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Etiology of Disease (hetu) and Six Stages of The Disease Process
In conventional Western medicine, the disease is diagnosed only when patient develops quite specific symptoms and when diagnostic procedures based on determination of some physical factors demonstrate specific findings. In Ayurveda that is diagnosed as fifth or even last, sixth stage of the disease process. Ayurveda therefore describes six stages of the pathogenesis: Sanchaya (accumulation), Prakopa (aggravation), Prasara (movement), Sthanasamshraya (localisation), Vyakti (manifestation) and Bheda (complication). The main cause for the development of every disorder and disease is Pragyaparadh or the mistaken intellect. Three basic causes of disease are overuse, underuse and wrong use of mind, senses and time. As a result, they lead to three abnormalities: vitiated Doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha, three fundamental principles in Ayurveda), vitiated Srotas (channels of circulation) and weak or dull Agni (digestive power). As prevention has always been the first and major goal of Ayurveda, the aim is to detect disease in earlier stage when the disease process is easier to reverse. However, the most important is to learn how to keep the balance in the individual so that one keeps the processes of disease development in the first two stages by feedback loops. That state is called the Self-referral state.