Tells of the dis-eased body – part one
Written by Emma Lane
Are you listening to your body’s communication of ‘dis-ease’ and addressing it before it turns into a disease?
Did you know that disease processes take 10-15 years to develop in the body?
Most people believe that symptoms are the first sign that they have a problem but, in fact, symptoms are one of the last stages of the disease process. Therefore, if you have symptoms the body’s fundamental metabolic control systems have been out of balance for some time and are demanding your attention.
Homeostasis – a body in balance
In an ideal state, the body can maintain a state of metabolic equilibrium or balance – in other words, stay within normal limits. Naturopaths call this “homeostasis”, and this means no symptoms are being communicated by the body; obviously, this is what we want to experience.
Every minute of the day physiological changes are happening in our bodies. For example, 600,000 red blood cells are turned over every second, and there are constant hormonal and temperature adjustments. Therefore, each day there are constant deviations from homeostasis, the body is constantly making adjustments and this physiological dance is what maintains the homeostasis balance.
The journey from dis-ease to disease
However, if for some reason the body has difficulty correcting a deviation and remains chronically outside the limits of physiology this can lead into another phase, which would be a pathophysiologic change, which means abnormal and disordered physiologic function.
Some examples of this would be poor blood sugar balance, headaches and bowel movement issues such as constipation. These are just a few examples of how your body communicates that it’s having some problems. If you continue not to listen to that communication, then over time it progresses to the next stage where you will start to experience pathomorphological changes. The body will still be working hard to regain homeostasis, but if the pathophysiology continues this third phase of pathomorphology is invoked, and this indicates a change to the structure of the body-damage to tissues and/or organs.
Some examples of pathomorphological changes would be atherosclerosis and metabolic syndrome; again if you do not listen to the communication and do little to address the underlying causes of the pathologic shifts, and if the imbalance is severe or exists for a prolonged period of time, the pathological changes continue to occur until you suffer the symptoms of a disease. Unfortunately, by the time a person is aware of symptoms or is diagnosed with a disease this process has usually been going on for some time.
Constant care for optimal health
The human body is remarkable and is designed to continually self-heal if it has access to what it needs to rebuild and heal itself. Therefore, you have a duty of care to nurture and look after it by adopting simple daily routines such as feeding it the right types of nourishing foods, giving it a diversity of both essential and complementary nutrients, drinking plenty of clean water, getting enough rest and avoiding exposure to those things which are considered toxic – such as chemicals and excessive stress – and if you look after it by making consistent choices in line with creating your optimal wellbeing, you will reap the benefits.
Your body will function optimally, enabling you to live a life free from the constraints of illness and at the ready to handle most of the things thrown its way. Unfortunately, if you consistently do things that upset the balance in your chemistry and function – perhaps preferring an unhealthy diet, not getting enough sleep, or drinking alcohol too much or too frequently, your body will start to give you those early warning signals in the form of signs and symptoms.
Some signs and symptoms are obvious, for example, the onset of fever is the body’s way of letting you know that it’s fighting off an infection. Then there are more subtle signs like having white spots on your nails, which is an indication of possible zinc insufficiency.
In the second part of our blog on dis-ease, I will explore some of the early warning signs your body is using to communicate that it’s out of balance.