What Is Disease?

Timothy Wilken, MD explains: Disease results within a living system whenever the system’s stressor adaptability (the total ability of the living system to adapt to stressors) is exceeded by the sum of the stressors acting upon the system. DISTRESS—Stage 1—Distress exists within a living system when the sum of stressors acting upon the living system exceeds the stressor adaptability of the system producing a localized or generalized loss of function. The living system, by using reserves and stored energy, is able to restore function without disability. DISABILITY—Stage 2—Disability exists within a living system when the sum of stressors acting upon the living system exceeds the stressor adaptability of the system producing a localized or generalized loss of function. The living system is unable to restore function even using reserves and stored energy. This must always include functions considered essential; should include functions considered normal; and when more is know, will include functions thar are considered optimal. When using this definition of disability, it is necessary to state the level of organization with the living system to which the disability refers. Disability, by definition, is reversible. DAMAGE—Stage 3—Damage exists within a living system when the sum of stressors acting upon the living system exceeds the stressor adaptability of the system producing a non-reversible disability. Damage can exist at any level of organization within the living system or within the living system as a whole. No cure is possible at this stage of disease. DEATH—Stage 4—Death exists within a living system when the sum of stressors acting upon the living system exceeds the stressor adaptability of the living system producing a loss of ability of the living system to produce negentropy or order. Death is irreversible. (06/21/02)
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