Can a disease ever make the body stronger?

Of course it can.  \We generally think of diseases as negative, but that view limits our understanding of health and healthiness. Disease is rather poorly defined by our medical systems, technically a disease is some type of disorder that can be diagnosed by a doctor. The Online Free Medical Dictionary defines disease as "any deviation from or interruption of the normal structure or function of any body part, organ, or system that is manifested by a characteristic set of symptoms and signs and whose etiology, pathology, and prognosis may be known or unknown."

By that definition, diseases are not just deficits, they can also be an excess from normal structure, function, etc.  From a healthicine perspective, we can think of diseases in a more broad sense, as an unhealthiness caused by excess or  by a deficiency.

"a body stronger" is also a very wide term, covering a lot of conditions. I would prefer to ask the question "Can a disease ever make the body healthier?" Strength can be out of balance, and when it is out of balance, we are less healthy, even if we are stronger. An Olympic class weight lifter can be much 'stronger' than a normal person, and less healthy at the same time, resulting in a shorter lifespan. Women, whose bodies are typically seen as 'less strong' than men, live longer than men.  This may be due to the fact that they have stronger 'community healthiness', which is more beneficial than physical strength as we age.

Ok.  Some examples.

According to many professionals, 'obesity' is a disease.  Obese people don't just have more 'fat' than those who are non-obese. They also have more muscle - they need it to move their bodies in normal day to day living. Thus, obesity is a full body disease that makes  you stronger.

There is a common saying "what doesn't kill me, will make me stronger". This is not well studied, but many people believe that some diseases are like forest fires.  Influenza, for example, can only attack an unhealthy, overgrown body.  The flu virus kills the cells that are unhealthy, and when the body heals and recovers - it is healthier and stronger. The flu, if this theory is correct, is a disease of the respiratory system, that makes you stronger.  This might be the case for many infectious diseases, but our medical systems do not study this aspect of disease.

Some diseases sit on a border, making us stronger, and weaker at the same time.  Sickle cell anemia makes people stronger - when the body is fighting malaria.  But weaker as the person grows older.  As a result, it makes communities stronger, because those who carry the disease can survive long enough to reproduce, while those people without the disease 'are not strong enough' to survive and reproduce.

What about diarrhea.  There are many causes.  One of the most common is e. coli.  Now we each have our own interior colony of e. coli, which serves us very well. But our personal colonies of e. coli are limited in variety. When we travel, it is easy to get infected by new varieties of e. coli, which cause a disruption in our digestive system.  Typically, after a few days, our systems stabilize and we stop being sick. Our medical systems don't tend to as the question 'are you stronger' after a bout of diarrhea.  But I  suspect that, in at least some cases - you are stronger. Your body has been subjected to a new strain, and is now stabilized.  As a result, you are less likely to be get sick (eg. you are stronger).

There is also an important aspect of getting a diagnosis for an illness. Let's suppose you go to the doctor, and you are diagnosed with a nutrient deficiency - scurvy, beriberi, anemia, etc.  Your doctor tells you that you need to change your diet.  You change your diet.  The disease, the diagnosis, forced you to change your diet.  You might argue that 'the disease' didn't actually make you healthier.  But let's compare: suppose you are not diagnosed with an iron deficiency. You just feel weak, out of breath, but you don't visit a doctor.  Yes, the disease is making you weaker. But technically, it is not a disease until it is diagnosed.  When it is diagnosed - you learn what actions to take, and become stronger. Until you had a 'disease' diagnosed - you were not going to get stronger. Is a similar manner, if you have a minor deficiency of Vitamin C, Vitamin B1, iron, or even all three - you don't have a disease. You won't get stronger until the problem is severe enough to be classed as a disease, measured and 'treated'.  I put the word treated in quotes, because the cure for these diseases is not 'medicine', it is simply an improvement in healthiness. 

 Back to the definition of 'ever make the body stronger'. The word 'stronger', as opposed to healthier, can be a bit misleading. Having a disease, and learning to constantly live with and fight against the disease, might make you stronger in the face of adversity.  Of course for some other people - it might make them weaker.

An addiction to drugs or alcohol can make your  body 'stronger' or less susceptible to the effects of those drugs. Is this a case of actually being 'stronger' or does being 'stronger' actually make you 'weaker'?

Myopia (or nearsightedness) and Hyperopia (farsightedness) are diseases of the eyes.  People who 'suffer' from myopia are 'stronger' when it comes to reading small text. People who 'suffer' from hyperopia are 'stronger' when it comes to hunting animals in the forest.  Strength is not a good measure of health.

Many people mentioned vaccinations, which were first discovered via the disease cowpox.  People who are infected with cowpox have bodies that are 'stronger' in the face of smallpox.  The disease made them stronger.

There are also a class of diseases that result in abnormal, unhealthy muscular growth.  These diseases might make you 'stronger', but less healthy - which is why I would rather ask the question "can a disease make you healthier".  Of course the answer to both questions is YES. But not necessarily the same diseases.

There are also diseases that make the skin thicker and 'stronger', but actually 'less healthy', and it can even result in skin breaking, infections, etc, because the skin is not healthy and flexible.  Strength can be a deficit.
I am not a doctor. 
to your health, tracy
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