You know what? I have been musing this subject for many years on and off. Unconsciously at first, whilst I worked on my patients bodies, now much more consciously. Here is the thought…. Here we are, bustling through life, busy, healthy, fit and well. No real health challenges to mention. Sure, a few annoying symptoms that the GP has got rid of along the way or have gone on their own… then years pass, decades pass, we have children, we get absorbed in being parents and our careers, and time flies by, then BANG! We get sick or we see our friends and family get sick. We go to the doctor and he/she tells us that we have diabetes, or heart failure or osteoporosis, arteriosclerosis, MS, depression, kidney stones, a calcified aorta, degenerative discs in our spines, endometriosis, diverticulitis, cancer, whatever.
But wait! How did that happen? How come, I was fit and well, and now all of a sudden I am told that I have some major problem? Why didn’t somebody tell me about it before I got this bad?
Aah! Now that’s the point! The very crux of the matter! It doesn’t suddenly happen. It’s happening molecule by molecule, cell by cell, organ by organ, right now, day by day, in all our bodies!
I believe we don’t listen to our bodies when they give us, what seems like, inconsequential warning signs, little by little, over the decades. We don’t want to make a fuss and we’re too busy! We don’t stop and think. There isn’t time. The pieces of the jigsaw are never quite put together for us. We can’t see the whole picture of how our body systems and mind are completely intertwined, one affecting another continuously. (But we know it’s fundamentally true). We do not make the short-term connection between what we are doing to our bodies today and the effects those actions will have 20 and 30 years down the road.
For example, we hear our rumbling stomach, pardon our burping or indigestion after a meal, excuse our wind an hour or so later, loosen our waistbands as our abdomen distends and wonder why? There’s no way we’d go to the doctor about that! Not until we get pain of course. Then we might be given painkillers or antacids or Fibrogel for “irritable bowel syndrome”. But what’s that? Well, it’s an irritable bowel of course! But why is it irritable? Well it’s like this, if somebody does something to irritate you, you get irritable. And your bowel is no different. Yes, but what’s going on inside? What happens if we don’t act? Diverticulitis? Ulcers? Ulcerative colitis? Worse?
The same insidious but progressive symptoms happen in other systems of our body. Take the spine for example. When we are young our spines get knocked about a bit! We commonly get strained facet joints and pulled muscles. Our spines adapt pretty well to this and sort of “cope”, often for a long time. Our posture adapts and compensates. We feel a few niggles, aches and pains but they go away or the physical therapist can sort it out in a few treatments. For a while. But for some poor folks, they start getting low back stiffness that doesn’t go away. Then more shrill pain comes from their joints. May be the therapist says they should come for regular treatments. But what has been going on in our spines during this time. Well, I can tell you, the discs have lost water and no longer act as shock absorbers, the facet joints have squashed up together and are rubbing and the muscles which support and move the spine, have wasted. Not good. See how the few small symptoms can progress to the degenerative spine.
One last example (but I could give you many) the cardiovascular system. Research has now shown that it is chronic inflammation in the body which causes arteriosclerosis (narrowing of our arteries). Through life, our arteries get injured due to stress, high blood pressure and irritating molecules (which we eat and drink) like trans fats, additives, alcohol, oxidants. Our body patches up those cracks with a “cholesterol scab”. This will sluff-off in time just like a scab on out skin would. However, this just repeats itself over and over if we keep irritating our artery walls with poor dietary choices and lack of exercise. Inflammation set in. The plaque building mechanism doesn’t get switched off and in time the plaques build in size and number until they eventually block the flow of blood inside the artery. Then the doctor tells us to stop drinking, when all along we’ve been told that a few glasses a night are good for you! Now we have arteriosclerosis and are at risk from stroke and heart attacks.
So what I’m saying is, if we pay closer attention along the way, (and I don’t mean neurotically) we can absolutely prevent a vast majority of “degenerative diseases” with regular screening tests and faster corrective action. Our bodies are programmed to repair, regenerate and renew our cells to ensure that we survive. Whether that “survival” feels like dragging our bodies through our 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s with a string of physical complaints or whether we glide through it, busily getting on with life, contributing to our families and communities with our hard-earned experience… it’s all down to us and our belief systems.
To follow this introduction, my next post will be all about the digestive system. It is fundamental to the optimum function of our whole body and mind. Every cell of our body is made up and functions according to what we put into our mouths every day. I will look at how it is supposed to function and what happens when it goes wrong. Why it goes wrong. I will explore the other organ system diseases we can get because our digestive system is damaged. It’s fascinating!
Join me in my discovery! Let’s learn together. Tell me what you think.