Difference Between Illness and Disease (With Table)

The Disease is found to come from the Latin “dis-e” meaning “not equal.” The reason for using this word was because it was not common for the Disease to be equivalent to that of an Illness, yet Illness and Disease are bewildering, extremely confusing, and close words that may seem exceptionally similar.

Illness vs Disease

The main difference between Illness and Disease is that a Disease is an identifiable physiological pathology expressed by an organism where it is also considered more serious, whereas, an Illness, on the other hand, is a variation of a healthy state that has caused some harm or disability.

Illness is an inability to function in a healthy way for prolonged periods. This is typically due to the body being unable to overcome infection or another health issue. In modern times, it has become harder and harder for people to stay healthy, leading to Illnesses such as Crohn’s disease and asthma to be on the rise.

The Disease is an abnormal condition of a structure or function that impairs normal activity. To differentiate Diseases, physicians usees the term pathophysiology. Diseases can have a wide range of causes from genetics to environmental exposure. For instance, one person may have a genetic disorder that causes hemophilia, while another may get it through an insect bite.

Comparison Table Between Illness and Disease

Parameters of ComparisonIllness Disease
DefinitionIllness is an inability to function in a healthy way for prolonged periods. The Disease is a condition or disorder of any body structure and function.
ManifestationIt does not cause any specific manifestation of a known cause. It causes specific manifestation and has a known cause.
RemedyIt can be cured by an individual on their own.Requires professional care and medicaments.
Death-DealingThe Illness is not death-dealing.The Disease can be death-dealing.
IllustrationBacterial infection, depression, inflammation, stress, and anxiety. Hepatitis A, Salmonella poisoning, Lyme disease, cancer, and AIDS.

What is Illness?

As Illness is a symptom of poor health, several factors can lead to one getting sick. Some of these factors include following an infection or allergen, the body can often heal itself by fighting off the lingering virus or bacteria and reducing inflammation that comes with the immune system’s response, however, in some instances, the body is unable to beat off whatever is causing the issues and a sickness sets in.

Emotionally and mentally, the body’s immune system is often depleted during illnesses as it focuses on fighting off whatever is causing the symptoms. As a result of this, people who have an Illness often find that they are more anxious or depressed than usual, moreover, It remains difficult to predict how long someone will suffer from any given Illness, especially once symptoms have set in.

Illnesses are more typically treated on your own, often aided by over-the-counter medications, while many Illnesses are not dangerous, however, Illness can be fatal at times. Many Illnesses can lead to other problems, many of which are unrelated to the original infection or allergen. For example, sickle cell anemia can cause inflammation in the blood which can lead to infection in other parts of the body and frequent infections during pregnancy.

What is Disease?

The word “Disease” is a medical term that refers to an abnormal condition or state of the body that arises from a specific, determinate cause, moreover, when the onset of the disease is sudden and marked by acute symptoms, it is termed acute. When the onset of the disease is gradual and marked by symptoms that persist over an extended period, it is termed chronic. Acute disease may become chronic if the initial cause remains untreated or unfought, or if a new cause develops within the body.

A Disease is a specific medical condition or disorder that causes specific symptoms and has a known cause. It can affect people in defined ways ranging from mild to life-threatening. Although there are several Diseases, the most common health conditions can be divided into three main categories infectious Diseases, metabolic Diseases, and neoplastic Diseases.

Diseases fall into different categories depending on their symptoms, location of the body affected as well as how they cause health problems, where, it is believed that diseases are caused by agents termed pathogens. Some major Diseases are cancer, AIDS, diabetes, malaria, hepatitis A, Salmonella poisoning, and Lyme disease. These Diseases all affect people in different ways and to varying degrees.

Main Differences Between Illness and Disease

  1. Illness is an inability to function in a healthy way for prolonged periods of time, whereas, Disease is a condition or disorder of any body structure and function.
  2. Illness does not cause any specific manifestation of a known cause, whereas, Disease causes specific manifestation and has a known cause.
  3. Illness can be cured by an individual on their own, whereas, Disease requires professional care and medicament.
  4. The Illness is not death-dealing, whereas, Disease can be death-dealing.
  5. The Illness illustration includes bacterial infection, depression, inflammation, stress, and anxiety, whereas, Disease illustration includes hepatitis A, Salmonella poisoning, Lyme disease, cancer, and AIDS.


Illness and Disease are extremely equivalent, and baffling words that are extraordinarily different. An Illness is just what it sounds like that could also be well-known as an infection or an inability to function healthily. A person is considered ill when they are unable to carry out their daily tasks. They might feel sick, tired, or weak and find that they are unable to do things they normally would be happy or able to do. The word Disease can also describe impairment in the natural ability of a living organism to perform the functions necessary to meet the needs of that organism, moreover, many diseases manifest in individuals with compromised immunity due to other factors such as age or vaccination status.


  1. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2001-05666-016
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08870440008400303
  3. https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.36019/9780813549736-002/html

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Editorial Staff at Ask Any Difference is a team of experts in the field of "Difference Between" topics and led by Sandeep Bhandari, Piyush Yadav and Chara Yadav. Trusted by over 1.5 million readers worldwide
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