Difference Between Disease and Condition

Disease and condition may be used as alternative words in the general usage. Though they seem to mean the same thing in terms of medical terminology, certain differences could be found. Both of these are connected to abnormal conditions in the body which will affect the normal functioning of the body, affect normal behavior and the state of mind. A disease could be infectious (due to an external cause) or due to an internal cause. Any disease has a set of symptoms which makes it distinguishable among other diseases. A condition is different from a disease because it is merely a statement which describes the state of the patient.

What is a disease?

A disease is an abnormality in the normal functioning of the body which is indicated by certain symptoms. A disease always has a specific cause. Depending on symptoms doctors make necessary decisions in order to cure the patient. A disease usually has a specific name. Some diseases are grouped into major classes of diseases and are addressed by their class names such as auto-immune diseases etc. There are many classifications for diseases. In one classification, diseases are divided into 4 main classes as pathogenic diseases, physiological diseases, hereditary diseases, and deficiency diseases. Diseases are also classified as communicable and non-communicable diseases. The characteristic feature of a disease with respect to a condition is that it tells you “what is the cause” not “how much it has affected the patient.” However, some diseases are serious than the others and thereby may hint about the medical condition indirectly.

What is a condition?

In medical terminology, especially in hospital related vocabulary, “condition” is one word that is unavoidable. When a patient or an interested party wants to know about the patient’s health, doctors do not give a comprehensive explanation on the disease. Instead, they will choose to tell you his/her medical condition. Medical condition tells you the “state” of the patient. This is explained irrespective of the disease that he/she is suffering from. There are five main words which doctors use according to the instructions given by American Hospital Association. These are; Undetermined, Good, Fair, Serious, and Critical. Look at those words, they do not tell you anything about “what went wrong,” but they tell you “how the patient is doing.” There are other terms such as grave, critical but stable, satisfactory etc., which may be used to describe a condition which needs a better reflection of the situation.

What is the difference between Disease and condition?

• Disease tells what the abnormality in health that has occurred, but condition tells the current state of the patient.

• Disease is specific than the condition because the cause is known. Condition is non-specific because it does not explain the cause.