|Health, Illness and Disease
All agree that health matters, but figuring out exactly what counts as ill-health remains tricky. Conditions such as cancer and tuberculosis stand out as being fairly clear-cut cases of disease. But increasingly we seek treatment for conditions other than those that straightforwardly lead to suffering and death. We worry about “risk factors” - nebulous conditions that might, at least for some, be linked to future ill-health. The disease status of those with aches, pains and fatigue has always been contested, but in an era of both economic and legal protection for those with “bona fide” disorders, and also increased surveillance of spending on health, they have been rendered newly problematic. The rise of disability rights movements has also led to many questioning whether certain states are pathological, or merely testament to the normal variety of human life.