A disease is a particular abnormal condition that affects part or all
of an organism not caused by external force (see 'injury') and
that consists of a disorder of a structure or function, usually
serving as an evolutionary disadvantage. The study of disease is
called pathology, which includes the study of cause.
Disease is often
construed as a medical condition associated with specific symptoms and
signs. It may be caused by external factors such as pathogens or by
internal dysfunctions, particularly of the immune system, such as an
immunodeficiency, or by a hypersensitivity, including allergies and
When caused by pathogens (e.g. malaria by Plasmodium ssp.), the term
disease is often misleadingly used even in the scientific literature
in place of its causal agent, the pathogen. This language habit can
cause confusion in the communication of the cause-effect principle in
epidemiology, and as such it should be strongly discouraged.
In humans, disease is often used more broadly to refer to any
condition that causes pain, dysfunction, distress, social problems, or
death to the person afflicted, or similar problems for those in
contact with the person. In this broader sense, it sometimes includes
injuries, disabilities, disorders, syndromes, infections, isolated
symptoms, deviant behaviors, and atypical variations 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 emotionally, as contracting and living with
a disease can alter the affected person's perspective on
Death due to disease is called death by natural causes. There are four
main types of disease: infectious diseases, deficiency diseases,
genetic diseases (both hereditary and non-hereditary), and
physiological diseases. Diseases can also be classified as
communicable and non-communicable. The deadliest diseases in humans
are coronary artery disease (blood flow obstruction), followed by
cerebrovascular disease and lower respiratory infections.
1.2 Types by body system
3.1 Types of causes
6.1 Burdens of disease
7 Society and culture
7.1 Language of disease
8 See also
10 External links
In many cases, terms such as disease, disorder, morbidity, sickness
and illness are used interchangeably. There are situations,
however, when specific terms are considered preferable.
The term disease broadly refers to any condition that impairs the
normal functioning of the body. For this reason, diseases are
associated with dysfunctioning of the body's normal homeostatic
processes. The term disease has both a count sense (a disease, two
diseases, many diseases) and a noncount sense (not much disease, less
disease, a lot of disease). Commonly, the term is used to refer
specifically to infectious diseases, which are clinically evident
diseases that result from the presence of pathogenic microbial agents,
including viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, multicellular organisms,
and aberrant proteins known as prions. An infection 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, or
of a passenger virus, is not considered a disease. By contrast, an
infection that is asymptomatic during its incubation period, but
expected to produce symptoms later, is usually considered a disease.
Non-infectious diseases are all other diseases, including most forms
of cancer, heart disease, and genetic disease.
disease that began at some point during one's lifetime, as opposed to
disease that was already present at birth, which is congenital
disease. "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 of a short-term nature (acute); the term sometimes also
connotes a fulminant nature
disease that is a long-term issue (chronic)
disease that is present at birth. It is often, genetic and can be
inherited. It can also be the result of a vertically transmitted
infection from the mother such as HIV/AIDS.
disease that is caused by genetic mutation. It is often inherited, but
some mutations are random and de novo.
Hereditary or inherited disease
a type of genetic disease caused by mutation that is hereditary (and
can run in families)
A disease condition caused by medical intervention.
disease whose cause is unknown. As medical science has advanced, many
diseases whose causes were formerly complete mysteries have been
somewhat explained (for example, when it was realized that
autoimmunity is the cause of some forms of diabetes mellitus type 1,
even if we do not yet understand every molecular detail involved) or
even extensively explained (for example, when it was realized that
gastric ulcers are often associated with Helicobacter pylori
disease that cannot be cured
disease that came about as a root cause of illness, as opposed to
secondary disease, which is a sequela of another disease
disease that is a sequela or complication of some other disease or
underlying cause (root cause). Bacterial infections can be either
primary (healthy but then bacteria arrived) or secondary to a viral
infection or burn, which predisposed by creating an open wound or
weakened immunity (bacteria would not have gotten established
disease with death as an inevitable result
Illness is generally used as a synonym for disease. However, this
term 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, medical condition, such as a
subclinical infection), 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 by the
body—that helps clear infection. Such aspects of illness can include
lethargy, depression, loss of appetite, sleepiness, hyperalgesia, and
inability to concentrate.
In medicine, a disorder is a functional abnormality or disturbance.
Medical disorders can be categorized into mental disorders, physical
disorders, genetic disorders, emotional and behavioral disorders, and
functional disorders. The term disorder is often considered more
value-neutral and less stigmatizing than the terms disease or illness,
and therefore is a 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 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 disorders.
A medical condition is a broad term that includes all diseases,
lesions, disorders, or nonpathologic condition that normally receives
medical treatment, such as pregnancy or 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 (DSM), the widely used psychiatric manual
that defines all mental disorders, uses the term general medical
condition to refer to all diseases, illnesses, and injuries except for
mental disorders. This usage is also commonly seen in the
psychiatric literature. Some health insurance policies also define a
medical condition as any illness, injury, or disease except for
As it is more value-neutral 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 (from Latin morbidus, meaning 'sick, unhealthy') is a
diseased state, disability, or poor health due to any cause. The
term may be used to 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
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 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 also has this sense, in which it is commonly used by
physicians in the medical literature, although some editors prefer to
reserve pathology to its other senses. Sometimes a slight connotative
shade causes preference for pathology or pathosis implying "some [as
yet poorly analyzed] pathophysiologic process" rather than disease
implying "a specific disease entity as defined by diagnostic criteria
being already met". This is hard to quantify denotatively, but it
explains why cognitive synonymy is not invariable.
A syndrome is the association of several medical signs, symptoms, or
other characteristics that often occur together. Some syndromes, such
as Down syndrome, have only one cause; for these, the names "syndrome"
and "disease" can be synonymous. For example, Charcot–Marie–Tooth
syndrome is also called Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease. Others, such
as Parkinsonian syndrome, have multiple possible causes. For example,
acute coronary syndrome is not a disease but rather the manifestation
of any of several diseases, such as myocardial infarction secondary to
coronary artery disease. In yet other syndromes, the 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
Predisease is a subclinical or prodromal vanguard of a disease state.
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 CMS' "waste, fraud, and abuse"
Types by body system
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 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.
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
"Flareup" redirects here. For the Transformers character, see Flareup
In an infectious disease, the incubation period 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 phase; after recovery from chickenpox, the virus may
remain dormant in nerve cells for many years, and later cause herpes
An acute disease is a short-lived disease, like the common cold.
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 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
One that has clinical consequences; in other words, the stage of the
disease that produces the characteristic signs and symptoms of that
AIDS is the clinical disease stage of HIV infection.
A cure is the end of a medical condition or a treatment that is very
likely to end it, while remission refers to the disappearance,
possibly temporarily, of symptoms. Complete remission is the best
possible outcome for incurable diseases.
A flare-up can refer to either the recurrence of symptoms or an onset
of more severe symptoms.
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.
Also called silent disease, silent stage, or asymptomatic disease.
This is a stage in some diseases before the symptoms are first
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.
A localized disease is one that affects only one part of the body,
such as athlete's foot or an eye infection.
A disseminated disease has spread to other parts; with cancer, this is
usually called metastatic disease.
A systemic disease is a disease that affects the entire body, such as
influenza or high blood pressure.
Main article: nosology
Diseases may be classified by cause, pathogenesis (mechanism by which
the disease is caused), or by symptom(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).
Classical classification of human disease derives from observational
correlation between pathological analysis and clinical syndromes.
Today it is preferred to classify them by their cause if it is
The most known and used classification of diseases is the World Health
Organization's ICD. This is periodically updated. Currently the last
publication is the ICD-10.
Cause (medicine) and Transmission (medicine)
Only some diseases such as influenza are contagious and commonly
believed infectious. The micro-organisms 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 insects or other carriers of the disease, and from contaminated
water or food (often via fecal contamination), etc. In addition,
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 not all) forms of cancer, heart
disease, and mental disorders, are non-infectious diseases. Many
non-infectious diseases have a partly or completely genetic basis (see
genetic disorder) and may thus be transmitted from one generation to
Social determinants of health
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
Social determinants of health
Social determinants of health have been recognized by
several health organizations such as the Public Health Agency of
Canada and the
World Health Organization
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 heredity, a sedentary lifestyle, depressed mood, and
overindulgence in sex, rich food, or alcohol—all the social ills of
Types of causes
An airborne disease is any disease that is caused by pathogens and
transmitted through the air.
Foodborne illness or food poisoning is any illness resulting from the
consumption of food contaminated with pathogenic bacteria, toxins,
viruses, prions or parasites.
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, that
commonly spreads from one person to another – and communicable
diseases – an disease that can spread from one person to another,
but does not necessarily spread through everyday contact.
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.
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 are examples of
non-communicable diseases in humans.
Main article: Preventive medicine
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.
Main article: Therapy
Medical therapies or treatments are efforts to cure or improve a
disease or other health problem. 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.
Main article: 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 disease. 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
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 datea was submitted by European countries to
World Health Organization
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
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
World Health Organization calculated that
1.5 billion disability-adjusted life years were lost to disease and
injury. In the developed world, heart disease and stroke cause the
most loss of life, but neuropsychiatric conditions like major
depressive disorder cause the most years lost to being sick.
Percent of all YPLLs lost, worldwide
Percent of all DALYs lost, worldwide
Percent of all YPLLs lost, Europe
Percent of all DALYs lost, Europe
Percent of all YPLLs lost, US and Canada
Percent of all DALYs lost, US and Canada
Infectious and parasitic diseases, especially lower respiratory tract
infections, diarrhea, AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria
Neuropsychiatric conditions, e.g. depression
Injuries, especially motor vehicle accidents
Cardiovascular diseases, principally heart attacks and stroke
Premature birth and other perinatal deaths
Society and culture
Obesity was a status symbol in
Renaissance culture: "The Tuscan
General Alessandro del Borro", attributed to Andrea Sacchi, 1645.
It is now generally regarded as a disease.
How a society responds to diseases is the subject of medical
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 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, 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, 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
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 recognitions as
diseases of repetitive stress injury (RSI) and post-traumatic stress
disorder (also known as "Soldier's heart", "shell shock", and "combat
fatigue") 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 aging as a disease could
be profound, though this classification is not yet widespread.
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 varies 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 diseases describes
diseases associated with longevity and that are more common among
older people. For example, 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
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
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 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
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 and type 2 diabetes
mellitus. Authors in the 19th century commonly used tuberculosis
as a symbol and a metaphor for 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.
Cryptogenic disease, a disease whose cause is currently unknown
Developmental disability, severe, lifelong disabilities attributable
to mental or physical impairments
List of incurable diseases
Rare disease, a disease that affects very few people
Sociology of health and illness
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