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The Classification of Disease and Examination

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Health is order; disease is disorder. Within the body there is a constant interaction between order and disorder. In Ayurveda, the concept of health is fundamental to the understanding of disease, where’dis’ means “deprived of and ‘ease’ means “comfort.” Therefore, before discussing disease, we must understand the meaning of comfort or health. A state of health exists when: the digestive fire (agni) is in a balanced condition, the bodily humors (Vdta, Pitta and Kapha) are in equilibrium, the three waste products (urine, feces and sweat) are produced in normal amounts and are in balance, the senses are functioning normally, and the body, mind and consciousness are harmoniously working as one. When the balance of any of these systems is disturbed, a disease cycle begins. Thus, imbalances of the body and mind are responsible for physical and psychological pain and misery.

  1. Classification of Diseases

According to Ayurveda, disease may be classified according to its origin – psychological, spiritual or physiological. Disease is also classified according to the site of manifestation -heart, lungs, liver and so on. Diseases are further classified according to the causative factors and bodily dosas – Vdta, Pitta and Kapha. On this basis their treatments are prescribed. Various types of diseases are classified on the basis of various causative factors described below.

Classification on the basis of dosa and karma


1)   Dosaja roga: An unsuitable diet and lifestyle causes vitiation of Vata, Pitta and Kapha (increase or decrease) and as a result there are Vata, Pitta and Kapha disorders

respectively. According to this classification of diseases dosaja ailments are of two types:

  1. a) Samanyaja roga:The diseases which are produced due to the vitiation of any dosa are called samanyaja roga such as fever, diarrhea, abdominal swelling and so on.
  1. b)   Nanatmaja roga: The diseases which are produced from a specific dosa and not from any other dosa or their combination are called nanatmaja roga. Although no definite counting can be given to such diseases, yet Ayurvedic scriptures describe 80 Vata disorders, 40 Pitta disorders and 20 Kapha

2)    Karmaja roga: The diseases which are believed to be caused as a result of sins of a previous birth or due to wrong deeds performed in this life knowingly and unknowingly are called karmaja or adrsta karmaja. In such disorders no specific vitiation of dosas or manifested symptoms occur but a patient suffers from diseases which are cured with difficulty.

These diseases emerge suddenly and are difficult to cure in spite of different therapies used. The misery caused by these ailments are only cured by subsiding the effect of evil deeds by noble actions. Such disorders may be alleviated by acts of charity, compassion, service to brahmins (holy people), cows, the poor and disabled, and by prayers, meditation and other noble acts.

3)    Dosa-Karmaja roga: The diseases which are produced by the combined effect of dosaja ailments, due to a wrong food regime and lifestyle at the present time plus the sinful deeds of previous births are known as dosa-karmaja roga. As a result, even a mild cause may lead to the occurrence of chronic diseases, and at times even a slight increase in the normal level of a dosa may result in more severity of a disease. The treatment is based on the genesis of disease. The patient will have to tolerate the discomfort due to bad conduct of previous births. Virtuous deeds performed as a therapy help to reduce the effect of the disease.

Classification of Diseases on the Basis of Dosas and Karmas (Deeds) – use from the pic ayurveda 1

  1. II) Classification on the basis of treatment
  • Curable diseases: The curable disease is one which is produced by the vitiation of anyone dosa with a slow manifestation of preliminary signs and main symptoms. The disease is curable: when the tissues involved are not similar in attribute to those of the vitiated dosa; if a patient’s basic constitution is not similar to that of the vitiated dosa (for example, one with a Vata-type body suffering from a Vata disease); if the vitiated dosa is not affected by the season or a particular place; if the disorder is localized and circulated only on a single pathway; if it’s a newly generated disorder without any complication; if the body is able to tolerate all treatment therapies (emetic, purgative therapies and so on); if the patient have strong digestive and metabolic powers; and if the four limbs of treatment (physician, patient, drug and attendant) are excellent in their performance. Under such circumstances, the disease can be curable. These diseases are further divided into two types:
  1. a)    Easily curable: The diseases with above properties are easily curable diseases.
  2. b) Difficult to cure: The disease is difficult to cure: when the causes, premonitory and main symptoms are moderately manifested; if among the season, constitution and tissues, any one of them is having a similar attribute with a vitiated dosa; if the patient is a pregnant female, child or an aged person; if the ailment is associated with some complications; if the disease originates in vital parts of the body, joints or other sensitive places which are difficult to cure; if the four limbs of treatment are not suitable; if a disease gets aggravated and moves out in another passage from its original one; and if a disease becomes chronic.

Classification of Diseases on the Basis of Treatment – use from pic Ayurveda 2

  • Manageable diseases: Diseases that get aggravated even under favorable conditions are manageable not curable diseases. Some diseases get alleviated or subside with medicines or their intensity reduces, but as soon as you stop the medication and with any adverse conditions and diet they get aggravated again. Such diseases are manageable diseases.

Some diseases are manageable as long as one is alive and do not become the cause of death. These include: diseases which are bound to meda, asthi and other dhatus or those that originate in the vital points of the body or in the joints; if a diseases is chronic and more than one year old or which reside in the body permanently; and those diseases that result due to vitiation of two dosas comes under this category.