In today’s world, when chronic diseases are spreading like wildfire, it has become increasingly important to take all necessary precautions and avoid falling victim to any disease or illness.
The global healthcare sector as we know it, lays emphasis on end-of-life care, crisis care, and acute treatment, all of which are necessary. However, it has occasionally come under scrutiny for focusing more on ‘managing’ the symptoms of various chronic illnesses rather than addressing the underlying cause(s) of those illnesses. Therefore, a system that also prioritizes the health of the patients is the need of the hour.
Several great minds have strived for decades to find the root causes of diseases. Even though many amazing discoveries have been made, the actual etiology of diseases can vary depending on who you ask, because the core causes are typically multidimensional and complex.
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We are what we eat, exposed and metabolize:
There is a famous saying, “We are what we eat,” and that still holds true today. The food you consume determines how your body functions. In other words, there is a direct link between nutrition and metabolism.
What does metabolism mean?
Metabolic activities at the cellular level in the body (that turn food into energy) are referred to as “metabolism.” The word “metabolism” is frequently used to describe weight gain or loss, even though maintaining overall health is its primary purpose.
Your metabolism depends on a number of cellular functions that are controlled by hormones and neurotransmitters. We can influence these biological processes to operate in our favor by making significant dietary and lifestyle changes.
Thus, in order to maintain good metabolism and health, ingesting healthy foods is critical. However, the consumption of healthy food is a challenge nowadays since everything is polluted by toxins.
What are the toxins that affect metabolism?
There are toxins almost in everything we use. Be it the food we eat, the toothpaste we use, the cosmetics we apply, the water we drink, the air we breathe, the beds we sleep in, or the homes we live in. Numerous hazardous contaminants are carried by the wind. Additionally, swimming pools and oceans also contain toxins which pollute the fish we eat.
Extensive and prolonged use of drugs also have harmful effects. It has been suggested that these chemicals produce iatrogenic disease, which is currently considered to be the third most common cause of illness.
Although the impact of electromagnetic pollution is still being discussed, it is highly doubtful that it will not have some impact on the delicate biological system of humans, adding to the growing burden of dysfunctions.
Chemicals of emotional stress and auto-toxins produced in the liver and other body organs cause further organ and tissue dysfunction. Thus, it becomes increasingly difficult to eliminate this mounting load of toxins and they cannot be eliminated quickly.
How dysfunction leads to disease?
There are three stages in the transformation from health to sickness. The first stage has to do with living styles. The second stage involves the speedy or slow progression of the malfunction. Those with acute diseases show symptoms right away, whereas those with chronic ailments do so slowly, but continuously.
The third phase is reached when a “disease” appears. Disease is an end-point diagnosis that is generally accompanied by biochemical dysfunction that may have lasted for months or even years.
Stage One: Lifestyle
Lifestyle diseases are ailments that are primarily based on our day to day habits. These habits detract us from activity and push us towards a sedentary routine. In turn, this causes a number of health issues that lead to dysfunction and disease, at times with life-threatening consequences.
There are a variety of well-known lifestyle factors that affect health, such as:
- Poor food choices
- Obesity or Overweight
- Sedentary Lifestyle
- Lack of Nutrition
- Toxic Environment
- Electromagnetic pollution
- Poor sleep patterns
- Blue light toxicity
Phase two: Dysfunction
A brief or long period of deterioration in the functional integrity of one or more biological systems is always followed by poor health in some form. At some point, symptoms and warnings begin to emerge.
The symptoms and indicators are clues that the system as a whole is under stress and no longer in perfect equilibrium. This could be the start of a long-term chronic dysfunction that over time, will lead to a diagnosis of the disease. However, it could also be a mere transient sign of stress as the system adjusts.
Some of the functional disruptions that could lead to diseases are enlisted as follows:
- Insufficient nutrients that does not maximize function
- Toxic overload
- Insulin dysregulation
- Disturbance in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis
- Poor hydration
- Hormonal imbalance
- Interference of drugs with the function
- Acidic imbalance.
Note: In the intensive care unit, it is well recognized that acid-base equilibrium may be disrupted in a wide variety of chronic and critical illnesses. This disequilibrium has its own associated morbidity and mortality. Integrative doctors have found that even mild shifts towards acidity are precursor of and contributors to increasing stress within the system, eventually leading to disease.
Immune dysfunction and disorganization
Energy stresses within the electromagnetic field of the body
- Allergies and intolerances
- Emotional stress affecting the function
- Malfunctioning of organs responsible for detoxification
- Leaky gut syndrome
- Sleep deprivation (which may increase the severity of chronic diseases)
- Gut flora disturbances
- Enzyme blockage
- Reactive oxygen species and an excess of other free radicals
Most diseases are rarely the result of a single physiological problem localized in a small part of the body or a single organ. More often than not, diseases occur due to the interactions of multiple organ systems and multiple physiological and biochemical pathways that are prompted by environmental influences and genetic predisposition.
Phase Three: Disease
The disease may develop from the dysfunction of organs over time. Patients with subclinical or overt chronic illnesses such as arteriosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, coronary heart disease, diabetes, hepatitis, and rheumatoid arthritis frequently experience an inflammatory response.
Weeks or months before a disease becomes clinically evident, elevated levels of acute-phase proteins, cytokines, and other signal molecules can be observed frequently. The reason for this could vary. But low-grade stresses are the likely cause of this short response. The allostatic reaction (by which internal equilibrium is maintained), is not sufficiently severe to effectively show symptoms.
When all of a sudden the stressors become substantial and long-lasting enough and the allostatic reaction becomes significantly strong, we begin to exhibit symptoms. This is the ‘tipping point.’
Anxiety, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, and chronic fatigue syndrome are all manifestations of allostatic load and chronic inflammation.
In short, emergence of the symptoms is only one aspect of the disease. Because though the symptoms may have started to show 5 years ago, the dysfunction is likely to have started decades ago. Moreover, one root cause could lead to many diseases. Or one disease could have multiple root causes.
How chronic infection triggers insulin resistance thus leading to diabetes?
When there is an infection in the body, the immune system gets activated in order to prevent the spread of the infection and to promote regeneration of tissues in the affected area. However, the infection may also have metabolic reactions. For instance, when the immune system is activated, it switches its function from anabolic to catabolic. Which means, instead of using up energy to build molecules that the body needs for functionality, it breaks down molecules and releases energy. This could result in the development of insulin resistance.
Direct infection of pancreatic cells results in the loss of insulin granules and endocrine activity, as well as trans-differentiation (conversion of cells from one type to another) or de-differentiation (when cells grow in reverse, from a partially or terminally differentiated stage to a less differentiated stage within their own lineage). The release of adiponectin (a hormone responsible for regulating glucose levels, lipid metabolism, and insulin sensitivity) is decreased by the infection of adipocytes (fat cells), which lowers insulin sensitivity.
Additionally, due to the immune system’s activation, pathogen infections can result in behavioral reactions like hypersomnia, fatigue, decreased motor activity, decreased social interaction, and sick behavior. This is done to stop heat from dissipating and to save energy for the immune system’s defense. Inflammation affects behavior and thought processes in addition to bodily dysfunctions such as pain, discomfort, and exhaustion.
Is it wise to choose conventional medicinal practices or functional medicine?
The traditional medical paradigm seems to be primarily focused on diagnosing a condition and then treating the symptoms with surgery or medication.
Chronic disease is more prevalent than ever, placing an increasing strain on society as a result of rising medication usage and a lack of attention paid to changing one’s lifestyle and restoring the body’s natural balance.
Functional medicine and Integrative medicine, reminds physicians that disease is preceded by a gradual shift in the functional integrity of the entire system of the body, exposing the absurdity of this approach.
Finding the underlying causes of complicated disorders requires specialized training and approaches, which functional medicine specialists use. Functional medicine experts look into numerous disorders that are caused by one symptom, or they may look into numerous conditions that are caused by one symptom.
A functional medicine practitioner adopts a patient-centric, holistic and an integrated approach that combines the best practices of science and medicine, with the objective of providing optimum health benefits to his patients. A functional medicine protocol usually involves changes in diet, nutrition and exercises that are brought about with a focus on sustainable disease reversal or prevention, as the case may be. Functional practitioners are well-equipped and efficient in treating chronic diseases and long-term illnesses.
In summation, every cell in the body has the innate ability to heal itself, provided that all the necessary conditions are met. Even if a person already has a chronic illness, making an effort to repair the dysfunction has a positive impact on a person’s quality of life. The quantity and dosage of medications needed can be reduced till it is no longer needed and the overall functionality of the system improves.
Finding the root cause of a disease and addressing it from the inside-out is the most effective way to treat it for long-term sustained health and wellness.
Speak to us at Wellfinity to diagnose and understand the root causes of your current health problems.