CAUSES AND SYMPTOMS AND DISEASES, OH MY!
Where's the yellow-brick road?
This week I’ve been reflecting on a few of Albert Einstein’s quotes. It began with an online back-to-school poster sale that peaked my interest. Einstein’s wisdom was printed on catchy posters sporting his enormous smile and wild hair that always draws me in anyway. One quote in particular immediately grabbed my attention:
"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex...It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction."
Another quote of his seemed to go hand in hand:
"If you can’t explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
My mind jumped to what is considered the health arena. I thought of the undeniable complexity in compiling the number of diseases, disease categories, known causes and symptoms that manifest themselves. In the world’s best selling medical textbook, the Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, the list expands every year.
The same is true in the published documents of the World Health Organization. To classify disease conditions, the WHO uses the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) as the standard diagnostic tool for epidemiology --the study of disease origin, its causes and transmission. ICD has many uses, one of which is to monitor the incidence and prevalence of diseases and other health problems. As of five years ago, there were 12,240 categories of disease, and estimates of nearly 20,000 named conditions. Each disease of the many categorized has a list of probable causes. Each list can be quite extensive or none may be listed because the cause is unknown.
In contrast, a natural health mindset shifts focus from disease and a plethora of causes to the fundamentals of what it takes to build and maintain health. We know the cure is within --that innate capacity to heal. There are five main areas impacting health. Neglecting any of the first four would be telling for dis-ease:
I. Nutrition: You ARE what you eat! Our inner healing force needs the right natural substances for the human body to function at its fullest potential. Consistent bad or poor fuel makes us susceptible to all sorts of illnesses. We can call this malnutrition. We tend to think of malnutrition occurring only in developing countries where there is a severe shortage of food. However, one can be overweight, eating an abundance of food, and still be malnourished. The same can be said of one habitually eating an uunbalanced, processed diet or the individual with poor digestive capability.
Deficiencies in nutrients needed by the body to maintain health are often at the root of the majority of health problems. The World Health Organization cites malnutrition as the greatest single threat to the world's public health. Whole, organically grown foods become an important staple. Science continues to provide a mountain of proof for the benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables. Just one very important benefit is their molecular effects-- protecting against cellular damage.
2. Toxic Burden: Toxins in today’s world are alarmingly prevalent. Some examples are parasites, mold, bacteria, viruses, heavy metals, and chemical poisons in food, air, water and drugs. Toxins are considered either organic or inorganic and often are categorized into three groups by location:
Exogenous toxins are present in the outside environment. They pollute air, soil, food and water. Air pollutant examples are pesticide sprays, fossil fuel exhaust, formaldehyde, and chemicals like benzene and acetone found in common household cleaners. Examples of toxins in food are mercury, arsenic, pesticides, nitrosamines, and aflatoxin from moldy nuts. Common toxins found in water include chlorine, fluoride, chloroform, pesticides, and heavy metals. Personal care products such as deodorants, sprays of all types, cremes, lotions, make-up, hair color, and soaps may contain a multitude of toxic chemicals which are absorbed through the skin.
Endogenous toxins are those produced within the body as a result of imbalances in our metabolism. Molecular changes occur, causing damage. For example, ingesting toxic chemicals called excitotoxins can result in adverse affects on the brain and nervous system. Examples of excitotoxins are aspartame, saccharin, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, MSG or Mono-Sodium Glutamate.
Autogenous toxins accumulate while in the womb. These may be pathogens or toxic compounds, generally from environmental/dietary exposure over successive generations. In a sense, they could also be considered exogenous since they result from an external source—only it is mother’s body instead of the environment. Learning exposure routes and taking an in-depth look at your lifestyle past and present would be most revealing to you in addressing this category. Ask yourself, "What toxins have I been exposed to?" A health practitioner skilled in cleansing and detoxification support methods would be beneficial to have in your professional resources.
3. Attitude: Negative thoughts and unbalanced emotions make you sick. Change to a positive attitude, healthy emotions and spirit which will support the immune system. You feel great and pursue your dreams.
4. Lifestyle Factors: These are the habits you practice on a daily basis. Examine these areas:
- Eating – the quality of what you eat, digest, absorb and assimilate
- Sleeping – adequate sleep for your life demands
- Relaxation – time set aside to unwind and rejuvenate
- Sunshine – outdoor activity for Vitamin D; time in nature to regroup and balance
- Exercise – regular, beneficial movement to keep joints, muscles and circulation healthy
- Water – purified and drinking sufficient to properly hydrate; also showering and bath
- Laughter – humor in your daily activities reflecting attitude
- Relationships – cultivating love
- Work – satisfying and engaging your passion
5. Genetics: You inherit strength and weaknesses from your parents. When you skillfully work on the other four areas, bringing your lifestyle in harmony with health, the genetic weaknesses are not so glaringly apparent.
Never underestimate the importance of living healthy each day. Instead of becoming lost in the complexities of today’s world with its endless barrage of health concerns, get back to these fundamentals of life. The healthy environment you create has a huge positive impact. Build it, and it will come!