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Why Infectious Diseases are not Diseases

This may seem like a crazy statement to make, especially because we all ‘know’ how ill one can become from an infection. However, I will be making the point that both are real but that the causal relationship that the medical profession has introduced in our knowledge package does not actually exists. To unravel this deception we best begin our journey by introducing some definitions.

An infection is medically defined as the invasion of an organism's body tissues by disease-causing agents, their multiplication, and the reaction of host tissues to the infectious agents and the toxins they produce. These organisms attack the body from the outside, which means that micro-organisms living inside the body are not considered to cause any harm. These invading pathogens cause an inflammation of the affected tissues within the body.

What should strike you with regards to this definition is the fact that the definition does not describe what an infectious state of the body/tissues actually is but that it tells you how it occurs and what causes the infection. This means that the infection is defined by the medical story that describes the disease process and not the other way around, that the disease process defines the outcome, in this case the infection. Solely on such a definition no physician could actually recognise an infected tissue as the definition doesn’t tell you how to recognise an infection. It only states what has happened when you have an infection!

The actual state of the tissues, when an infection is present, is described as an inflammation. However, the medical difference between an inflammation and an infection is the fact that in an infection certain pathogens (bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites) are present, while these organisms are not being found in an inflammation. This means that we can now simply define an infection as follows:

Infection = Inflammation + Pathogens

The ‘causal’ micro-organisms, the pathogens, can be identified through laboratory investigations and their presence within inflamed tissues leads to the true medical diagnosis of an infection. The other part of the definition needs some explaining. How can we identify an inflammation?

An inflammation can be recognised by the occurrence of very specific symptoms. These are: redness of the area, swelling of the area, feeling hot and painful. So, these symptoms are exactly the same for an infection as they are for an inflammation. It is generally assumed that inflammation can be caused by an infection, by irritation and by injury. Basically, one could say that an inflammation follows any situation that is out of the ordinary, anything that disturbs the normal function of the tissues, acutely or chronically. It is good to note that the inflammation follows the functional disturbance. It is, in other words, a reaction to the disturbance, be it the invasion of a pathogen, an irritation or an injury.

However, we can also identify occasions whereby this scenario does not occur. For instance, the inflammation seen during an acute gout episode happens spontaneously without any of the fore mentioned triggers. The Heathline website mentions the following with regards to inflammation: Inflammation refers to your body’s process of fighting against things that harm it, such as infections, injuries, and toxins, in an attempt to heal itself. In other words, an inflammation is a reaction from the body to heal whatever is interfering with its normal function. Sometimes we may be aware of certain outer conditions that are straining the normal function of the cells, but often it is entirely an internal process of which we are not conscious until we are confronted with the reaction of the body. The disturbance happens unnoticed but the effect of the body reaction is very noticeable as we now produce four symptoms: redness, swelling, heat and pain.

Given this knowledge, it becomes clear that there first must be one or several disturbing factors and that the inflammation follows on from a situation in which the cells find themselves struggling to do their job. There first is something wrong, seen or unseen, that explains why the body instigates an inflammatory process. This is designed to rectify whatever is wrong and to bring the cells back into their normal functioning state. Once this has been achieved the body will withdraw the inflammatory process and everything will return to normal. Whatever was wrong has now been healed!

This leads us to conclude that an inflammation is not a disease, not something that needs to be fought, but rather a healing process that needs to be stimulated and encouraged. But this means that all inflammatory diseases in the medical text books are in fact not diseases but are healing attempts of the body. The system is trying to rectify whatever is wrong, so it is doing the right thing. It would be ludicrous to suggest that these attempts to restore health are in fact disease processes that need to be combatted. An inflammation is not a disease, it is a healing.

Let’s return to an infection. The infectious disease process has been described as an inflammatory disease process in which pathogens are present. However, when we now have realised that an inflammation is not a disease but a healing then the above description doesn’t make any sense anymore.

Infectious Disease = Inflammation Healing + Pathogens

If, as the medical profession is suggesting, pathogens are part of the disease process, in fact are causing the infectious disease, then the above description would indicate that a combination of a healing process and a disease process is leading to an infectious disease. However, the sum of these two opposing forces would be the result of how large both factors in effect are. If the disease influence of the pathogens is greater than the healing influence of the inflammation then indeed we would end up with an infectious disease. But if the healing impact of the inflammation is greater than the disease impact of the pathogens we would have an infectious healing. Where in the medical textbooks does it mention ‘an infectious healing’?

Doctors have, however, heard of ‘spontaneous healing’. Healing (literally meaning to make whole) is the process of the restoration of health to an unbalanced, diseased or damaged organism. Spontaneous remission, also called spontaneous healing, is an unexpected improvement or cure from a disease that appears to be progressing in its severity. The term spontaneous remission is frequently used by physicians unable to adequately explain a patient’s complete reversal of disease. It happens ‘unseen’, undetected, in the same way that the disturbance to the normal cell function happens unnoticed, but the response of the system, the inflammation, does get noticed. So, healing occurs without the medical profession knowing how it happens.

Now then. When an inflammation is a spontaneous process set in motion by the system in an effort to restore health to the diseased tissues and when an infection is in fact nothing more than an inflammation with added micro-organisms, wouldn’t that not make the infectious process also part of a healing process, rather than a disease process? It is not logical to see the main effect of the entire process on the tissue to be at the same time as a healing and as a disease. The infection must be one or the other; it can’t be both. And since its main expression is definitely a healing attempt, it would stand to reason that an infection is a further step, initiated by the body itself, towards complete healing. This would make it a perfect example of a spontaneous healing as no medical intervention is needed.

But what to do with the pathogens that are effectively present within the ‘diseased’ tissue? When in the equation we have used both other elements are healing factors and the overall outcome of the equation is a healing process, how can then the role of these ‘invading’ pathogens be explained within this process?

The word pathogen, used by the medical profession when talking about infections, is in fact defined as ‘an organism that can cause disease’. It is a term readily used in the medical world, while scientifically it has never been proven that micro-organisms actually do cause any disease whatsoever. It was a working theory for hundreds of years but when the scientific world decided on a way of proving the causal link between the micro-organism and the diseased tissue it was found in (some 150 years ago), it soon turned out to be a disaster. Right up to this day, not one causal link has ever been established. Thus, calling a micro-organism a pathogen without proving its guilt is unfair, unjust and deceitful. From now on we will refer to them as micro-organisms.

Our body is filled with micro-organisms. In fact, we would be unable to live without them. These micro-organisms not only live inside our tissues without causing any harm whatsoever, but they play an essential part in our survival. The medical profession has called these affectionately ‘good bacteria’, as opposed to their relatives in the outside world, who they prefer to relate to as ‘bad bacteria’. Those commensal bacteria, as the flora on our inner bodily structure is generally known as, live and work there and do not cause any harm. However, in some infections physicians have found no other micro-organisms than commensal bacteria, forcing them to acknowledge that the good guys can indeed become bad guys and harm us. Nobody has explained how this transformation happens, why it happens, and how and why they return to normal behaviour afterwards. However, it has been acknowledged that when the inner environment has changed that this could lead to these commensals becoming involved in the infectious process. One can’t say that they have caused the infection as nobody has ever proven a causal link between a micro-organism and infected tissue. But the medical profession does acknowledge that the commensal bacteria can change their behaviour as a result of a change within their environment. Hence, the tissues have changed and they respond to it!

Here again, it is stated that a change in inner environment of the body can lead to an infectious process. So, first something is out of the ordinary, to which the body response is to cause an inflammation with micro-organisms. We are, once again, seeing the reaction of the system to a not normally functioning tissue. This reaction is then very likely one to try and restore health, as all responses of the system seem to be heading that way. This would mean that commensal micro-organisms are coming to the rescue of an endangered tissue. It could mean that they themselves slightly adapt to the new situation in order to deal with it more efficiently, as micro-organisms change rapidly each time their living conditions alter.

But if the bacteria of our inner world are keeping us alive and are fighting to restore health in a situation of crisis, why would we regard their cousins in the outside world as dangerous and keen on invading the body in order to destroy it? When we look at nature we see micro-organisms at work everywhere. They mainly feed of dead and rotting material and that way they are a major force in the cleaning up the earth. Their presence is essential to all life, and yet we like to accuse them of terrorist acts. It might be a misguided perception to determine them as having caused the debris when they are indeed present in the debris in order to clean it up. We might want to alter our view of life and regard micro-organisms not as the destroyers but as the saviours of life. We might want to acknowledge the symbiotic relationship we have with them rather than to consider them our enemies. And when we are ready to live with that new perspective on life, have a look at what has happened to our equation.

Healing Infection = Healing Inflammation + Healing Micro-organisms

Many scientists have over the past two centuries proven that the micro-organisms found in infected tissue actually originated from within that tissue, which has become diseased before the arrival of the micro-organisms. The disease is present first within the system, causing the cells and the tissue to struggle to function. This leads to massive cell death, creating debris and pus. Both the inflammation process as the activity of the micro-organisms (= the infectious process) aid in restoring the cells and tissues back to health. Fighting infection, and fighting the effects of an infection, does no longer seem like a logical step towards health. The system is already doing everything it can to get back into balance and then we work against it by reducing the inflammation and by killing off the micro-organisms.

An infection is the response of the system to an already present disease process, an occurring imbalance in the functioning of the system. The response is noticeable while the disease process remains mainly hidden. This has led to the assumption that we are suffering from the response, thereby ignoring the reason for the response. Not allowing the response to complete its job will inevitably lead to repetition. Infectious processes will reoccur often when the reason for this healing response has not been entirely cleared away. Eventually the malfunctioning, the disease process, will spread to other parts of the system, creating other diseases which we like to view as having no relationship with previous manifestations of a struggling system. Ultimately, we could link the manifestation of the ‘new’ disease to previously unhealed episodes of inflammation and infection.

Let’s recognise our enemies for the friends they really are. They are our trustworthy allies.

Let’s honour our symbiotic relationship with the micro-world.

Let’s trust nature to know best. It made us survive a long time before we started interfering.

An infection is not a disease. It is not an enemy.

An infection is a healing process. It is our ally.

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