IMPORTANCE OF DIAGNOSIS
It is a common misconception that knowing the diagnosis is of no importance to the homeopathic doctor. Although the selection of medicine is not done on the basis of diagnosis, still it is essential to a homeopath in the following aspects:
- To know the outcome (prognosis) of the disease : For example : if a person is suffering from difficulty in swallowing, it could be due to many reasons. If it is due to tonsillitis the prognosis is good but if the investigations indicate esophageal cancer then the prognosis is bad and only palliative treatment can be given in such case.
- Management of the case : Certain diseases may require dietary and lifestyle modifications.
- Diet : If the diagnosis is known the homeopathic doctor can easily restrict or add certain food in the patients diet. For e.g. restricting sugar, starchy diet in case of diabetes; salt restriction in case of high blood pressure, taking calcium and vitamin D rich diet in osteoporosis.
- Lifestyle : According to the diagnosis of disease lifestyle modifications can be made like avoiding a sedentary life and doing some exercises (like brisk walking, aerobic dancing, cycling etc.) in diabetics and high blood pressure.
- Auxillary management : In addition to a medicine certain diseases may require certain auxillary measures. For e.g. oxygen therapy in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, intravenous fluid in dehydrated patients, blood transfusion in thalassemia. Thus diagnosis becomes important.
- To know whether the disease is curable : Pathological findings show structural changes in the affected area and helps in deciding if the patient is curable.
- To decide the line of treatment : Diagnosis helps the homeopathic doctor to decide to choose or refer the case. For example certain cases like Ischemic heart disease , kidney failure may require immediate surgical intervention and cannot be managed solely by homeopathic medicines. If gross pathological changes have occurred then palliative treatment by homeopathic medicine is given.
- To prescribe medicine : Although the selection of homeopathic medicine does not depend upon the diagnosis but it is of value in:
- Differentiating between the symptoms that are common to the disease and the characteristic symptoms of the patient. Such assessment is very important for selecting homeopathic medicine as it helps in individualizing every patient. For example breathlessness is a common symptom of asthma, but if a patient says that his breathlessness becomes worse on exertion and is better by lying down on abdomen, then this symptom becomes characteristic. Depending on this presentation the doctor can select a medicine having the similar kind of symptom.
- Prescribing the medicine by directing the location of disease. In homeopathy sometimes the diagnosis of the exact location of the disease is important to select a medicine. For example
- in case of pneumonia, the selection of homeopathic medicine may depend upon the lobe of lung involved, because different homeopathic medicines may have affinity for different lobes like Phosphorous acts on the lower half of right lung.
- Sometimes the medicine can be selected on the basis of its sphere of action on some part of the body for example China for liver, Crategus for heart, Berberis for left kidney problems etc.
Although all this may be helpful in selecting a homeopathic medicine but the final selection is on the basis of totality of symptoms only.
- Prescribing medicine depending upon the stage of disease: Some homeopathic medicines may be more effective in certain stages of the disease like in pneumonia certain homeopathic medicines are indicated in stage of congestion, some in stage of hepatization and still others in the stage of resolution.
- To select the potency medicine : If the investigations shows advanced pathological changes in a disease, then a low potency of the selected homeopathic medicine is given to the patient as higher potencies can worsen the condition and endanger patient’s life.
- To evaluate new symptoms : Pathological findings and investigations can help the homeopathic doctor to know whether the new symptoms that have developed in a patient are due to the further progress of the disease or due to the action of homeopathic medicine.
- To ascertain the effect of treatment i.e. to know whether the patient is responding to the treatment or not. To know the response he will have to see regular report of investigations recommended for the particular case like blood sugar in case of diabetes, lipid profile in case of coronary artery disease etc.
- To differentiate between the natural disease and artificial disease : For example arsenic poisoning may present with the same symptoms as in cholera; or strychnine poisoning may present with same symptom as in tetanus. So this differentiation is important as the line of treatment will change according to the disease.
- To prevent spread of infection : Certain diseases like measles, chickenpox, tuberculosis etc. are infectious and require isolation of the patient. Unless a correct diagnosis is made the doctor will not know of the disease and he will not be able to caution the patient.