Many people in the United States live with one chronic condition or disease. This unfortunate truth is because Western healthcare does not prioritize addressing the root causes of disease. By changing the lens through which we view chronic illness, we will change our approach to managing our own health.
American Life and Chronic Disease
Listed below are some examples of chronic disease:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
According to the CDC, the majority of Americans are living with at least one chronic disease. And statistically, if you have one chronic disease, you probably have multiple. As if living with a chronic disease isn’t hard enough, American society is structured in a way such that the most convenient choices are unhealthy ones. It’s cheaper, quicker, and requires less effort to eat processed, carcinogenic foods that promote inflammation in our bodies. This is not how humans were meant to live, which is why we are living with these chronic diseases.
How We’ve Been Treating Chronic Disease
“Have you been taking your medicine?” “Your numbers are too high.” How many times have we heard our doctor tell us this at our check-up? How much time do our doctors and pharmacists spend talking to us about medicine compared to lifestyle behaviors? This is the reason why so many of us are living with these conditions. Medicine is good for slowing the progression of our disease. It is not good, however, for getting our body back to a healthy and natural homeostasis.
How We Should Be Treating Chronic Disease
By prioritizing the root causes of all disease, we will be able to get our body back to its natural state. So, what ARE the 8 Root Causes of All Disease?
The mental, emotional, and physical stresses that our body is subject to every day. Our bodies were evolved to handle a certain amount of stress in our natural habitats. They were not, however, evolved to respond to the constant stress brought about by modern society. We are constantly being attacked by stress from work, traffic, social media, the news, and virtually anywhere else we look.
Toxins & Toxicants
The benefits of modern society come with consequences as well. Due to new technologies and our convenient lives, we have become used to having toxins in our air, water, soil, and food. Although these toxins are almost everywhere, we can make a conscious effort to remove them from our lives.
Allergens, Antigens, and Adverse Food Reactions
While there are many allergens, and everybody’s immune system will respond to them in a different way, it is important to be aware of The Big 8 Food Allergens that may be in your diet.
Infestation, Infections, Dysbiosis
Our diet is fuel for us. It is also the fuel for the bacteria that live with us. The enteric nervous system is how our gut communicates with our brain. It controls the functions of our gut and the secretion of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin. By balancing our microbiome through diet and supplementation, we will also balance our mood and brain function.
Nutrient Excesses and Deficiencies
The Western diet is the main contributor of these offenses to our body. We consume far too much of what is bad for us and not nearly enough of what our body needs In order to restore nutritional balance in our body, we must do what we can to change what we eat and supplement the necessary nutrients that are not currently present in our diet. Dr. Deanna Minich has a good way to approach this: to increase the variety of color in our diet.
Sleep is vital to achieving a healthy lifestyle. It is when our body recovers, heals, and fixes all of the imbalances from when we are awake. Before modern society, the human sleep schedule was regulated by the sun. Now we have electricity and endless distractions to disrupt our circadian rhythm. We must restore this balance by practicing good sleep hygiene with lifestyle modification and supplementation.
Another component of modern life that works against our health is how little time we spend moving. A sedentary lifestyle does not just mean that you do not go for runs or belong to a gym. Whether you have a full-time job, are a student in school, or are unemployed, you likely spend most of your time sitting down. Studies have shown that sedentary behavior is linked to cardiovascular disease and life expectancy, and quality of life. This problem of sedentarism overflows to our personal lives as well, with most of our leisure time being spent in front of a screen, on a couch, or in bed.
The final root cause of disease is related to relationships. We’ve already talked about our relationship with food, physical activity, and nature. The relationships we’re talking about here are with one another. We are social creatures that form and depend upon relationships. It was essential to our ancestors for their survival, and it is becoming more difficult to do this as we spend more of our time using screens.
8 Root Causes of Disease
|Root Cause of Disease||What makes it worse?||What makes it better?|
|Stressors||Overworking||Meditation, mindfulness, yoga, relaxation|
|Toxins & toxicants||Exposure, chemical dependence||Dietary/lifestyle discipline|
|Allergens/Antigens/Adverse Food reactions||Eating foods that irritate the gut, indoor/outdoor air quality||Elimination diet|
|Infestation, Infections, Dysbiosis||Processed foods, excess sugar||Healthy diet, probiotics|
|Nutrient Excesses and Deficiencies||Fast food, Western diet, some medications||Diverse diet including fruits and vegetables|
|Sleep Disorders||Screentime at night, inconsistent sleep schedule||Sleep rituals, melatonin, meditation, relaxation|
|Sedentarism||Desk jobs, binge watching||Realistic exercise goals, scheduled sedentary “breaks,” standing desks|
|Sociogenomics||Isolation||Schedule social events, join clubs, reconnect with old friends|
Now you are aware of the 8 Root Causes of Disease. You know what makes them worse. You know what makes them better. The only thing left that is stopping you from improving your health is you. Focus on removing stressors. Be mindful of what you are putting in your body. Establish routines around exercise and sleep. If you do these things one at a time, you will have transformed your health and your life by this time next year. The journey to your wellness begins with you, today.