Sharing is caring so the saying goes, and it makes it all the more worthy when it helps even just a single soul. I will spare you the lurid details but I need to mention what got me so interested in the medical conditions now commonly referred to as non-communicable diseases. In 1996 I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and treated it for two years before I learned of a better way of managing it. I had lived with ulcers for over twenty three years and early this year found a way of finally solving the problem. My father had heart disease, diabetes and succumbed to kidney failure in 2001. My mother had heart disease, diabetes, ulcers and succumbed to cancer in 2010. My curiosity was naturally raised by the realization that these events were not purely coincidental. I share this now because more than ever I believe that there is a simple and sustainable solution that the world needs and needs immediately.
Non-communicable disease refers to a medical condition or disease that is non-infectious or non-transmissible . It can refer to chronic diseases which last for long periods of time and progress slowly. Sometimes, they result in rapid deaths such as seen in certain diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancers, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and osteoporosis, Alzheimer's disease, cataracts and others.
Statistics from Wikipedia indicate that non communicable diseases are the leading cause of death globally. In 2012 they caused 68% of all deaths (38 million) up from 60% in 2000. About half were under age 70 and half were women. Risk factors such as a person's background, lifestyle and environment increase the likelihood of certain non-communicable diseases. Every year, at least 5 million people die because of tobacco use and about 2.8 million die from being overweight. High cholesterol accounts for roughly 2.6 million deaths and 7.5 million die because of high blood pressure. Risk factors such as a person's background; lifestyle and environment are known to increase the likelihood of certain non-communicable diseases. They include age, gender, genetics, exposure to air pollution, and behaviors such as smoking, unhealthy diet and physicalactivity which can lead to hypertension and obesity, in turn leading to increased risk of many non-communicable diseases. Most non-communicable diseases are considered preventable because they are caused by modifiable risk factors and this is the crux of this article. The WHO's World Health Report 2002 identified five important risk factors for non-communicable disease in the top ten leading risks to health. These are elevated blood pressure, raised cholesterol, tobacco use, alcohol consumption, and overweight. The other factors associated with higher risk of NCDs include a person's economic and social conditions, also known as the “social determinants of health”. It has been estimated that if the primary risk factors were eliminated, 80% of the cases of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes and 40% of cancers could be preceded. Interventions targeting the main risk factors could have a significant impact on reducing the burden of disease worldwide. Efforts focused on better diet and increased physical activity have been shown to control the prevalence of non-communicable diseases.
I include these statistics to emphasize the magnitude of the problem and also as a pointer to the solution hidden out there in broad daylight light!
Let's look at a few of these conditions and see the links.
Diabetes mellitus type 1 is a form of diabetes mellitus that results from the autoimmune destruction of the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. The subsequent lack of insulin leads to increased blood and urine glucose. What causes this autoimmune destruction of the beta cells?
It is known that a number of lifestyle factors are known to be important to the development of diabetes mellitus 2 including: obesity, physical activity, diet, stress, and urbanization. Excess body fat underlies 64% of cases of diabetes in men and 77% of cases in women. A number of dietary factors such as sugar sweetened drinks and the type of fat in the diet appear to play a role.
Most cancers are related to environmental, lifestyle, or behavioral exposures. Common environmental factors that contribute to cancer death include tobacco (according to one estimate, accounting for 25-30% of deaths), diet and obesity (30-35%), infections (15-20%), radiation (both ionizing and non -ionizing, up to 10%), stress, lack of physical activity, and environmental pollutants.
Gout is a medical condition caused by elevated levels of uric acid in the blood. The uric acid crystallizes, and the crystals deposit in joints, tendons, and surrounding tissues. The increase is believed to be due to increasing risk factors in the population, such as metabolic syndrome, longer life expectancy, and changes in diet. Gout was historically known as the “disease of kings” or “rich man's disease.”
I would like to explore the role of blood in all these conditions. Blood is vital as it carries nutrients to the cells in all parts of the body. The blood is supposedly to be strong, healthy blood, with the blood cells separated so they can get through narrow spaces and keep the body oxygenated. When the blood is unhealthy, it's all clumped together making it hard to pass through the capillaries. If the blood is not working properly, it causes problems to all parts of the body resulting in some of the non-communicable diseases. But how does this happen? Well, there are a few reasons. These include:
- Negative thoughts and stress
- Poor Diet
- Environmental Toxins
- E-Smog (Electromagnetic radiation eg cell phones)
What causes your blood to stick together? Blood sticks together because of what is referred to as pH which is short for the potential of hydrogen. It is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of our body's fluids and tissues. It is measured on a scale from 0 to 14. The more acidic a solution is, the lower its pH. The more alkaline, the higher the number is. When the body is too acidic, blood starts to clump together causing all sorts of problems. The good thing is that it's easy to fix. You just need to adjust your diet to include more foods that are alkaline and less foods that are acidic.
Blood clumping together is one reason the circulatory system does not function properly causing all sorts of problems. The other real reason the circulatory system gets clogged is because the walls of the vessels get damaged.
When the blood vessel wall gets damaged, the body automatically produces cholesterol to patch up the damaged area. Just like you would use plaster to fix a hole in the wall. Over time, the body adds more and more cholesterol to make sure the blood vessels does not tear. This contributions to the clogging of the blood vessels. If the blood vessels are blocked completely, the result is a heart attack or stroke. So high cholesterol is not only from eating a high fat diet although this definitely aggravates the situation. The body is actually creating the cholesterol to patch up damaged vessels. This is necessary only when your circulatory system is weak and needs constant patching.
So what causes your blood vessels to weaken? Linus Pauling is one of the greatest scientists that ever lived. In fact, he holds 48 honorary Ph.D.'s and is the world's only 2 time unshared Nobel Prize laureate. Linus Pauling along with his colleague Mattias Rath, discovered the true cause of heart disease in 1989. The cause is interestingly vitamin C deficiency . This is a vitamin our bodies are unable to produce. Vitamin C is very important to keep the blood vessels strong. And when you do not get enough through your diet, your blood vessels start to weaken and your body needs to make cholesterol to patch things up.
Another vital component in cardiovascular health is nitric oxide, a compound that our bodies can actually produce. Problem is when the body can not produce enough. Nitric oxide is the compound responsible for triggering the dosage of blood vessels to maintain healthy blood flow through the system. Dr. Louis J. Ignarro won the Nobel Prize in medicine for his discovery of the importance of nitric oxide to the cardiovascular system. He actually strongly believes we can reverse cardiovascular damage with nitric oxide.
So we can keep our bodies alkaline by eating fresh fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. We can provide vitamin C to keep our vessels strong and healthy by eating fresh fruit daily and we can ensure adequate production of nitric acid by our bodies by including certain amino acids that convert to nitric oxide in the body in our diet daily. In this way we would ensure that the circulatory system performs its functions efficiently and effectively.
Considering the realities of life as it is, is it practical to have all the fresh fruits and vegetables that would adequately provide these nutrients on a daily basis for the whole family? Not likely. We could utilize the various supplements available on the market. True but again we would need so many packages of the various supplements to meet the nutritional demands of the whole family. Yet there is a portent, practical and sustainable solution.