What Causes Illness?
We have been listening to the expert speakers on the Autoimmune Revolution Summit and it is fascinating to learn about their cutting edge wisdom and clinical practice experiences, as they explain what causes illness and autoimmune disease and how to avoid and recover from them.
In the course of listening to these experts, it is becoming clearer that despite all the names given to all the different diseases and conditions that people can be diagnosed with as their health deteriorates, the actual causes (excluding accidents) can be broken down into just 3 groups:-
- Infectious diseases ie acquired from another person (influenza, colds, viruses etc), living organisms (mosquitoes, ticks, spiders, snakes etc) or bacteria, molds in the environment.
- Inherited genetic defects, which predispose to certain diseases in the wrong circumstances.
- Unintentionally self inflicted disease (sometimes this is intentional, or at least conscious, eg smoking, drug and alcohol abuse).
This latter group is by far the largest and it is becoming increasingly clear that it is what we do to ourselves as a species that causes us to have disease.
Unintentional Self-Inflicted Disease
At first glance, it might seem rather harsh to say that what causes illness and many diagnosed diseases has at its root cause what we do to ourselves. But aside from sudden onset infectious disease or accidents, most “dis-ease” in the body takes a long time to materialise, does not occur overnight and is usually as a result of lifestyle choices.
This type of disease is not simply bad luck or a lottery with the wrong number coming up on the roulette wheel. Such disease has taken years to get to the stage where it manifests with symptoms that can be diagnosed. For example, except in relatively rare cases, by the time most cancer tumours are large enough to present as a detectable lump, those cancer cells will have been growing for a couple of years or more.
Imagine if people knew as soon as cancerous cells started to form into a group, way before a lump was detectable, and made changes to their lifestyle that could halt the cancerous progression in its tracks. Just think of the reduction in disease that people would experience. Is this feasible? Well, yes and no is the answer.
Yes, if you are prepared to think seriously about every aspect of your life and make any lifestyle changes that may be required to optimise your health.
No, if you are only prepared to take action when disease has been diagnosed.
What Constitutes Unintentional Self-Inflicted Disease?
- Everything that we put into and on our bodies;
- Everything that we allow to come into contact with our bodies;
- Everything that we do;
- Everything that affects our emotions; and
We can control the vast majority of the above or take evasive and/or preventive measures against those environmental issues that we otherwise have no control over.
Self-Inflicted Inflammation Causing Autoimmune Response
The common factor in all of these essentially non-infectious diseases is inflammation. This is where “dis-ease” in the body starts and is the basis for what causes illness. Our bodies are unbelievably complex and resilient, and perfectly designed to overcome the insults that are thrown at us. So when inflammation appears, the body knows what to do to counter this and the immune system comes into play. In this way external damage to the body (cuts, bruises, bites, breaks) are miraculously repaired, and we see this in action and know when we are healed.
But what happens when the inflammation is occurring somewhere you cannot see, when it is inside you and occurring initially at a cellular level that you can never be aware of?
The immune system will still fire up and protect you, but the immune system was not designed to be on full alert 24/7. For a long time, maybe decades, you will not notice any symptoms, but one day this will change and this is when you will know for sure that you have “dis-ease”. What form this takes will largely be dictated by any genetic susceptibility that you may have and the toxins that you have accumulated.
Nearly every disease starts with an inflammatory process, but what causes the inflammatory process? The answer is the list above of what constitute self-inflicted disease.
What Goes Into and Onto Your Body
In the last 70 years, the world has seen an uncontrolled increase and use of chemicals and toxins in all aspects of our lives. From plastics to insecticides to food additives to fertilisers to fast foods, we have seen a rapid negative change in the quality of “food” that is offered to consumers around the world.
Our bodies are not designed to eat processed foods. We are intended to eat the foods that nature provides in the most natural form possible. But exactly the opposite is what is offered to consumers. Highly processed and full of unhealthy ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, cheap hydrogenated vegetable oils, preservatives, flavour enhancers, colour additives etc etc.
But because we are so resilient we are able to survive on this non-food for a long time before the wheels fall off. As a result people in general do not believe these foods are so bad for them, but the negative effects are cumulative.
The same applies to personal care products and cosmetics. Unless you seek out the ones without nasties, you are adding to your toxic load every time you wash, spray or brush.
It is a simple matter to substitute healthy foods and cosmetics etc for any unhealthy ones that you may be using, but it is not easy because the greatest adversary that people will have to deal with is their habits. Mindset and motivation is everything.
What About Lifestyle Activites, Work and Stress?
The same applies here about minimising toxic events and maximising health promoting activities and whatever relaxation techniques work for you. Do you exercise regularly, do you get into nature, walk on a beach, what hobbies do you have, do you sing, paint, meditate, how do you handle work stress, what are your relationships like, do they support you or deplete you?
By examining all aspects of your life analytically, you will be able to see clearly what is supportive of good health in your life and what is not.
Optimal Health Balance
- Maximise the quality of everything that goes into, onto and comes into contact with your body – make these as natural as possible.
- Maximise your time outdoors, exercising, relaxing and being with family and friends.
- Minimise toxic effects and additives from processed food, drinks, personal care products, cosmetics, fragrances, household cleaning products, furniture, synthetic clothing, floor and wall coverings, air fresheners, mobile phone and wifi EMFs, amalgam fillings, poor air quality etc.
- Minimise stress, anger, negative emotions, relationship issues, and find healthy coping strategies to deal with all of these when they occur.
We realise all of the above are easy to suggest but harder to put into practice. However, the important thing is to be aware of what causes disease and take manageable steps to shift the optimal health balance back in your favour and to minimise inflammation in your body.
We are all in this for the long haul, so make what changes you can that fit in with your ability to embrace change. Everyone is different, but if you can accept the concept that we are the greatest danger to our own health because of unintentional self-inflicted disease, then you can become aware of the problems we face and, thereafter, your actions can be intentional and positive rather than unintentional and negative for your health and wellbeing. Choose wisely.
Trying to avoid what causes illness, Edith and Tim at CoolWellbeing Foundation
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Photo credit to Ekrem gokce Freeimages.com