Talk:Disease/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2


Where does pj gwapo Type II fit in our list of diseases? AxelBoldt 03:13 Feb 24, 2003 (UTC)

Most would call it a metabolic disease, which doesn't seem to be there. It could go under endocrine: I think most classifications have one category called endocrine/metabolic. -- Someone else 03:23 Feb 24, 2003 (UTC)and tha s yo disease

Is an overdose of a nutrient (such as hypervitaminosis A) a nutritional disease or a toxic disease? -phma

Is diabetes a disease or a syndrome (i.e., a collection of symptoms which can have any of several ultimate causes)? 23:07, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Sure it's a disease, in the same sense liver failure, heart failure, respiratory failure, or shock are diseases. All can have multiple potential causes but for purposes of discussing manifestations and treatment, the specific reason for the organ failure may not be so important. alteripse 03:57, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I see that Illness redirects here. Is it common hell yeah sheet!!(medical) usage that illness and disease are actually different things? (illness being the effects that a disease has on someone), or have i just heard too much psychobabble?

See biopsychosocial model.

You are correct on your first point. Removed redirect at illness and started article. Petersam 20:32, 15 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Disorder -> Disease? Huh?

Why, oh, why does "disorder" redirect to "disease" when the entry for "disease" does not sufficiently elaborate on various disorders like compulsive gambling and gaming, and kleptomania. men because ya was jus born like tha!!! alright! so get tha straight alright!! The definitions of disorder and disease are similar at-first-glance, however, a disorder is a "condition that disturbs normal functioning" while a disease is "a condition of abnormal functioning." They're quite different, I think. User:Adraeus

Two paragraphs in the disease article mention the issue of abnormal/unwanted/deviant/harmful/atypical (pick your disease) behaviors and how their definition and classification varies by culture, era, and even political perspective. This is true around the world, not just in the US. This is an important and challenging and really interesting topic. I listed some of the culture-specific (insert your preferred term) in the article:

You mentioned some more:

Just to get the arguments going, here are a few more:

* chronic homelessness/ schizo-affective socio-divergence disorder/ hypomania
* "slang" tha baddest m.f. is ill with tha dopest skillDubdogs (talk) 07:31, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

I tried to put something in the list that would offend everyone-- notice how socially controversial the categorizations become. The list of troublesome behaviors and human variations is perhaps as long as the list of diseases for which we can demonstrate an altered tissue or deranged metabolism. Notice that many involve sexual behaviors, in which society always takes a proprietary interest, and many straddle or challenge the line between free-will behaviors and "involuntary" "compulsions," or even sin or crime. Some shade into normal behavioral responses to social predicaments. Some are inextricable from what we call character or habit. Many cause no problems to the person affected but only to the people around; for many of the conditions the only potential harm comes from the social consequences of the behavior.

However, I don't recommend spending too much time trying to disentangle disease, disorder, illness, condition, etc. And don't make the mistake of assuming you can learn much about the condition by which term someone uses-- it might tell you more about the person using the term than about the condition. Although you can come up with distinctions and differences, the usage can vary with context and is not always consistent. In some contexts the words are used interchangeably and in other contexts the choice connotes a large difference in political perspective. Feel free to contribute.

Also, please sign your posts-- if you put ~ 4 times in a row it will automatically become your user name and a date stamp. Alteripse 14:06, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Thanks for responding and for the Wikipedia tip! You answered my question. Adraeus 00:49, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)

List of diseases

This entry gives a long but very incomplete list of disorders, which has been cobbled together with no real clear parameters. I would argue in favour of its removal - there are lists of this kind elsewhere on Wikipedia. JFW | T@lk 20:04, 6 Nov 2004 (UTC)

The following sentence doesn't actually seem to mean anything, so I have edited it: "To consider a collection of syndromes a considition is objectively verifiable, but often to consider them a disease is a social value judgement" 23:07, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Disorder, round 2

It has already been mentioned that disorder redirects to disease. Please introduce the term in the article and explain the difference in the usage. mikka (t) 17:29, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Your quesetion is answered above on this page. alteripse 00:22, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)


I reverted the extensive changes by Hans for 3 reasons: erroneous info, style problem, and poor english usage. The most egregious erroneous info was his assertion that a syndrome is a collection of symptoms: he needs to read the appropriate articles, including the original text of this one. The style problem is that we needed no more vague sentences that say something " would have a major effect" without being more explicit-- no information is conveyed to the reader by such a statement and it is intellectually sloppy. Finally, while his english is far better than my deutsch (or whatever his native language is), it contained many more errors of usage, syntax, and grammar than the text he replaced. I would invite him to list the points he thinks should be added to the existing text here and we can integrate the valid ones with good english. alteripse 12:05, 23 August 2005 (UTC)

I disagree with alteripe's characterization of the English the previous version. The English of the reverted version is attrocious, the concepts were muddled and the direction of discussion uncertain. My native language is English.

I will admit certain points in my edits could be improved but, in fact, they were still improvements over the previous text, which was and still awful. I didn't actually add the definition of syndrome. I just completed the sentence "Medical usage sometimes distinguishes a disease, which has a known specific cause or causes (called its etiology), from a syndrome, which is a collection of s" to say symptom. I'm not sure how anyone can think the present sentence fragment "defining" syndrome could be an improvement - it seems more likely you simply reverted without noticing what the previous version even said. I wouldn't mind a more medically correct description of syndrome versus disease. However, I don't say how reverting my edits went in that direction.

I would just as much defend my edits of the "Identifying a condition as a disease". As version I editted stood, it was a mish-mash of confusing barely related point.

The paragraph read/reads "Identifying a condition as a disease, rather than simply a variation of human structure or function, could have significant social or economic implications (such as compensation for the victims). For example, recognition of post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as "shell shock"; repetitive motion injury or repetitive stress injury (RSI); and Gulf War syndrome as diseases were very controversial in several countries, and affect financial and other responsibilities of governments and companies to individuals. Also, ageing is increasingly being viewed as a disease, although this is widely disputed."

This is stylistically awful and indeed conveys very little information. While my revision might not be perfect, it is miles ahead of this.

Hans Joseph Solbrig 19:44, 23 August 2005 (UTC)

Thank you for the responses. Obviously I made a couple of mistakes. The version immediately before yours did have some gaps and problems that I overlooked. I guess the sentences, "The social implication of viewing ageing as a disease could be profound, though this classical is not yet widespread." and " Lepers were a group of afflicted individuals who historically shunned and the term "leper" still evokes social sigma. Fear of disease can still be a widespread social phenomena. Yet not all disease evoke extreme social stigma." made me think you were not a native english speaker because of the multitude of simple number and agreement errors as well as the awkward structure and unusual word use.

I was trying to get rid of the false distinction between disease and syndrome and linkage of symptom to syndrome. A syndrome is simply a combination of problems (not just symptoms in the accurate sense of subjective complaints) often observed together and presumably related. Whether a condition is called Smith disease or Smith syndrome is more a matter of historical contingency than any meaningful denotative distinction. It looked like you were reasserting that and I was trying to get rid of it.

I put it back the way you left it as I don't feel up to a rewrite. Sorry for any offense. alteripse 01:57, 24 August 2005 (UTC)

Thank you,

I should have looked more closely at the history of the page before I editted. I am going to restore an even earlier version for the first half of the article and will correct problems with my revisions of the later half.

While, I think that some mention of Koch's criteria should be made as well as noting that certain diseases have experienced patient activism - the active struggle of patients for their condition to be recognized as a disease and/or receive treatment, I won't add anything further now.

Hans Joseph Solbrig 05:11, 24 August 2005 (UTC)

Too anthropic

This article is too human-centric, because disease can apply to any organism. (For instance, see Diseases of the honeybee.)—jiy (talk) 13:32, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

move to Human Disease ?

This topic should have animal diseases and human diseases apart. I'm voting to move it to human disease or.. we could merge animal diseases and human diseases with examples--www.doc 23:02, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

Human diseases are a form of animal disease. The point is that an article about animal disease shouldn't be too skewed towards humans. --Oldak Quill 02:43, 30 July 2006 (UTC)


Contagious shoudln't be redirected here, it should have its own article. Also people looking for the article Contagious (song) would currently not be able to find it.--mexaguil 07:47, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

Social Problems

Social Problems also should not redirect to Disease. While Disease is certainly one type of social problem, there are plenty of social problems that aren't diseases (e.g. crime, poverty, divorce, drunk driving), and vice versa (even if social scientists would point to social conditions that contribute to the disease). (talk) 16:47, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

Plant Diseases?

I agree with previous comments. The article should be far more general, redirecting to human, animal and plant disease. A discussion of disease causes would be useful - these may be organisms, viruses, bacteria, fungi, nematodes etc, internal imbalances or lack of essential nutrients. (Maccheek 09:43, 26 May 2006 (UTC))

last section

The last section of this paragraph needs editing: [edit] Syndromes, illness and disease Medical usage sometimes distinguishes a disease, which has a known specific cause or causes (called its etiology), from a syndrome, which is a collection of signs or symptoms that occur together. However, many conditions have been identified, yet continue to be referred to as "syndromes". Furthermore, numerous conditions of unknown etiology are referred to as "diseases" in many contexts. I suggest that it would read better if the last lines were removed: [edit] Syndromes, illness and disease Medical usage sometimes distinguishes a disease, which has a known specific cause or causes (called its etiology), from a syndrome, which is a collection of signs or symptoms that occur together. However, many conditions have been identified, yet continue to be referred to as "syndromes". Furthermore, numerous conditions of unknown etiology are referred to as "diseases" in many contexts.

Any thoughts? I'm new to this and I didn't want to edit without checking. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 17:49, 2 February 2007 (UTC).

Learn More

Wtf? Are users allowed to post recommendations on the actual article page? Shouldn't that be on the talk page? Talk User:Fissionfox 10:36, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Rowan's additions

Hi Fissionfox. I am not sure whether personal recommendations are allowed. I am happy to have my name removed from the article and make it a general comment. What do you think of including a 'learn more' section? at the end of all science articles? Regards, Rowan. Rowan 17:15, 30 March 2007 (UTC)Rowan

Reccomended external sources and other ways to learn more are a great addition to any article but would probably be better placed in the external links section as a general, non-personal reccomendation. 18:17, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Rowan's additions don't quite match the intro and are a bit misleading. As nice as the first figure is, it is mainly applicable to explaining host variation in infection susceptibility rather than "all diseases". A huge proportion of diseases do not have a place on a 2 dimensional "spectrum" since there are many diseases that simply seem to be neither genetic nor infectious (cerebral palsy, epilepsy, hypopituitarism due to head trauma, oppositional-defiant disorder, heat stroke, osteoporosis, astrocytoma and many other cancers, hydronephrosis, gynecomastia, etc, etc). alteripse 17:47, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

The only diseases I can think of that do not fit in the spectrum are age-related diseases (e.g. osteoporosis) if one assumes that ageing is entirely a result of the body deteriorating with time with no environmental or genetic input. However, a strong theory of ageing is that it as a result of an anti-cancer mechanism that causes cells to senesce, and thus the whole organism to age. For more info on this have a look at the Nature Insight on Ageing articles from the issue of Nature ( Additionally the progeroid syndromes manifest with premature ageing. These syndromes are hereditary and the RecQ helicase gene has been identified as a gene that is mutated in these syndromes (OMIM 176670 and OMIM 277700). Thus if ageing is considered to be encoded in one's genes and is caused also by environmental factors, then all diseases do fit on my spectrum. Rememeber that a disease by definition is transmissable - transmissable either through offspring in one's genes or via a vector (e.g. a virus, toxic chemical etc.). The only other exception to this that I can think of is the deterioration to the body that occurs in space, though even with this example one could argue that the deterioration is due to our genes and that if we lived long enough in space there would be selection for genes/ variants of genes that minimise deterioration of the body. Mars here we come!

There are many factors that contribute to osteoarthritis. If you refer to the osteoarthritis article on Wikipedia you will find that "up to 60% of cases are thought to result from genetic factors" (as of 11-04-2007). I would also like to refer you to OMIM, which lists osteoarthritis as a genetic disease - see Searching the term 'epilepsy' on the OMIM database returns 365 hits, indicating the multifactorial nature of this disease and also indicating that genetic factors contribute to some types of epilepsy ( Hypopituitarism, hydronephrosis, astrocytoma, cerebral palsy and gynecomastia (OMIM 139300) all return searches on the OMIM database, thus indicating that genetic factors contribute to all of these diseases. For any diseases that you are unsure as to whether they have a genetic component, please use the OMIM database. It is free and is very reliable, giving results of the latest scientific research. Advances in molecular genetics techniques is facilitating the identification of genes that cause disease, though there remain diseases, I am sure, for which a complete list of genetic and environmental factors have not been identified. As a final thought, if a disease had no genetic and no environmental factors then it could not be cured. Thus medical researchers will search very, very hard before they give up and say "nope! We have no idea what causes this disease so it must be caused by the Devil! There is no hope for this person!".

I do appreciate comments on any articles that I contribute to and thank Alterprise for the criticism and wish Alterprise a Happy Easter. Regards, 00:48, 11 April 2007 (UTC)Rowan Savage

And happy Easter to you. I am trying to figure out how to reconcile what seem to be two different views of disease. The article begins with a broad definition in an attempt to be cross-cultural and to recognize that in its broadest usage, calling a condition a disease in an act of social assignment or classification. See the list at the top of this page for examples of diseases that are clearly not universally recognized as such. Rowan has offered a much narrower concept of disease, which strikes me as both slightly ambiguous and far too narrow. The ambiguity arises from the fact that most of the concepts in his section arise from discussion of host factors and infectious factors, perfectly valid in many ways but not all. The concept of a disease being affected by both intrinsic (host) factors such as impaired health, genetic vulnerability, or prior exposure, as well as extrinsic pathogenic factors such as the infectious microbe. But I disagree strongly that this paradigm applies to all diseases, especially when expressed narrowly as genetic factors. Between the message just above, and the list I provided at the top of this page, I have given you dozens of examples of conditions considered in many ways to be diseases but to which your genetic-pathogen axis is irrelevant. It is as if you either did not read the intro or did not understand it. Your conception of disease is far too narrow and culture bound. alteripse 01:40, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Thanks Alterprise. That is a good and insightful comment. I will have a think and get back to you. I have only recently started my Wiki work and have a lot to learn from people like you. Rowan 01:44, 11 April 2007

I have reworked my contribution and changed infectious agent to environmental factors. Environmental factors is a term that can include social, psychological, chemical (e.g. toxin) and biological (e.g. pathogen) factors. Hence this should include factors that contribute to conditions such as bullemia and compulsive gambling, that admittedly are not explained by the term 'infectious agent'. I have no background knowledge in sociology or psychology and would greatly appreciate the contribution of another member of the Wikipedia community to write a section on 'The basis of psychological disease/ disorders' or suchlike. Perhaps I should rename my section "The biochemical basis of disease" and someone could write a section entitled "The pyschological/ social basis of disease". Once again, thanks to Alterprise for the comments. Very interesting. Rowan 01:51, 11 April 2007 (UTC)Rowan 02:09, 11 April 2007 (UTC)Rowan

goal of medicine

The goal of medicine is to where possible prevent, and otherwise to delay, disease rather than treating people once disease has become established. Doing this has been possible when preventing disease that is caused entirely by a foreign infectious agent (e.g. smallpox) and explains the huge success of vaccines that have eradicated diseases caused by agents such as smallpox (smallpox was declared as eradicated at the end of 1979 [1]).

I moved this paragraph from the intro for 2 reasons. The lead sentence is simply false, and the remainder deals only with a subset of disease and doesnt belong in the general intro. It can be replaced in the section on infections. Why is the lead wrong? Because for as long as there have been doctors and patients, the principal "goal of medicine" is the action of a physician to bring comfort to a patient, in the broadest senses of all four words. Public health measures like mosquito eradication and immunization and better nutrition are very important and in some settings may even save more lives, but have never been the core "goal of medicine". alteripse 10:36, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Good point. 14:23, 11 April 2007 (UTC)Rowan.

Possible additions

Good evening fellow editors. I wonder if the following sections could be added to this article:

- Types of disease - Would this be better included in the article on 'infection' or would it complement the article on infection?

- Geographical distribution of disease. Epidemiology as the study of monitoring and predicting disease spread.

- Treatment of disease -

- Prevention of disease - disease eradication, vaccination, good hygiene, health organisations both national and international (world health organisation), Millenium goals which include eradication of Polio etc.

Another ideas of additions to this article?

Kind regards, Rowan 21:54, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

I agree...
  • A section clearly explaining the different types of disease (infectious, congenital, classified by organ system, classification by cause, etc.) is needed, with clear links to articles that discuss diseases of particular types in more detail. Certainly there are more diseases than just the infectious kind, and a broad overview here would be useful.
  • A section on incidence of disease would certainly be helpful, such as a chart summarizing List of causes of death by rate.
  • A map or two showing the distribution of various types of diseases would also be interesting.
  • Treatment and prevention are somewhat broad topics. The particulars vary by type - perhaps these subjects are best covered when talking about each type - the prevention of genetic diseases, prevention of infectious diseases, prevention of cancer, etc. If that gets too long, I would leave the details to articles on each general type of disease. The "Causes of disease" section right now goes on at length about the fuzziness of the genetic/environmental, but there are many other basic concepts that need to be explained.
-- Beland 22:15, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

How could the term pathogen not be in the intro?

No pathogen, no disease?--scuro 12:17, 2 September 2007 (UTC)

Are the editors of this page Zombies? A serious question has been asked of you.--scuro (talk) 03:44, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

A little late - but, how about a counter-example? Alcoholism. You see, the term 'disease' is used in a broad sense, that doesn't always describe a pathology in the traditional sense. Tparameter (talk) 02:17, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
See Koch's postulatesLeadSongDog (talk) 17:17, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

Alcholism as a disease is just a theory. By the logic that alcholism is a disease, then anything that alters the mind to a dependance on a substance is a disease. Nicotine addiction is a disease by this logic.

There's been numerous critics on this subject already but if you ask me disease as a word is being used for something it shouldn't be. A 'disease' in my mind is an illness that spreads to different people through a pathogen. If it's isolated to one person/animal then I don't think it's a disease.

i.e; You can't give someone else alcholism.

I think the American media have started using the word 'disease' as an umbrella term. I've noticed on the latest report of that cheerleader with dystonia, that the reporter referred to it as a disease, when really it's not necessarily always induced by a pathogen, it could also be genetic. In her case it was caused by a reaction to the flu-shot, but can it be considered a disease if it's a mental illness. Perhaps a psychogenic disease, but if you look at that page there's debate if that term is correct too.

I think really someone with medical authority should come in a stop the American media before it gets out of hand. Otherwise I think every bad thing under the sun is going to be called a 'disease'. Soon enough gambling addiction will be called a disease. Megapeen (talk) 03:50, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

Megapeen, under your definition, heart disease and autoimmune diseases and genetic diseases are not "diseases". I'm sure you don't mean to tell people with cancer and diabetes mellitus that they don't have "really" a disease.
This kind of simple error is why Wikipedia relies on reliable sources instead of our personal opinions. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:57, 22 October 2009 (UTC)


Can someone give a list of diseases? My cousin is in the science fair and needs lot's of diseases. Thanks! Aishe zq (talk) 02:25, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

State of this article

This article is in quite a poor state. I think that it needs a major overhaul to reflect modern scientific and medical thinking. Anyone else agree? I will try to make a start on improving it as and when I find time. AussieBoy (talk) 08:37, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

mental disorder

reedit required. the term disorder is used in mental health, rather than illness - not simply because of stigma and because patients prefer not to use it, but because the causes of mental health conditions are varied, often due to a combination of psychological and social factors. Even with the more biological mental health conditions such as schizophrenia - there is alot of debate about the causes - and the concept of disease or illness is not sufficient. Earlypsychosis (talk) 01:07, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

I don't object to your changes (although removing the fact that disorder is a little less stigmatizing than disease might be overzealous), but I don't understand your comment, and it begins with an assertion that further editing needs to be done. Are you trying to say that disorder is only properly used in complex, multifactorial medical conditions with asserted psychosocial etiologies? I do not think that such a claim could be supported. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:43, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
yeah. maybe add the less stimgatizing back again. Was trying to be succinct (its not all about mental health) and the the main reason for use is about current conceptualisation of the term - e.g. mental illness on wikipedia does redirect to mental disorder. Should read edit done. I have been thinking about the use of the word illness in terms of schizophrenia and the current debate. Have a draft page on an article on term post Kraepelin . Feel free to edit Earlypsychosis (talk) 09:22, 20 March 2009 (UTC)
What do you think about the current version? WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:01, 20 March 2009 (UTC)
great. Earlypsychosis (talk) 18:41, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

Soldier's Heart is not Shellshock

I don't know if I can state it any clearer than that. I'm not claiming to be an authority, but my understanding is that shellshock is considered a psychiatric disorder and soldier's heart is a physiological cardiac problem. In any case I don't know if the implication that they are the same disease is deliberate, but the section "Social Significance of Disease" certainly seems to imply that they are (I understand that this may be due to poor writing). The wiki pages on "The Effort Syndrome" (i.e. soldier's heart) and "Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder" (i.e. shellshock) would seem to back up my claim that they are distinct entities. I would edit this section myself to correct this inexactitude/incorrectness, however I am a wikipedia n00b and so would rather leave the actual editing to someone more experienced. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:35, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

As the Soldier's heart article was the focus of an intensive POV-pushing effort by an editor that is now permanently banned from Wikipedia, and hasn't been properly re-written since then, I wouldn't rely on it for such fine-grained interpretations. The syndrome itself, as originally described, is known to have included people with several different conditions, including mitral valve prolapse. That it might have included people with combat stress reaction (shell shock) as well is entirely plausible, and certainly Da Costa's own belief is that it was a stress reaction to battle. You might like to read this source for further information about the development of these. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:08, 12 June 2009 (UTC)


The first sentence defines disease as "an abnormal condition of an organism that impairs bodily functions, associated with specific symptoms and signs."

A broken bone would fit that description, but no one would call it a disease. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dmillman (talkcontribs) 13:54, 23 October 2009 (UTC)


Is obesity really 'generally regarded as a disease'? In certain cases, of course, but classifying it as 'generally regarded as a disease' seems extreme.

First paragraph of Obesity:

Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have an adverse effect on health, leading to reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems. Body mass index (BMI), a measurement which compares weight and height, defines people as overweight (pre-obese) when their BMI is between 25 kg/m2 and 30 kg/m2, and obese when it is greater than 30 kg/m2

That seems to point both in the direction of overeating and actual disorder, so you cannot say that obesity (as Wiki defines it) is generally regarded as a disease.

Kielbasa1 (talk) 16:48, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

Many sources define Obesity as a "disease" of affluence. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:50, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

Top Ten Deadliest Diseases

               A MetalShark Production             Top Ten Deadliest Diseases 

1 Aids 2 Influenza 3 Spanish Flu 4 Bubonic Plague 5 Malaria 6 Ebola 7 Cholera 8 Smallpox 9 Polio 10 Black DeathMetalShark (talk) 02:32, 14 August 2010 (UTC)

Disease is bad —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:14, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

  1. ^ Breman JG, Arita I, Fenner F. (2003). "Preventing the return of smallpox". New England Journal of Medicine 348 (5): 463–466. PMID 12556549.