Illness and disease

PA_System

Senior Member
Polish
I found this excerpt on the internet. Why are both these words used? Are some differences discernible here? Or is it just a redundant repetition?

Pale stools are not normal. If your stools are pale or clay-colored, you may have a problem with the drainage of your biliary system, which is comprised of your gallbladder, liver, and pancreas. ... You should see your doctor whenever you have pale or clay-colored stools in order to rule out illness and disease.
 
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  • se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I suppose you can have a disease without feeling ill, so there might be a difference in some contexts. But I don't guarantee that this author was thinking of any particular difference.
     

    S1m0n

    Senior Member
    English
    To me, disease means some kind of infection, but illness can be a disorder. For instance, cancer is an illness, but polio is a disease. One has an infectious agent (ie, bacteria or virus) and the other doesn't.
     

    Linkway

    Senior Member
    British English
    If you are in hospital with severe road crash injuries, you are seriously ill, but you don't have a contagious or infectious disease.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    But not all diseases are infectious or contagious or caused by infection, chronic autoimmune conditions like lupus or diabetes 1 are known as diseases. So is cancer. 'Illness' to me means a passing condition like food poisoning or flu.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    The difference is all a bit vague. I feel that medical professionals probably use neither.

    It should be borne in mind that disease originally meant "dis-ease" - feeling a bit poorly/uncomfortable - not at ease. Illness originally meant "evil or bad conduct" and developed another meaning - "unpleasantness". It was not until the very late 17th century that it became almost synonymous with "disease".

    I think we can explain "illness and disease" as being a set-phrase.
    OED
    illness 3. Bad or unhealthy condition of the body (or, formerly, of some part of it); the condition of being ill (ill adj. 8); disease, ailment, sickness, malady.
    1838 J. G. Lockhart Mem. Life Scott lxxx In the family circle Sir Walter seldom spoke of his illness at all.

    disease 2. A condition of the body, or of some part or organ of the body, in which its functions are disturbed or deranged; a morbid physical condition; ‘a departure from the state of health, especially when caused by structural change’
     

    PA_System

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Actually I was looking for information on which word to use for color - pale or light. I searched for 'pale or light for color' and that was the first result I got. ;)

    So hepatitis or cirrhosis would be diseases right? And illness would be the state in which the body is?
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I suspect, from all of the above is that "disease and illness" is very subjective.

    I see an illness as very general - anything that is wrong with you that did not have a visible, physical cause
    A disease is a little less general and usually refers to some viral/bacterial infection (or resembles an infection in some respects) and is often transmissible.
    So hepatitis or cirrhosis would be diseases right?
    I think this is broadly how they are understood.
    Then there is a condition, and a syndrome, and an autoimmune disease/condition.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    It seems to me that Random House has the meaning.
    a disordered or incorrectly functioning organ, part, structure, or system of the body resulting from the effect of genetic or developmental errors, infection, poisons, nutritional deficiency or imbalance, toxicity, or unfavorable environmental factors;
    If you are in hospital with severe road crash injuries, you are seriously ill, but you don't have a contagious or infectious disease.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    If you are in hospital with severe road crash injuries, you are seriously ill, but you don't have a contagious or infectious disease.
    In the USA we would not use "ill" in this instance. We would probably use "seriously injured".
     

    manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    In the USA we would not use "ill" in this instance. We would probably use "seriously injured".
    :thumbsup: Thanks for saying that! I don't even know why, but I also wouldn't say "ill", no matter how painful the road rash and all the broken bones are.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    A road accident victim may be seriously injured without being seriously ill. If he is in intensive care with an intracranial bleed and on a ventilator, he's seriously ill.
     
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