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Articles of interest
Re-Define Diseases of Lifestyle

Disease always has a cause. The names of pathological diseases are normally not confusing, but diseases of lifestyle i.e. diabetes, cholesterol, high blood pressure, etc. are misleading, and misinform patients about potential disease curing and prevention options.

When symptoms are given disease names, we automatically distort the selection of available treatments for such a disease. If the disease is high cholesterol, then the cure for the disease must be nothing other than drugs to lower the high cholesterol. However, there is a fatal flaw in this approach to treating diseases of lifestyle. The symptom is not the cause of the disease. There is another cause, and this deeper cause, the root cause, is routinely ignored.

As long as we define symptoms of diseases of lifestyle as the cause of the disease state, we are reducing the possibility of a solution. We need to re-define the “disease” to be able to reverse it effectively.

Take high cholesterol as an example. Conventional medicine drugs lower cholesterol by reducing/inhibiting the production of cholesterol in the liver (the organ that is suppose to produce cholesterol). Upon taking these drugs, the high cholesterol (the "disease") is regulated, but what was causing the liver to overproduce cholesterol in the first place? That causative factor remains ignored. The root cause of high cholesterol, as it turns out, is primarily dietary and not some bizarre behaviour by the liver. A person who eats foods that are high in saturated fats and hydrogenated oils and little fibre will inevitably produce more bad cholesterol, showing the symptoms of this disease of high cholesterol. It is simple cause and effect. Eat the wrong foods, and your liver will produce too much bad cholesterol which can be detected in the blood. Maybe the disease high cholesterol should have been called Fatty Food Choice Disease (FFCD).

FFCD would be a far more accurate name for the symptom of high cholesterol. If it is Fatty Foods Choice Disease, then the obvious solution to the disease would be to choose foods that aren't so fatty. Of course these statements oversimplify the causes and treatment of high cholesterol but at least the name FFCD gives patients a better idea of what's actually going on rather than naming the disease after a symptom. The symptom is not the root cause of the disease and if treatment only addresses the symptom and not the underlying cause, health will not be restored.

Another disease of lifestyle that is caused mostly by poor food choice is diabetes type 2. Type 2 diabetes is the natural physiological and metabolic result of a person consuming refined carbohydrates and added sugars in large quantities without engaging in regular physical exercise that would compensate for such dietary practices.

The name "diabetes" is meaningless to the average person. The disease should be called Excessive Sugar Consuming Disease, or ESCD. If it were called Excessive Sugar Consuming Disease, the solution to it would be rather apparent; simply eat less sugar forming food, drink fewer soft drinks, etc.

Another disease that is named after its symptom is cancer. In fact, to this day, many patients still believe that cancer is a physical thing: a tumour. In reality, a tumour is only a side effect of cancer, not its cause. A tumour is simply a physical manifestation of a cancer pattern that is expressed by the body. When a person "has cancer," what they really have is a sluggish or malfunctioning immune system and previously healthy body cells that have changed their behaviour completely because of a long term chemical imbalance. Why not name it Sluggish Immune System Disease or SISD. If it were called a sluggish immune system disease or a suppressed immune system disorder, the effective treatment for cancer would be apparent.

Artherio sclerosis

Artherio sclerosis is a chronic, diffuse disease of large arteries of unknown cause. In "Westernised" societies, the disease begins in childhood and progresses inexorably unless lifestyle is changed. One prevalent hypothesis is that it is caused by damage to the endothelium, the single-cell thick layer lining all blood vessels and the largest organ in the body. Until about 20 years ago, the endothelium was thought to be a passive organ whose only job was to prevent clotting of blood on the inside of blood vessels. But since the Nobel Prize winning research of Furchgott, Ignarro and Murad we know that endothelium is a very active organ whose normal function is to keep the arterial wall healthy.

A number of factors can cause endothelial dysfunction, the most important being, diet, tobacco/smoke, and inactivity. It is also very sensitive to substances in the blood and the flow of blood itself.

By as yet unknown mechanisms, possibly related to the production of modified LDL (low density lipoprotein) in the arterial wall, endothelial dysfunction leads to the build up of atherosclerotic plaque. Fortunately, as plaque builds up the artery tends to dilate in an attempt to keep the lumen open.

Blockage of arteries by artherio sclerosis usually first causes symptoms related to heart function because the coronary arteries that deliver blood to the heart muscle are only about 2 mm in diameter. The heart muscle (myocardium) extracts more oxygen from its blood supply than any other organ in the body and cannot tolerate any reduction in blood flow.

Angiography outlines the lumen of the artery and, because the wall is not visualized, shows only a small fraction of the disease, the "tip of the iceberg". Angioplasty (balloon dilation) or graft bypass of the constriction may relieve angina temporarily but leaves untouched the great majority of the disease. These procedures will many a time not prolong life or prevent a heart attack.

Rupture of artherio sclerotic plaques, formation of a clot and rapid occlusion of a coronary artery cause heart attacks. When the endothelium, which normally provides a non-thrombogenic surface, is broken, blood is exposed to tissue factors in the wall of the artery, which promote clotting. The same happens with any trauma. Blood clots when exposed to tissue factors outside of the endothelium.

Heart attack usually causes sudden death since heart muscle not only contract, it also conducts electrical impulses like a nerve. When a piece of heart muscle dies the normal smooth flow of conduction is disturbed and can result in a totally disorganized kind of electrical activity called ventricular fibrillation and an absence of coordinated pump function.

Paradoxically, a heart attack or sudden death is much more likely to be caused by a plaque rupture in regions of the diseased artery that are not very constricted and not even seen on an angiogram
(early unstable plaque). Plaque rupture can be prevented and the plaque stabilized by regression of the fatty deposits in the plaque. Regression/reversal can only be accomplished by adoption of a low-fat, mostly vegetarian diet, exercise and smoking cessation. Except in high potentially toxic doses, cholesterol-lowering drugs will only slow progression of artherio sclerosis, not reverse it.

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