This timely and assured text provides lecturers and students with a well informed, penetrating analysis of the key questions in medicine and society. The book is divided into three sections. It opens with a well judged account of the context of health and illness. It moves on to examine the process and experience of illness. Finally, it examines how health care is negotiated and delivered.

Defining Health, Defining Disease

Defining health, defining disease

Chapter Summary

This chapter describes:

  • how medical models posit lesions as the cause of symptoms of disease, but this model is problematic when a disease has no associated lesion or when the lesion causes no symptoms that prompt the sufferer to seek medical help;
  • how the biomedical focus on disease means that health is viewed as an absence of disease;
  • how lay understandings of health are multi-dimensional, including strength, vitality and ideas around functional fitness, and that these vary by class and gender;
  • how folk models of health and illness co-exist with medical ideas;
  • how people's non-medical ideas about illness and health are significant to doctor–patient understanding in the clinical encounter.

Useful Terms for this Chapter

autonomy: both the independence with ...

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