I avoid television commercials whenever I can. But I have recently been hearing in the background something like “if you have inflammation, take this drug and you’ll be back to yourself again.” I get so frustrated by that. Shouldn’t we care what is causing the inflammation in the first place? Our bodies are trying to tell us something, but we aren’t listening. We drug them into submission. Before I go any further, a little bit about inflammation.
Like many things that we deem “bad”, our bodies rely on inflammation to protect us. For instance, when our bodies need to fight an infection, it is an inflammatory process that causes the fever. The fever’s purpose is to kill the intruder. (A more detailed description of fevers.)
Inflammation comes from the Latin word “Inflammatio” which means to set on fire. It is ironic that this protective response to remove harmful stimuli from the body in order to initiate healing is also the main mechanism of diseases caused by microbial, autoimmune, metabolic, and physical factors. (Hawiger)
Inflammation is good, and healthy. It is when our bodies are in a constant state of inflammation that we have problems.
Chronic inflammation can induce the excessive formation of reactive oxygen that attacks healthy tissue, which is called oxidative stress. Chronic inflammation is mainly triggered by improper nutrition, particularly deficient intakes of nutrients regulating the inflammatory response and excessive calorie intake leading to obesity. (USDA)
When it comes to preventable conditions and a ‘quick fix,’ heartburn/Acid reflux is my favorite. There is no reason to deal with unnecessary discomfort. Eat and do what you want, and just take a little purple pill. (A little purple pill… How cute is that?!) On their website, Nexium does offer lifestyle factors to consider and foods to avoid. But why give up “what we love” when we can just take that cute little purple pill and continue to enjoy life as we know it? Why listen to our bodies saying “Please stop it!”? Also on Nexium’s website, besides the more serious possible side effects, the most common ones are: headache, diarrhea, nausea, gas, abdominal pain, constipation, dry mouth, and drowsiness. Wow! I can eat as much of whatever it is I want and get all that too?! (Sarcasm intended!)
Type 2 diabetes is easily prevented for most of us by proper diet and exercise, yet for many reasons we don’t know this, don’t believe it, don’t have the tools to act on it, don’t believe it is as bad as it is, or we don’t think it will happen to us. There are others who truly don’t have a choice, but that’s a post for another time.
I knew I had to write this post when I recently saw a lawyers’ commercial on behalf of people with diabetes who took medication (Byetta, Jnuvia, Bydureon, Victoza, Janumet…) for their diabetes because it can cause pancreatic cancer. I knew a woman, a wonderful woman and mother of five, who left them all behind because of pancreatic cancer. “About 95 percent of people with pancreatic cancer die from it, experts say.” (CNN) As of right now, “it does appear that there may be an increased risk of these drugs having adverse effects, but further safety studies are needed to confirm this.” (NHS)
The point of this post is not to tell you to stop taking drugs you may need, but to present the case for awareness and promotion of prevention: When these lifestyle diseases are so preventable, why do we continue on a course of inevitable self destruction (or at least self harm?) The reasons are as numerous and complicated as the number of people affected. (No, I have no scientific research to back that up, I’m just making a point.) This is not an easy battle. Together we can overcome the barriers.
healthy dietary intakes with the reduction in fat intake (especially trans and saturated fat) and the increase in fruits, vegetables, and whole grain* consumption seem to be associated with the improvement in subclinical inflammatory condition. (PubMed)
Disclaimer: I recommend whole foods, not food products. We don’t usually eat wheat berries the way we eat oats, quinoa, rice, etc. Eat potatoes with the skin, whole grains whole… etc.
Babysteps. Toward health…