac muscle (also called heart muscle or myocardium) is ...
. In yet other syndromes, however, the idiopathy, cause is unknown. A familiar syndrome name often remains in use even after an underlying cause has been found or when there are a number of different possible primary causes. Examples of the first-mentioned type are that Turner syndrome and DiGeorge syndrome are still often called by the "syndrome" name despite that they can also be viewed as disease entities and not solely as sets of signs and symptoms. ;Predisease :Predisease is a subclinical or prodrome, prodromal vanguard of a disease. Prediabetes and prehypertension are common examples. The nosology or epistemology of predisease is contentious, though, because there is seldom a bright line differentiating a legitimate concern for subclinical/prodromal/premonitory status (on one hand) and conflict of interest–driven disease mongering or medicalization (on the other hand). Identifying legitimate predisease can result in useful preventive measures, such as motivating the person to get a healthy amount of physical exercise, but labeling a healthy person with an unfounded notion of predisease can result in overtreatment, such as taking drugs that only help people with severe disease or paying for drug prescription instances whose benefit–cost ratio is minuscule (placing it in the waste category of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, CMS' "waste, fraud, and abuse" classification). Three requirements for the legitimacy of calling a condition a predisease are: :* a truly high risk for progression to disease – for example, a Precancerous condition, pre-cancer will almost certainly turn into cancer over time :* actionability for risk reduction – for example, removal of the precancerous tissue prevents it from turning into a potentially deadly cancer :* benefit that outweighs the harm of any interventions taken – removing the precancerous tissue prevents cancer, and thus prevents a potential death from cancer.


Types by body system

;Mental :Mental disorder, Mental illness is a broad, generic label for a category of illnesses that may include affective or emotional instability, behavioral dysregulation, cognitive dysfunction or impairment. Specific illnesses known as mental illnesses include major depressive disorder, major depression, generalized anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, to name a few. Mental illness can be of biological (e.g., anatomical, chemical, or genetic) or psychological (e.g., trauma or conflict) origin. It can impair the affected person's ability to work or study and can harm interpersonal relationships. The term insanity is used technically as a legal term. ;Organic :An organic disease is one caused by a physical or physiological change to some tissue or organ of the body. The term sometimes excludes infections. It is commonly used in contrast with mental disorders. It includes emotional and behavioral disorders if they are due to changes to the physical structures or functioning of the body, such as after a stroke or a traumatic brain injury, but not if they are due to psychosocial issues.


Stages

In an infectious disease, the
incubation period Incubation period (also known as the latent period or latency period) is the time elapsed between exposure to a pathogenic In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical st ...
is the time between infection and the appearance of symptoms. The latency period is the time between infection and the ability of the disease to spread to another person, which may precede, follow, or be simultaneous with the appearance of symptoms. Some viruses also exhibit a dormant phase, called viral latency, in which the virus hides in the body in an inactive state. For example, varicella zoster virus causes chickenpox in the acute (medicine), acute phase; after recovery from chickenpox, the virus may remain dormant in nerve cells for many years, and later cause herpes zoster (shingles). ;Acute disease :An acute disease is a short-lived disease, like the
common cold The common cold, also known simply as a cold, is a viral infectious disease An infection is the invasion of an organism's body Tissue (biology), tissues by Pathogen, disease-causing agents, their multiplication, and the reaction of host (b ...
. ;Chronic disease :A chronic disease is one that lasts for a long time, usually at least six months. During that time, it may be constantly present, or it may go into remission (medicine), remission and periodically relapse. A chronic disease may be stable (does not get any worse) or it may be progressive (gets worse over time). Some chronic diseases can be permanently cured. Most chronic diseases can be beneficially treated, even if they cannot be permanently cured. ;Clinical disease :One that has clinical consequences; in other words, the stage of the disease that produces the characteristic signs and symptoms of that disease. AIDS is the clinical disease stage of HIV infection. ;Cure :A
cure A cure is a substance or procedure that ends a medical condition, such as a medication, a surgery, surgical operation, a change in lifestyle or even a philosophical mindset that helps end a person's sufferings; or the state of being healed, or cur ...

cure
is the end of a medical condition or a treatment that is very likely to end it, while Remission (medicine), remission refers to the disappearance, possibly temporarily, of symptoms. Complete remission is the best possible outcome for incurable diseases. ;Flare-up :A flare-up can refer to either the recurrence of symptoms or an onset of more severe symptoms. ;Progressive disease :Progressive disease is a disease whose typical natural course is the worsening of the disease until death, serious debility, or organ failure occurs. Slowly progressive diseases are also chronic diseases; many are also degenerative diseases. The opposite of progressive disease is ''stable disease'' or ''static disease'': a medical condition that exists, but does not get better or worse. ; :A refractory disease is a disease that resists treatment, especially an individual case that resists treatment more than is normal for the specific disease in question. ;Subclinical disease :Also called silent disease, silent stage, or asymptomatic disease. This is a stage in some diseases before the symptoms are first noted. ;Terminal phase :If a person will die soon from a disease, regardless of whether that disease typically causes death, then the stage between the earlier disease process and active dying is the terminal phase.


Extent

;Localized disease :A localized disease is one that affects only one part of the body, such as athlete's foot or an eye infection. ;Disseminated disease :A disseminated disease has spread to other parts; with cancer, this is usually called metastatic disease. ;Systemic disease :A systemic disease is a disease that affects the entire body, such as influenza or hypertension, high blood pressure.


Classification

Diseases may be classified by cause, pathogenesis (mechanism (biology), mechanism by which the disease is caused), or by
symptom Signs and symptoms are the observed or detectable signs, and experienced symptoms of an illness, injury, or condition. A sign for example may be a higher or lower temperature than normal, raised or lowered blood pressure or an abnormality showi ...
(s). Alternatively, diseases may be classified according to the organ system involved, though this is often complicated since many diseases affect more than one organ. A chief difficulty in nosology is that diseases often cannot be defined and classified clearly, especially when cause or pathogenesis are unknown. Thus diagnostic terms often only reflect a symptom or set of symptoms (
syndrome A syndrome is a set of medical signs and symptoms Signs and symptoms are the observed or detectable signs, and experienced symptoms of an illness, injury, or condition. A sign for example may be a higher or lower temperature than normal, rais ...
). Classical classification of human disease derives from the observational correlation between pathological analysis and clinical syndromes. Today it is preferred to classify them by their cause if it is known. The most known and used classification of diseases is the World Health Organization's International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, ICD. This is periodically updated. Currently, the last publication is the ICD-11.


Causes

Only some diseases such as influenza are contagious and commonly believed infectious. The microorganisms that cause these diseases are known as pathogens and include varieties of bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and fungi. Infectious diseases can be transmitted, e.g. by hand-to-mouth contact with infectious material on surfaces, by bites of vector (epidemiology), insects or other carriers of the disease, and from contaminated water or food (often via feces, fecal contamination), etc. Also, there are sexually transmitted diseases. In some cases, microorganisms that are not readily spread from person to person play a role, while other diseases can be prevented or ameliorated with appropriate nutrition or other lifestyle changes. Some diseases, such as most (but Infectious cancer, not all) forms of
cancer Cancer is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. These contrast with benign tumor A benign tumor is a mass of cells Cell most often refers to: * Cell (biolo ...

cancer
,
heart disease Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a class of diseases that involve the heart or blood vessels. CVD includes coronary artery diseases (CAD) such as angina pectoris, angina and myocardial infarction (commonly known as a heart attack). Other CVDs inc ...
, and mental disorders, are non-infectious diseases. Many non-infectious diseases have a partly or completely genetic basis (see
genetic disorder A genetic disorder is a health problem caused by one or more abnormalities in the genome In the fields of molecular biology Molecular biology is the branch of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and li ...
) and may thus be transmitted from one generation to another. Social determinants of health are the social conditions in which people live that determine their health. Illnesses are generally related to social, economic, political, and Environmental disease, environmental circumstances. Social determinants of health have been recognized by several health organizations such as the Public Health Agency of Canada and the World Health Organization to greatly influence collective and personal well-being. The World Health Organization's Social Determinants Council also recognizes Social determinants of health in poverty. When the cause of a disease is poorly understood, societies tend to mythologize the disease or use it as a metaphor or symbol of whatever that culture considers evil. For example, until the bacterial cause of tuberculosis was discovered in 1882, experts variously ascribed the disease to hereditary disease, heredity, a sedentary lifestyle, depression (mood), depressed mood, and overindulgence in sex, rich food, or alcohol, all of which were social ills at the time. When a disease is caused by a pathogen, pathogenic organism (e.g., when malaria is caused by ''Plasmodium''), one should not confuse the
pathogen In biology, a pathogen ( el, πάθος, "suffering", "passion" and , "producer of") in the oldest and broadest sense, is any organism that can produce disease. A pathogen may also be referred to as an infectious agent, or simply a Germ theory ...
(the cause of the disease) with disease itself. For example, West Nile virus (the pathogen) causes West Nile fever (the disease). The misuse of basic definitions in epidemiology is frequent in scientific publications.


Types of causes

;Airborne: An airborne disease is any disease that is caused by pathogens and transmitted through the air. ;Foodborne: Foodborne illness or food poisoning is any illness resulting from the consumption of food contaminated with pathogenic bacteria, toxins, viruses, prions or parasites. ;Infectious: Infectious diseases, also known as transmissible diseases or communicable diseases, comprise clinically evident illness (i.e., characteristic medical signs or symptoms of disease) resulting from the infection, presence and growth of pathogenic biological agents in an individual host organism. Included in this category are ''contagious diseases'' – an infection, such as influenza or the
common cold The common cold, also known simply as a cold, is a viral infectious disease An infection is the invasion of an organism's body Tissue (biology), tissues by Pathogen, disease-causing agents, their multiplication, and the reaction of host (b ...
, that commonly spreads from one person to another – and ''communicable diseases'' – a disease that can spread from one person to another, but does not necessarily spread through everyday contact. ; Lifestyle: A lifestyle disease is any disease that appears to increase in frequency as countries become more industrialized and people live longer, especially if the risk factors include behavioral choices like a sedentary lifestyle or a diet high in unhealthful foods such as refined carbohydrates, trans fats, or alcoholic beverages. ; Non-communicable: A non-communicable disease is a medical condition or disease that is non-transmissible. Non-communicable diseases cannot be spread directly from one person to another. Heart disease and
cancer Cancer is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. These contrast with benign tumor A benign tumor is a mass of cells Cell most often refers to: * Cell (biolo ...

cancer
are examples of non-communicable diseases in humans.


Prevention

Many diseases and disorders can be prevented through a variety of means. These include sanitation, proper nutrition, adequate exercise, vaccinations and other self-care and public health measures, .


Treatments

Medical therapy, therapies or treatments are efforts to cure or improve a disease or other health problems. In the medical field, therapy is synonymous with the word ''treatment''. Among psychologists, the term may refer specifically to psychotherapy or "talk therapy". Common treatments include medications, surgery, medical devices, and self-care. Treatments may be provided by an organized health care system, or informally, by the patient or family members. Preventive healthcare is a way to avoid an injury, sickness, or disease in the first place. A treatment or cure is applied after a medical problem has already started. A treatment attempts to improve or remove a problem, but treatments may not produce permanent cures, especially in chronic diseases. Cures are a subset of treatments that reverse diseases completely or end medical problems permanently. Many diseases that cannot be completely cured are still treatable. Pain management (also called pain medicine) is that branch of medicine employing an interdisciplinary approach to the relief of pain and improvement in the quality of life of those living with pain. Treatment for medical emergencies must be provided promptly, often through an emergency department or, in less critical situations, through an urgent care facility.


Epidemiology

Epidemiology is the study of the factors that cause or encourage diseases. Some diseases are more common in certain geographic areas, among people with certain genetic or socioeconomic characteristics, or at different times of the year. Epidemiology is considered a cornerstone methodology of public health research and is highly regarded in evidence-based medicine for identifying risk factors for diseases. In the study of communicable and non-communicable diseases, the work of epidemiologists ranges from outbreak investigation to study design, data collection, and analysis including the development of statistical models to test hypotheses and the documentation of results for submission to peer-reviewed journals. Epidemiologists also study the interaction of diseases in a population, a condition known as a syndemic. Epidemiologists rely on a number of other scientific disciplines such as biology (to better understand disease processes), biostatistics (the current raw information available), Geographic Information Science (to store data and map disease patterns) and social science disciplines (to better understand proximate and distal risk factors). Epidemiology can help identify causes as well as guide prevention efforts. In studying diseases, epidemiology faces the challenge of defining them. Especially for poorly understood diseases, different groups might use significantly different definitions. Without an agreed-on definition, different researchers may report different numbers of cases and characteristics of the disease. Some morbidity databases are compiled with data supplied by states and territories health authorities, at national levels or larger scale (such as European Hospital Morbidity Database (HMDB)) which may contain hospital discharge data by detailed diagnosis, age and sex. The European HMDB data was submitted by European countries to the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe.


Burdens of disease

Disease burden is the impact of a health problem in an area measured by financial cost, mortality, morbidity, or other indicators. There are several measures used to quantify the burden imposed by diseases on people. The years of potential life lost (YPLL) is a simple estimate of the number of years that a person's life was shortened due to a disease. For example, if a person dies at the age of 65 from a disease, and would probably have lived until age 80 without that disease, then that disease has caused a loss of 15 years of potential life. YPLL measurements do not account for how disabled a person is before dying, so the measurement treats a person who dies suddenly and a person who died at the same age after decades of illness as equivalent. In 2004, the World Health Organization calculated that 932 million years of potential life were lost to premature death. The quality-adjusted life year (QALY) and disability-adjusted life year (DALY) metrics are similar but take into account whether the person was healthy after diagnosis. In addition to the number of years lost due to premature death, these measurements add part of the years lost to being sick. Unlike YPLL, these measurements show the burden imposed on people who are very sick, but who live a normal lifespan. A disease that has high morbidity, but low mortality, has a high DALY and a low YPLL. In 2004, the World Health Organization calculated that 1.5 billion disability-adjusted life years were lost to disease and injury. Standard DALYs (3% discounting, age weights). Als
DALY spreadsheet
an
YLL spreadsheet
In the developed world,
heart disease Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a class of diseases that involve the heart or blood vessels. CVD includes coronary artery diseases (CAD) such as angina pectoris, angina and myocardial infarction (commonly known as a heart attack). Other CVDs inc ...
and stroke cause the most loss of life, but
neuropsychiatric conditions A mental disorder, also called a mental illness or psychiatric disorder, is a behavioral or mental pattern that causes significant distress or impairment of personal functioning. Such features may be persistent, relapsing and remitting, or oc ...
like major depressive disorder cause the most years lost to being sick.


Society and culture

How a society responds to diseases is the subject of medical sociology. A condition may be considered a disease in some cultures or eras but not in others. For example, obesity can represent wealth and abundance, and is a status symbol in famine-prone areas and some places hard-hit by AIDS wasting, HIV/AIDS. Epilepsy is considered a sign of spiritual gifts among the Hmong people. Sickness confers the social legitimization of certain benefits, such as illness benefits, work avoidance, and being looked after by others. The person who is sick takes on a social role called the sick role. A person who responds to a dreaded disease, such as cancer survivor, cancer, in a culturally acceptable fashion may be publicly and privately honored with higher social status. In return for these benefits, the sick person is obligated to seek treatment and work to become well once more. As a comparison, consider
pregnancy Pregnancy, also known as gestation, is the time during which one or more offspring In biology, offspring are the young creation of living organisms, produced either by a Asexual reproduction, single organism or, in the case of sexual repr ...

pregnancy
, which is not interpreted as a disease or sickness, even if the mother and baby may both benefit from medical care. Most religions grant exceptions from religious duties to people who are sick. For example, one whose life would be endangered by fasting on Yom Kippur or during Ramadan is exempted from the requirement, or even forbidden from participating. People who are sick are also exempted from social duties. For example, ill health is the only socially acceptable reason for an American to refuse an invitation to the White House. The identification of a condition as a disease, rather than as simply a variation of human structure or function, can have significant social or economic implications. The controversial recognition of diseases such as repetitive stress injury (RSI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has had a number of positive and negative effects on the financial and other responsibilities of governments, corporations, and institutions towards individuals, as well as on the individuals themselves. The social implication of viewing senescence, aging as a disease could be profound, though this classification is not yet widespread. Leprosy, Lepers were people who were historically shunned because they had an infectious disease, and the term "leper" still evokes social stigma. Fear of disease can still be a widespread social phenomenon, though not all diseases evoke extreme social stigma. Social standing and economic status affect health. Diseases of poverty are diseases that are associated with poverty and low social status; diseases of affluence are diseases that are associated with high social and economic status. Which diseases are associated with which states vary according to time, place, and technology. Some diseases, such as diabetes mellitus, may be associated with both poverty (poor food choices) and affluence (long lifespans and sedentary lifestyles), through different mechanisms. The term lifestyle disease, ''lifestyle diseases'' describes diseases associated with longevity and that are more common among older people. For example,
cancer Cancer is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. These contrast with benign tumor A benign tumor is a mass of cells Cell most often refers to: * Cell (biolo ...

cancer
is far more common in societies in which most members live until they reach the age of 80 than in societies in which most members die before they reach the age of 50.


Language of disease

An illness narrative is a way of organizing a medical experience into a coherent story that illustrates the sick individual's personal experience. People use metaphors to make sense of their experiences with disease. The metaphors move disease from an objective thing that exists to an affective experience. The most popular metaphors draw on military concepts: Disease is an enemy that must be feared, fought, battled, and routed. The patient or the healthcare provider is a warrior, rather than a passive victim or bystander. The agents of communicable diseases are Invasion, invaders; non-communicable diseases constitute internal insurrection or civil war. Because the threat is urgent, perhaps a matter of life and death, unthinkably radical, even oppressive, measures are society's and the patient's moral duty as they courageously mobilize to struggle against destruction. The War on Cancer is an example of this metaphorical use of language. This language is empowering to some patients, but leaves others feeling like they are failures. Another class of metaphors describes the experience of illness as a journey: The person travels to or from a place of disease, and changes himself, discovers new information, or increases his experience along the way. He may travel "on the road to recovery" or make changes to "get on the right track" or choose "pathways". Some are explicitly immigration-themed: the patient has been exiled from the home territory of health to the land of the ill, changing identity and relationships in the process. This language is more common among British healthcare professionals than the language of physical aggression. Some metaphors are disease-specific. Slavery is a common metaphor for addictions: The alcoholic is enslaved by drink, and the smoker is captive to nicotine. Some cancer patients treat the loss of their hair from chemotherapy as a metonymy or metaphor for all the losses caused by the disease. Some diseases are used as metaphors for social ills: "Cancer" is a common description for anything that is endemic and destructive in society, such as poverty, injustice, or racism. AIDS was seen as a divine judgment for moral decadence, and only by purging itself from the "pollution" of the "invader" could society become healthy again. More recently, when AIDS seemed less threatening, this type of emotive language was applied to Avian flu outbreak of 2009, avian flu and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Authors in the 19th century Tuberculosis in popular culture, commonly used tuberculosis as a symbol and a metaphor for Transcendence (religion), transcendence. Victims of the disease were portrayed in literature as having risen above daily life to become ephemeral objects of spiritual or artistic achievement. In the 20th century, after its cause was better understood, the same disease became the emblem of poverty, squalor, and other social problems.


See also

* Cryptogenic disease, a disease whose cause is currently unknown * Developmental disability, severe, lifelong disabilities attributable to mental or physical impairments * Environmental disease * Host–pathogen interaction * Mitochondrial disease * Plant pathology * Rare disease, a disease that affects very few people * Sociology of health and illness * Syndrome * Philosophy of medicine


References


External links


Health Topics
MedlinePlus descriptions of most diseases, with access to current research articles.
OMIM
Comprehensive information on genes that cause disease at Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man
CTD
The Comparative Toxicogenomics Database is a scientific resource connecting chemicals, genes, and human diseases.
NLM
Comprehensive database from the US National Library of Medicine
Health Topics A–Z
fact sheets about many common diseases at Centers for Disease Control
The Merck Manual
containing detailed description of most diseases

from World Health Organization (WHO), 2004
Free online health-risk assessment
by Your Disease Risk at Washington University in St Louis
"Man and Disease"
BBC Radio 4 discussion with Anne Hardy, David Bradley & Chris Dye (''In Our Time'', Dec. 15, 2002) {{Authority control Diseases and disorders, Actuarial science Medical terminology Medicine in society