Timeless and Universal Health Principle
By Dr. Ben
instant-gratification society teaches us to reach for quick solutions
to specific health problems. Google any health condition 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 lose weight and have
rock-hard abs? Obey 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.
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 meal.
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
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 be exhaled.
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
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
strung 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
let's 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.
your 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 blood.
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 of oxygen.
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 fluid balance.
what all of this boils down to: it's impossible to have just one
organ in your body suffer from disease.
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
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
remedies for specific health challenges may be helpful, but never
forget that lasting, positive results require healthy food and lifestyle
choices on a daily basis that support your overall health.
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