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  • Article requests : Add information about disease in plants and animals other than humans to remove bias
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Request for Clarification[edit]

I'm coming to this page as a (lay) reader trying to understand what distinguishes a "disease" from other medical conditions, but as far as I can tell this page does not present criteria that distinguish, for example, the common cold or indeed even an ankle sprain from what I understand as a genuine disease. A sprained muscle is an "abnormal condition of an organism" but not infectious, but the page says this additional criterion of infectiousness is a narrowing (by whom?) of the term. A cold is infectious, but I do not understand it as a disease; perhaps I am wrong in that, but if it is to be understood so then it is such a large departure from the ordinary usage of "disease" that it ought to be given some mention. As another test case: acne, I am told, is understood as a disease by doctors, yet it is not considered a disease by the general public. (I was surprised to learn this when my physician felt compelled to note it on my medical forms for college entrance, which asked if the applicant had any diseases.)

I think it would help many readers considerably if you were to enumerate a list of examples *and* non-examples near the beginning of the article. If the notion of "disease" is so nebulous that it cannot be said with considerable certainty whether many simple-to-understand and commonplace conditions are, in fact, diseases, then the article should say so. If there is considerable divergence between the medical and lay understanding of "disease", then the article should say that as well. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:41, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

See "Medical condition definition" discussion below. A disease is a pathologic medical condition which is characterized by specific signs and symptoms. I would avoid terms like "genuine disease". Common cold yes disease. Ankle sprain yes disease. Acne yes disease. Doesn't have to be infectious, which is why there is a specific type of disease denoted infectious disease. Lesion (talk) 23:14, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for responding. I had a look at "Medical condition definition" below but it does not bear on my concern, which is that, apparently, the medical notion of "disease" is so at odds with the commonplace usage of the word that I think this fact deserves special mention. For example, despite the fact that the article clearly says that a disease is an "abnormal condition of an organism" I am still very surprised to learn that an ankle sprain does indeed qualify as a disease. I suspect that 90% of people without a medical education would feel the same. Therefore, I suggest that you explicitly note this divergence of usage near the beginning of the article -- something like, "Whereas the commonplace usage of 'disease' is limited to severe and/or infectious conditions such as cancer or hepatitis, medical usage categorizes conditions such as ankle sprains and the common cold as diseases." This sentence, which appears in the article: '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.' is quite abstract, and broadens what is already broader than the average reader will expect. Providing a short list of example diseases (and, even better, non-examples) will quickly demonstrate to the casual reader the breadth of the term. Another option is to mark this page as referring to the medical usage of the term, by changing it to something like "Disease (Medicine)", and start a stub page for the ordinary, more limited usage, which I imagine some people would be inclined to elaborate on with a historical perspective of how disease was understood in the past. (talk) 12:50, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
I think the most useful thing you could do is this: find WP:Reliable sources that say that the common cold isn't a "disease". I don't believe that is actually common use. Specifically for the common cold, I think you will find that there are hundreds of sources that say it is "most common infectious disease" in the world. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:10, 26 August 2014 (UTC)


I don't know how to revert the vandalism but someone help. --Hinata talk 03:44, 13 November 2012 (UTC)

Could you clarify what vandalism you are seeing? The sentence you removed is not WP:VANDALISM. DMacks (talk) 04:03, 13 November 2012 (UTC)
...and indeed is exactly what is given in New York Regents Examinations prep materials. I added a cite, so now it meets WP:V too. DMacks (talk) 04:08, 13 November 2012 (UTC)
I dunno about this. That's a very biology-only notion of disease. How do you fit culture-bound syndromes into this definition? WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:11, 13 November 2012 (UTC)
I'm not going to engage in WP:OR (I was only coming here per a Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard alert about possible vandalism). You're welcome to modify/expand it with cites or links to additional or alternative aspects as usual. Obviously a high-school exam, even if widely respected (in some circles) as a good benchmark, is going to have limited scope and not encompass all advanced variants. DMacks (talk) 04:16, 13 November 2012 (UTC) Sorry if that sounds sarcastic, I'm coming off of a loooong and crappy day at work. DMacks (talk) 04:18, 13 November 2012 (UTC)

Merge proposal[edit]

Someone tagged Illness to be merged into this article, and that seems to make sense. Wikipedia articles are about things/concepts, not words, and having two articles that cover the same topic is a form of content forkery. Both articles say the two are slightly different, but this doesn't seem a good reason to have two separate articles. Thoughts? — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 01:10, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

I think it should be done, but I haven't gotten around to doing all of it yet. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:44, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
This discussion was archived a bit prematurely, which I did not oppose since it seemed there was enough time given for editors to object. Given the recent activity at Illness, I have restored the discussion to give the discussion more weight. Until there is a consensus either way, I ask editors to please not remove the tag or archive this discussion.
I should note also that most of the merger has already taken place. I assume WhatamIdoing has simply not had time to place the rest at this article. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 22:03, 2 January 2013 (UTC)
I'm uncertain about whether merging these articles completely is a good action. I mean, "illness" is not always a synonym for "disease." When someone becomes sick with the common cold, it's not usually referred to as a disease. Ditto for a fever without the common cold. But then again, the Common cold article calls it (the common cold) an infectious disease. So I'm conflicted. I was originally all for not merging, which can kind of be seen in my discussion with Aeusoes1,[1] but now I'm thinking that merging may not be a bad action. Halo Jerk1 (talk) 22:56, 2 January 2013 (UTC)
The usual distinction is that a disease is something that I experience objectively and an illness is something that I experience subjectively. So the common cold is always a disease, and it's an illness if I happen to dislike it. (Fever is a symptom or medical sign, depending on whether I announce that I have one or someone else notices that I have one, but it is neither a disease nor an illness on its own.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:17, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict) It's not so much whether disease=illness, but whether it's the same topic. I think there's enough overlap that we can simply cover it all in one article. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 00:54, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
  • I don't wish to make a big deal about this but surely you can see the obvious contradiction in a a statement like "This discussion was archived a bit prematurely, which I did not oppose since it seemed there was enough time given for editors to object" Opening a new discussion after an old one has gone stale without arriving at a consensus is a perfectly acceptable option that doesn't require anyone to (mis) assign blame to a user who merely cleaned up a talk page and archived an obviously inactive discussion. Beeblebrox (talk) 23:49, 2 January 2013 (UTC)
Okay, I'll elaborate. Archiving a two-comment discussion after six weeks in a talk page that got six edits in the previous two years is iffy. I wouldn't have done it, but I also didn't fight it. We can see that it was archived prematurely because someone has now come along wishing to chime in about it. I'm not finger waving here, I'm justifying my decision to un-archive. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 00:54, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── is there anything in illness that isn't already in disease? I can't tell if the former has any unique information. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 16:56, 2 February 2013 (UTC)
I believe that most of "Physical" is present, but it should be double-checked. My recommendation is that you pick out keywords (like "developmental disability") that are present in Illness and see whether those same words exist here. If they don't, then that sentence probably needs to migrate (assuming it's on topic; some of what's left is kind of random).
The items under ==See also== are missing and should be linked here. Convalescence and concepts of recovery (i.e., the end of disease) might make an interesting short section at the end of the page. We could WP:Build the web to wellness and health by naming them as the opposites of disease. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:50, 2 February 2013 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 19:28, 2 February 2013 (UTC)

Medical Condition definition[edit]

I find it extremely problematic that we are implying that "medical condition" and "disease" are synonymous. I realize in some context, that is how they are intended, but that is confusing, not correct, use of the term. We should not be defining terms based on common misuse. By stating:

"a medical condition is a broad term that includes all diseases and disorders.
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..." 

we strongly imply that all "medical conditions" are included in the list of "illness, injury, disease and in some context mental illness;" such an implication makes it impossible to discuss any condition without implying it is a detrimental and undesired state.

This is exactly the same problem incurred by implying "diet" only refers to a "regime of food intake restricted in order to correct obesity or another pre-existing health problem," and thereby making it impossible to discuss any other sort of diet, or even an animal's "regular diet." I am aware that many insurance companies use "medical condition" to mean "disease," and that acknowledgement of that usage is important and that this is becoming the common usage, but just because an industry claims a term doesn't mean that the scientific community must give up the word. If we define "condition" to mean only dolorous and detrimental effects, it become very difficult to talk about any state that isn't undesirable, and implies that anything that isn't normal or common is a condition to be cured.

I propose that, while acknowledging the term's contextual use, we also mention that it has non-pejorative meaning in other context. Not having any "medical condition" whatsoever is not the same as "heathy," and "not-healthy" is not "having a condition," even though in many situations this is the implied meaning. Having a lack of medical condition is the state of being a non-living object.

This would be a very minor change and clears up a great deal of confusion that Wikipedia is currently contributing to. See Medical condition, under the "Bad Redirection" sub-section below and the talk page at Medical condition. (talk) 07:47, 16 February 2014 (UTC)

Feel free to list a few reliable sources that agree with your claim that "not having any 'medical condition' whatsoever" means being dead. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:22, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
That is exactly NOT what I said. "Dead" is a subset of "things that are not alive." If we start using terms imprecisely due to successful marketing campaigns, we enter dangerous territory. Just because a category is contained within another, it dose not follow that they are synonyms. I doubt that you misunderstood me that badly; if I am that unclear, I sincerely apologize, but it speaks to the issue I am raising. My desk is metal, it is not, nor has ever been alive, it is misleading to describe it as "dead." When someone describes the color teal to me as "dead," I take it as a metaphor, rather than a literalism. (talk) 23:48, 17 February 2014 (UTC), a google books search with keywords "medical dictionary" should give many sources which will provide concise definitions of both "disease" and "condition" to help decide this matter. Lesion (talk) 22:33, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
Don't forget to read Medical state, too. Every person has a medical state; not every person has a clinically significant medical condition. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:39, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
I am reluctant to refer to my friends as either "heathy," "normal," and "average"-matching some societally defined standard, OR "diseased" and not allowing for any possibility outside that binary. Upon preliminary, cursory investigation, I find that this is the language insisted upon by insurance companies and the American Social Security Administration, among others-as such, I definitely admit we need to mention this use. I am of the impression that the term still has use in the medical community in a broader and non-pejorative context, I understand this to be what is intended by crusaders who argue that we not divide the world into "standard" and "malfunctioning." I think this is clearly a very separate meaning from "state." As I have said before, I may be mistaken and I have no desire to antagonize editors who I view as much better qualified to speak clearly, than myself. I think my issue has been raised, I'm backing off. (talk) 01:15, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
This issue could easily be decided with some sources which clearly give different definitions of "disease" and "medical condition", or indeed give them as the same definition. Without sources, there tends to be no progress in these discussions. Lesion (talk) 12:10, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
I am often not useful in this sort of discussions, I admit that I am most often seen as some sort of troll-particularly when I bring up this sort of point. I would hope that an editor with a much more extensive medical background and clearer exactitude of speech would chime in, as I am trying to extradite myself from he conversation--but surely anyone can see that what we are currently doing is circular: we are defining "medical condition" (as distinct from it's use as a synonym for "medical state") as a type of disease; and "disease" as a type of medical condition:
It (referring to "A disease") is often construed as a medical condition associated with
specific symptoms and signs.
Also, by defining "medical condition" (again, as distinct from it's use as state or status of patient) as disease, we are precluding any discussion of "benign medical conditions." It becomes oxymoronic. I am well aware that a shift in language is occurring, I thought it obvious that it is towards self-referential and technical sounding but meaningless speech-but I am often told that is my personal windmill, so I could be wrong. I am hoping that an editor who is better at this can provide authoritative reference. (talk) 12:51, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
It's not actually circular. Disease = medical condition + specific signs and symptoms. Medical condition = all diseases + a bunch of stuff that isn't a disease. Pregnancy is a medical condition; it is not a disease. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:06, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
Yet we are here defining "Medical Condition A medical condition is a broad term that includes all diseases and disorders." While we discuse qualifiers, we do not alter that broad (and uncited) statement. No where in that paragraph dose it allow for the existence of "a bunch of stuff that isn't a disease"( or disorder). Again, the example you are giving, "Preganacy is a medical condition;" seems to argue my point, that when a reader seeks a definition of "medical condition" we should not refer them to the statement that it is a disease or disorder. (talk) 21:21, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Possible source[edit]

The beginning of ought to be useful for definitions of terms. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:08, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

Bad redirection[edit]

Corona phlebectatica redirects here, although it is a specific disease (or rather, a cutaneous sign of Chronic Venous Insufficiency). I am guessing it is possible that other pages about specific diseases might also redirect here. Is there a way to see which pages redirect here, and fix it? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:49, 4 March 2013 (UTC)

Yes: Click here, and please WP:Be bold. If you check the page history, you may find useful information (or garbage, or copyright violations—but it's probably worth checking). WhatamIdoing (talk) 07:21, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

I have a problem with redirecting Medical condition to here. I realize that change reflects increasingly common usage of the term; and, that my objection might be seen as nitpicking by the "let's call a spade a 'spade'" crowd. I don't think we want to support confusing and bigoted language just because it is becoming "common," however. Please discuss this on Talk:Medical condition Yes, I also object to this article implying that all "conditions" are "diseases," "disorders," "illnesses" or "injuries" ( "A medical condition is a broad term that includes all diseases and disorders. 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") but I'm trying to minimize a resurgence of an old edit war while still maintaining a distinction between "common" and "correct" usage. See above, under "Medical Condition definition" subsection. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:21, 16 February 2014 (UTC)

"Distinct Disease Entity"[edit]

I think this is an important concept to include in the "Terminology → Concepts" section, but I'm having a hard time finding information on it. Anyone understand the idea and want to contribute? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:51, 23 March 2015 (UTC)