What is a “disease process?”

Let’s talk about the concept of “disease process”.

Disease is defined as: “a disorder of structure or function in a human, animal, or plant, especially one that produces specific signs or symptoms or that affects a specific location and is not simply a direct result of physical injury.”

Process is defined as: “a natural or involuntary series of changes”

Putting this together, when we look at the definition of “disease process,” we would say that it is “a series of natural or involuntary changes that caused a disorder of structure or function, which produces symptoms.”


 

One of the things that makes our treatment style unique is the fact that we treat the underlying cause of the problem. After we develop a diagnosis of the underlying cause (or disease process), we treat that to resolve the symptom(s). A term that could be used to explain in broad terms that underlying cause of a symptom would be the term disease process.

Let’s use an example of high blood pressure: We view high blood pressure as a symptom of an underlying disease process. A person has long-term emotional stress, which leads to a breakdown of liver function. The liver (known in Oriental medicine as intimately connected to stress in day-to-day living), may have a negative effect on the heart. This, in turn, leads to tension in the blood vessels, increasing the pressure (due to less elasticity) of the fluid in the inside of the blood vessel. Hence, high blood pressure.

Outlined above is obviously one of many potential causes of high blood pressure, however is relatively common and illustrates the fact that a disease process will often lead to a symptom. If a person treats the symptoms only, it will never fully resolve.

Nothing in this document is tended as a replacement for a medical doctor’s diagnosis or treatment.

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