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The Classification of Disease and Examination

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A Practical Approach to The Science of Ayurveda
According to some treaties and scholars these three types of diseases, psycho­somatic, physical and supernatural, are further classified into seven types. Diseases caused due to 1. Heredity, 2. Birth-related, 3. Dosa related 4. The antagonistic attack, 5. Seasonal, 6. Supernatural, and 7. Natural desires of the body.

VII) Classification of diseases on the basis of dependency
Disease generated due to the causes mentioned (aggravation of one or more than one dosas) and with clear symptoms of vitiated dosas and which subsides with dosa alleviating treatments are independent diseases (svatantra roga). Contrary to this, the diseases which do not occur independently but are produced due to causes related to other diseases that are cured with the treatment of the root cause and do not manifest with clear and significant symptoms, are dependent diseases (paratantra roga), which are further divided into two types:

1. Preliminary symptoms (purvarupd)
2. Complications (upadravd)


The minor diseases that are generated before the root disease are said to be preliminary. If the dependent disease does not subside with the treatment for the independent disease, then another line of treatment should be administered to treat the dependent disease, and if complications are more aggressive, then the complication should be treated first before the root disease.

The Classification of  Disease & Examination
Classification of Diseases on the Basis of Dependency
All these diseases are further categorised into different groups. They are named as rogdnika or group of diseases. They are as follows:

1. Classification on the basis of effect (prabhavd)
(a) Curable diseases: Which can be treated easily.
(b) Incurable diseases: Which cannot be treated.

2. Classification on the basis of strength (bala)
(a) Gentle (mrdu): Easy to cure, less aggressive
(b) Vicious (ddruna): Not easily curable, very aggressive with severe complications

3. Classification on the basis of location (adhisthand)

(a) Neurological or psychological diseases (manodhisthdnd): Diseases evolved from the mind.
(b) Physical or somatic diseases (sariradhisthdnd): Diseases developed in the body.

4. Classification on the basis of causative factor (nimittajd)

(a) Internal causative factors (svadhdtu vaisam nimittajd)’. Endogenous diseases which are produced due to vitiation, aggravation and depletion of dosas, dhdtus, updhdtus and malas are defined as internal causative factors of disease.
(b)External causative factors (agantunimittaja): Exogenous diseases which are produced due to injuries, worm infestations and other external causes are defined as external causative factors of disease.

5. Classification on the basis of residing place
(a) Diseases in the abdominal area (amdsaya samutthayd): The diseases which are in the abdomen and originate from there such as Pitta and Kapha disorders.

(b) Diseases in the large intestine (pakvdsaya samutthayd): The diseases which are in the large intestine and originate from there such as Vdta disorders.

Before the examination of a patient or disease and before selecting the specific line of treatment, a physician should have knowledge of all types of diseases.

The Classification of Disease & Examination
2. Four Legged Frame of Treatment (Four Important Factors in the Treatment of Disorders)
In Ayurveda for a complete, systematic and successful treatment of any disease, four components or parts are essential.
(I) A knowledgeable physician
(II) Drugs and medicines
(III) Nurse including attendant
(IV) A patient

These four components are the four legs of treatment. A leg is that part of the body by whose support a person stands. A person without a leg is called lame. Exactly the same condition is applied to the field of treatment. In the absence of any one of the components or due to lack of qualities, successful treatment is not possible. In each of these four components, fourfold qualities are essential.

(I) Qualities of a physician: The one who treats the patient or the disease is the physician. A good physician must have four qualities.These are expertise, thorough knowledge of Ayurvedic scriptures, practical experience, and honesty and dedication (a pious mind and body. In brief, a physician must be learned, an expert, pure and benevolent. These are the fourfold characteristics of a skilled physician. A good physician is one whose utmost aim is the well-being of a patient, selflessly.

Susruta mentioned some other qualities of a good physician, such as being self-experienced, one who can competently and firmly handle the medical procedure, brave, one who possesses all drugs and equipment, intelligent, one who makes a good decision on time, one who is laborious and progressive, and one who follows the path
of truth and virtuous duties.

(Excerpted from the book ‘ A Practical Approach To The Science Of Ayurveda:  A Comprehensive Guide For Healthy Living’ authored by Acharya Balkrishna)