Four Stages of Disease

This is page 3 of a three-part article.

Although I didn't learn this from Dr. West, I believe that when acute inflammation doesn't heal properly, it becomes subacute or chronic inflammation. As I mentioned earlier, this subacute phase of the disease process is characterized by clotted protein in the tissue spaces which isn't moving due to diminished energy production. If this situation continues, then tissue function becomes permanently depressed and chronic disease results.

Is Infection Really the Culprit?

Also, while it's obvious that infection can be involved in the inflammatory process, I firmly believe that most infections are actually a secondary effect and not the actual cause of the inflammation. Healthy skin and membranes resist infection, but once they have become damaged and inflammation has set in, the stagnation of fluid in the tissue spaces creates a breeding ground for microbes. My reasoning here is that most harmful microbes operate on an anaerobic metabolism, that is, they derive energy from the process of fermentation. Our cells are aerobic, which means they utilize oxygen to burn carbohydrates for fuel. The reduced oxygen supply to stagnant, inflamed tissues creates an anaerobic environment that encourages the growth of these microbes.

A New Explanation for Cancer and Other Diseases

It has long been known that cancer cells are anaerobic. So, the low oxygen environment in stagnant tissues (coupled with the free radical damage associated with inflammation), causes some cells to revert to the anaerobic metabolism they operated under in the embryonic state, and they start growing at the same rate. Thus, cancer is born.Inflamed Prostate Cell.jpg

Obviously, if tissue remains in a stagnant, depressed state for a long enough period of time it will start to break down and decay and degenerative disease sets in. Organs and tissue deteriorate and that also creates an environment for more anaerobic activity (chronic infection and/or cancer).

So, because of what I learned from Dr. West, I have come to believe that the disease process is essentially the same in all diseases. It all starts with some kind of damage which sets up acute inflammation. If the body has the support it needs, the acute inflammation heals and the problem is resolved.  However, if the body doesn't have the help it needs to heal, then the inflammation becomes low grade and chronic. I call this the subacute and chronic stages of disease, which are characterized by localized lymphatic stagnation and depressed tissue function. If this chronic inflammation remains unchecked, degeneration sets in, which is the fourth stage of the disease process.

Thus, all disease is really one disease. What differentiates the many different types of diseases the body is prone to are three factors: 1) the source of the tissue damage, 2) the site of the tissue damage and 3) the stage of the body's response to that damage (acute, subacute, chronic or degenerative). Some people may think this model is over simplistic, and it very well may be, but it serves me well as a natural healer and seems to work in practical application (which is all I really care about).

We're Ahead of the Game

While science is busy studying all the little chemical messengers and trying to develop “designer drugs” to enhance or inhibit them, we're already there. The fact is, that these chemical messengers cause changes to take place in healthy tissue. These changes are observable (swelling, redness, bruising, etc.), so we can see what these eicosonoids are doing to alter the tissue.

We also have hundreds, and in some cases thousands, of years of people noting that certain herbs produced observable changes in various tissue states in the body. This means that the herbs have to be enhancing or inhibiting various eicosonoids to create these changes. We don't have to wait for science to figure out which chemicals affect which messenger chemicals. We only have to do what herbalists have been doing for thousands of years, observe the condition of the tissue (what stage of the disease process it is in) and apply the appropriate remedies.

It's really the core of everything I'm doing. So, if you want to learn more about inflammation and it's relationship to chronic and degenerative diseases, you can check out the Fundamentals of Natural Healing Course, which explains the process of inflammation in detail and gives practical information about relieving pain, reversing injuries, and healing both acute and chronic disease. Insights into the various tissue states caused by the stages of inflammation are found in the ABC+D Approach course and the Nature's Pharmacy course.

And, if you want to hear the next generation of Dr. West's message, his son Karl West is carrying on his father's legacy. You can check it out at (They still have the Certified Lymphology course I put together for them over 20 years ago.) And, truth is, I'm still somewhat “infected' by Dr. West's passion, which was to help end the suffering caused by degenerative disease, and to bring peace to the world. So, maybe there's a little touch of that blue vervain personality in me, too.