Compensation is a self-protective mechanism in diseases, which may lead to a unique form of homeostasis deviates from that in physiological conditions. The kind of compensatory homeostasis can be embodied as various degrees accompanying disease progression (denoted as compensatory degree). Compensatory homeostasis provides a window for the transition from disease to healthy state. The causes of compensatory homeostasis themselves may be identified as targets for effective measures to eliminate compensation. Compensatory homeostasis embodies significantly mostly in the developing process of chronic diseases, which may help to explain in theory why intensive therapeutic strategies led to unexpected outcome in clinical practice. In addition, a large body of clinical evidence has valued traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which is based on shifting compensatory homeostasis to the overall human body homeostasis, complementary to Western medicine in the management of chronic disease. In this review, we will briefly summarize the concept of compensation and attempt to bridge Western and traditional Chinese medicine through homeostasis and compensatory homeostasis based on an ample of evidence obtained from both disciplines.
Keywords: Homeostasis, compensatory homeostasis, western medicine, traditional chinese medicine, Homeostast, self-protective mechanism, chronic disease, microvascular spasm, ischemic hypoxia, shock, cardiac hypertrophy, upregulated, structural compensation
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