I THINK PREVENTION OF THESE IS POSSIBLE
This may sound too bold and profound but prevention of Cancer, Diabetes, Obesity and CAD seems to be definitely possible. If anyone has unfortunately contracted any of these “interconnected diseases”, its reversal is also distinctly possible, if we amend our ways of living and accept healthful life style. we need to listen to and follow those clinicians who are optimist and believe in this.
After practicing medicine for over 30 years and lately having read thousands of articles on diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, Alzheimer, depression and cancer, I am convinced that all these diseases are interconnected. I also think that most of these diseases are product of our unhealthy ways of living. On top of that, we are being short sighted and are not doing enough to PREVENT such diseases. Additionally we are trying to MANAGE diseased patients and not try and get them cured. Let us discuss this to bring some sense into a situation that sounds almost senseless.
From what I read in recent literature and reading in between lines in some of them articles, it seems that some of the authors are careful not to offend any vested interests power bases. From the same available literature however, I am fairly well convinced that all these diseases are not only interrelated but that some of these conditions are prevailing in an epidemic proportions in the past two centuries and more so in the last century only. This timing coincides with our acceptance of modern life style after the industrial revolution. These new ways of living includes very high calorie intake, sedentary life style, prevalence of Vit D deficiency, omega 3 deficiency and high carbohydrate containing high fructose diets. This coincidental rise in disease and our new life style are proof positive that we are bringing them on ourselves, though unknowingly. This also tells us that we are the ones who can reduce this scourge on human health simply by changing our life styles.
Modern living has provided us many facilities and comfort. In return we have accepted many dents to our quality of life. We need to wake up to save our comforts of affluence and yet protect our health and prevent these diseases occurring in epidemic proportions.
Examples of some major changes in last few decades:
Many of these conditions are preventable by simply changing our life styles to make them more disciplined and if necessary make some “sacrifice” from our affluent modern ways of living.
Do we realize that only about 100 years ago we did not have availability of food 24 hours a day 7 days a week? Not very long ago our exposures to sunlight was more than enough and compare it to today’s office workers who may not get such exposure even for a few minutes, causing then Vit D deficient. Only a few hundred years ago finding a meal three times a day was not guaranteed. In USA there used to be advertisements to go on special diet to put on weight. To be a bit plump was considered to be in fashion and good look especially for women. It has turned 180 degree within 200 years and now weight loss treatments are galore and need of the day because of prevalent obesity. About two hundred years ago the fastest ride was a horse carriage. People used to walk and do physical work. This has all changed to sedentary life style.
In prehistoric fossils the archaeologists have not been able to find many tumors, while cancer is about to become number one cause of death in present time. Again the explanation is perhaps the same. All these diseases are the products of our new life style and can be prevented by carefully changing the same, without giving up all the comforts. Question then remains, how can we enjoy the fruits of our progress and yet keep ourselves healthy?
By now we have been able to find a definitive relationship of cancer with radiation and chemicals. And unfortunately we are increasing the use of both these carcinogens in increasing quantum as we adopt the new ways of life.
We use such chemicals in agriculture in the shape of fertilizers and pesticides. Many other chemicals are used for processing the food, preservatives, fertilizers and pesticides. Remnants of these chemicals are known to stay in the food that we eat causing adverse effect on our body at cellular level. Can we reduce the use of such harmful chemicals? Answer is surely yes, provided we are trained to think this way.
Similarly we use radiation for the good of health and convenience in many places. We may not want to abstain from cell phones, TV, medical radiology and all electrical appliances for fear of radiation; however, we certainly can minimize such radiation exposure by thinking twice before embarking on anything that we do not know the long term effects of. Same goes for the nuclear power plants, which have been dubbed by some as an environmental issue forever, because of difficult disposal of the used uranium rods that have millions of years of half life. This issue is not of future only because immediate issue is that of where do you dispose them off. Everyone immediately say not in my backyard, but wherever it will be disposed for millions of years in future will be the backyard of some of us.
We need to eat healthy and balanced. Our food must be low calorie and low carbohydrate as it was for our forefathers. It mus contain vitamins, minerals and omega 3 fatty acids that we need. We must exercise regularly and relieve ourselves from stress and strain. Expose ourselves to sunshine.
All these need thinking, discussions and eventually coming to a balanced decision. Such a process of thinking will allow us to find pleasure and get benefits of our new found knowledge about such things. We need to protect not only ourselves but our future generations from deleterious effects of those actions that we are undertaking without thinking twice the wisdom of the balance of risk versus reward of such activity.
Changing our habits may be difficult but not impossible, particularly if it does good to our health and quality of life. Longevity of life is important to us but if it is at the expense of quality of life, I am fairly certain that most of us will opt for quality instead of longevity. With efforts we may be able to attain both, provided we work on it. At present we are only accepting the comforts, facilities and modernity and unknowingly increasing risk to our health and longevity both.
Let’s all work towards ensuring that we amend and correct our ways of living and enjoy the modernization without its associated problems causing toll on our health and secure healthful good quality life for our progeny.