Holistic Health Specific
Best Way to Address a Specific Health Problem
Dr. Ben Kim
instant-gratification society teaches us to reach for quick solutions to specific
health problems. Look in any direction and you're bound to come across products
and procedures that fit into this mold. Have joint pain? Take glucosamine chondroiton.
Have chronic acne? Take high doses of vitamin A. Want to look and feel sexier?
Follow the golden rule to a flat stomach (for 39.95).
fine to use natural products to optimally support specific areas of your body.
But please don't ignore the following universal and timeless health principle:
best way to improve one aspect of your health is to improve your overall health
through all of your daily choices.
article aims to give you a big picture look at how interconnected all of your
parts are. Really understanding this concept should immunize you against the temptation
to dip into the ocean of transient miracle remedies on the market.
start, let's review the basic pathway of blood through your body.
good place to begin is your small intestine. As your blood courses through the
vessels that line your small intestine, it picks up nutrients from your most recent
your small intestine, your blood flows to your liver, where nutrients are packaged
into bundles that can be transported to all of the cells of your body.
your liver, your blood travels upward to the right chambers of your heart.
the right chambers of your heart, your blood travels to your lungs, where it picks
up oxygen from the air that you breathe. Also at your lungs, your blood releases
carbon dioxide (a waste product that it picked up from all of your cells), to
your lungs, your blood travels to the left chambers of your heart.
from the left chambers of your heart, your blood is pumped out to the rest of
your body to deliver oxygen and nutrients to all of your cells.
every organ in your body requires oxygen and nutrients, your blood travels through
every organ. And when it passes through your kidneys, your blood is cleansed of
waste products by special filters.
your blood unloads oxygen and nutrients to all of your cells, it picks up carbon
dioxide and other waste products from your cells.
blood eventually comes full circle by returning to your small intestine and liver,
and then back to your heart.
ensure that you have a big picture view of the flow of blood through your body,
here's a simple outline of its path:
Small intestine > Liver > Right side of heart > Lungs > Left side
of heart > Out to all of the organs and tissues of your body, including your
kidneys > Back to small intestine, liver, and right side of heart
give you an idea of how much ground we're talking about, consider that:
together, all of the blood vessels that make up the pathway described above could
circle the Earth two and a half times.
the course of one day, your blood travels about 19,000 kilometres (12,000 miles).
re-visit your heart and lungs. Remember that before your heart pumps blood to
the far ends of your body, it first sends the blood to your lungs to pick up oxygen.
lungs develop chronic disease through exposure to cigarette smoke, asbestos, other
environmental pollutants, autoimmune illness, or any other factor, it experiences
repeated bouts of inflammation.
Inflammation is a process that your body generates to try to heal an injured area.
your lungs experience enough inflammation, it can develop scar tissue, which is
tissue that is created to try to heal damaged areas.
your lungs develop significant scar tissue, it becomes harder for your lung tissues
to allow fresh oxygen to enter your blood, and for carbon dioxide to leave your
result is that your heart has to work harder because your body's need for oxygenated
blood and clearance of carbon dioxide remains the same, regardless of how healthy
your lungs are. In order to keep up with your body's demand for oxygen and nutrients,
the right side of your heart has to pump harder, and perhaps faster, to compensate
for reduced efficiency in your lungs.
your lungs don't return to high level functioning, the right side of your heart
will eventually become fatigued, and won't be able to sustain the effort needed
to keep blood flowing through your system fast enough to ensure optimal delivery
the right side of your heart is significantly weakened from years of compensating
for diseased lungs, your liver may experience signs of congestion, since your
liver is constantly sending blood directly to your heart.
one potential cause of liver disease is lung or heart disease.
potential consequence of fatigue and weakness in the right side of your heart
is congestion in the blood vessels in your lower extremities, since these vessels
are continuously sending blood back to your heart. This is how lung or heart disease
can cause problems related to circulation like varicose
veins and hemorrhoids.
what about the left side of your heart? Can problems in the left chambers of your
heart cause problems in other organs as well?
answer is an emphatic yes. To give an example, if you develop thickening in the
walls of large arteries in your system (atherosclerosis) by eating too many potato
chips and donuts, the left side of your heart will have to work harder to meet
your body's needs for oxygen and nutrients. Over time, this extra work can cause
the left side of your heart to become fatigued, which can lead to congestion in
your lungs (since your lungs are constantly sending oxygenated blood to the left
side of your heart). If your lungs suffer enough in this fashion, you can develop
all of the problems associated with right-sided heart fatigue.
what about your kidneys? If your kidneys decline in function, none of your other
organs can function properly for a number of reasons, the primary ones being that
your body will accumulate toxic waste products and lose its ability to regulate
main point is this: it's impossible to have just one organ in your body suffer
one of your organs isn't doing well, it's only a matter of time before other organs
will experience declining function.
course, the reverse is true as well; if your lungs are extremely healthy, the
right side of your heart, your liver, the blood vessels in your lower extremities,
and all other areas of your body are positively influenced.
as the performance of one member of a sports team can affect the performances
of her teammates, the health of each organ in your body has ongoing influence
on every other part of your body.
remember: The best way to improve the health of one part of your body is to work
at promoting good overall health by eating healthfully, getting adequate rest,
being around fresh air and sunlight (without getting burned), being physically
active, and striving to be emotionally balanced.
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