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The Seven Categories of Disease

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The Seven Categories of Disease

The seven categories of disease are very difficult to define, because
many diseases are multifunctional in both there symptoms and how
someone comes about developing such diseases. In this essay I am going
to attempt to separate them into some form of structure.

Physical disease is when the body is physically unable to function. An
example of a physical disease would be Cerebral palsy. This is a
disease that is thought to be the result of trauma to a child's brain
before, during or after birth. It can affect a child in varying
degrees of physical disability. There are several types of cerebral
palsy which affect different parts of the body; Hemiplegia affects
either the left or right side of the body, Diplegia affects both legs
and Quadriplegia affects both arms and legs equally. There is nothing
wrong with the sufferer's mind and it does not affect the life
expectancy of the person.

Mental disease is when the mind has been distorted in some way to
produce a behaviour which is considered as "abnormal". Anorexia
nervosas is a good example of this, as the sufferer has a distorted
image of themselve and believes that they are fat. They restrict there
food intake and up there exercise regime to the point of extreme ill
health. There could be many reasons causing someone to be anorexic
Many believe it is the feeling that the sufferer is not in control of
their lives and food and exercise is something they can control.
Others believe that the sufferer is struggling to cope with becoming
an adult. Whatever the reasons behind such behaviour; it is the
person's state of mind that determines the state of their health.
Although this is a good example of mental disease this could also
cross over to physical disease as the effects on the body are very
physical, leading to extreme underweight and even death. This could
also be included in the self inflicted category.

Inherited disease is when a disease has come about because of the
genes that the parents carry. Both parents must be a carrier of a
disease for a child to inherit that disease. An example of inherited
disease would be Cystic fibrosis. The best way to explain the genetics
of Cystic fibrosis is with a diagram:


A diagram of the genetics if Cystic fibrosis. Fig1

Cystic fibrosis is a disease that mainly affects the lungs and gut. It
causes a sticky substance to gather around the lungs affecting the
breathing of a sufferer and more susceptible to bacterial infections.
Many suffers struggle to put on weight because it stops the gut from
producing enzymes to absorb the nutrients from food.

There is a one in four chance of a child having CF if both parents are
carriers. CF is the most common inherited disease in white people
affecting one child in every 2,500 born. Although CF is an inherited
disease, it could also easily be classified in the physical disease
category because it largely affects the body.

Degenerative disease is when someone gets ill because they are getting
older. There are many possible examples one of which would be angina.
By the 70th year an average person's heart would have beaten over 2.5
billion times. It would be right to assume that the heart would lose a
certain amount of efficiency, angina is when the coronary arteries are
narrowed and less blood can flow through them to supply the heart
muscle with oxygen. A shortage of oxygen to the heart causes a cramp
like pain in the chest that spreads around to the shoulder, neck and
arms. This is also a physical condition and you can also have a
genetic tendency towards heart problems.

Self-infliction is something that someone does to themselves that
causes them ill health. The biggest and most publicised self inflicted
problem in the developed country is smoking. Over 120,000 people die
each year in the UKalone from smoking. There are more than 4,000
chemical compounds in a cigarette and over 400 of those are toxic. The
tip burns at 700 degrees Celsius and the smoke it produces between
"puffs" is more toxic than the smoke that is inhaled and can cause
diseases such as; a number of different cancers, cardiovascular
disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, atherosclerosis,
stroke, high blood pressure, kidney failure and even gangrene. I'm not
exactly sure what all those conditions mean physically, but it seems a
huge gamble on your life to pick up a cigarette. Research has shown
that smoking decreases your life expectancy by 7-8 years.

Deficiency is when someone is missing a vital vitamin or mineral from
there body that is needed for good health. A common disorder of this
type is anaemia. This is when the blood does not carry enough oxygen
around the body causing pallor, tiredness, breathlessness and
palpitations. It also decreases resistance to infection. There are
many reasons for anaemia but the most common is a deficiency in iron
or B12. Sickle cell and thalassaemia are both inherited forms of

An allergy is the body's immune system treating a relatively harmless
thing as a harmful antigen that needs to be rejected by the body. A
milk allergy is an example of this. The body reacts to the proteins in
milk causing; rashes, gastroenteritis and cold like symptoms. It is
also possible to die from an anaphylactic shock. These symptoms are
all very physical and it has been known to be inherited.

As I have shown the seven categories of disease are all very
interchangeable and it is very difficult to separate them defiantly.


Human form and function Pamela Minnett. David Wayre. David Rubenstein.

Scope fact sheet on Cerebral palsy
_fibrosis.html Fig1

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"The Seven Categories of Disease." 23 Apr 2014

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