If this is what we mean by ‘health’, what do we mean by ‘disease’? The word is actually self explanatory – we can think of it as ‘disease’ – disturbed ease. Disease, in other words, literally means being uncomfortable. However, the word is used in a more limited meaning.
We talk of disease when we can find a specific and particular cause for discomfort. This does not mean that we have to know the absolute
final cause; we can say that someone is suffering from diarrhoea without knowing exactly what has caused the loose motions.
We can now easily see that it is possible to be in poor health without actually suffering from a particular disease. Simply not being diseased is not the same as being healthy. ‘Good health’ for a dancer may mean being able to stretch his body into difficult but graceful positions. On the other hand, good health for a musician may mean having enough breathing capacity in his/her lungs to control the notes from his/her flute. To have the
opportunity to realise the unique potential in all of us is also necessary for real health.
So, we can be in poor health without there being a simple cause in the form of an identifiable disease. This is the reason why, when we think about health, we think about societies and communities. On the other hand, when we think about disease, we think about individual sufferers.