Too often, people land in US hospitals where 440,000 of them die each year due to medical errors and hospital-acquired infections. Also, in hospitals, over 100,000 patients die annually from side effects of medications administered as prescribed. Besides those scary risks, it is just no fun!
We hope not to be hospitalized with a medical crisis, but do we really have a choice? Other than a true accident (e.g. you are sitting at a stoplight in your convertible and a piece of frozen effluent from an airplane drops on you), we probably have much more control than we realize. Hospitalization usually means that a person’s health and quality of life has taken some serious hits in the recent past. However, the trouble likely started long before that when the fixing was relatively easy.
As the name of our show implies, we are supposed to be healthy naturally if: (1) we give the body everything it needs for optimum function and (2) don’t gum up the works with excesses it can’t handle. I created the graphic above to show how subtle violations of rule (1) can accumulate over time and result in a crisis. As you can imagine, the gradual accumulation of toxicants and other excesses (e.g. stress and sugar) can follow a similar path, thereby breaking prime directive (2). Follow the colors below to explain locations on the slide.
1. GREEN – Cells are well-nourished with vitamins, minerals, protein, healthy oils, plant nutrients, good bacteria and well hydrated. The person is vigorously healthy with a positive outlook and superior resistance to immune challenges. Do you know anyone who goes to the doctor and asks her to explain why they feel so good?
2.TEAL – Nutrients are being used up faster than they are replaced, and so backup stores start to become depleted. Only specialized testing such as hair mineral analysis or red blood cell magnesium can give clues. The person probably thinks they are still fine.
3. BLUE – Bodily functions are now being subtly affected by the insufficiencies (not as severe as deficiencies). For example, enzymes function poorly or cell membranes become rigid. Nutrients are rarely measure with special functional blood tests. But, the body does give us signs such as: bleeding gums (vitamin C), nail spots (zinc), changes on tongue (B vitamins), nervousness (B vitamins and magnesium), fatigue (B12 and most others), constipation (fiber, magnesium and water), depression (vitamin D and fish oil), and high blood pressure (magnesium). I could go on and on. And note that I’ve picked some common connections, but any of the signs can be caused by other nutrient insufficiencies. The person may still think they feel pretty well and that these little complaints are not important enough to address.
4. PURPLE – The persistent insufficiencies now become serious enough to be evident with simple medical tests…if someone thinks to check. Does the doctor test blood vitamin D and know the ideal levels? Checking “serum magnesium” is nearly useless, but doc could order a “red blood cell magnesium” test which is better. Unfortunately, rather than getting to the root cause of worrisome trends in blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar or digestion, the mainstream system is more likely to prescribe drugs to force the tests into line. The drug-it approach doesn’t fix the real problem and sometimes makes it worse. It also ignores that fact that the fundamental imbalance may be causing other problems as well. The person is just not feeling like themselves and probably blames age or bad luck.
5. ORANGE – By now, the dysfunctions are interfering with life. The doctor is trained to categorize these obvious symptoms into a syndrome and give it a Latin name. Congratulations! You now have an insurance billing code for a disease and at least one medication and maybe more for the side effects of that drug. Life begins to revolve around trips to the doctor and pharmacy.
6. RED – The accumulated damage can become a permanent and create disability. The person may now be in pain and is missing out on many of their favorite things. The close in handicapped parking spot is small consolation.
7. BLACK — SUDDEN Death. Wow! Who saw that coming? Are the organs worth donating?
This gradual slip into trouble shows why the US trails so many other countries in preventing and dealing with chronic disease. As just one example, our surgeons are great at removing a misbehaving thyroid gland, but not at keeping it well with sufficient iodine, selenium, zinc, vitamin A and so on. It makes sense to invest in staying at the top of the slide to avoid a lot of expense and misery at the bottom.