3 "Real Causes" of Ill Health — and What to Do About Them
In last week's newsletter I was pleased to announce the August 7th publication of my newest book: the paperback edition of Real Cause, Real Cure: The 9 root causes of the most common health problems and how to solve them (Rodale, August 2012), which I coauthored with Bill Gottlieb, CHC, a bestselling health author and certified health coach.
In that newsletter, I also discussed two of those "real causes": nutritional deficiencies, and poor sleep. And I described a couple of simple, effective "real cures" to help you overcome them.
This week, I'd like to tell you about three more "real causes" of poor health:
- Happiness Deficiency, and
- Prescription Medications
… and I'd like to share a few "real cures" with you for overcoming them, too. Here, then, continuing my list from part 1 of this series are numbers 3-5 of real causes and real cures.
Real Cause #3: Inactivity
Exercise can effectively help prevent or treat just about every health problem out there. Studies show it can decrease the risk of dying from any cause, extending your life. In fact, researchers at the Mayo Clinic estimated that if everybody in America exercised regularly, there would be 250,000 fewer deaths a year! Yet only 5% of Americans exercise regularly!
Regular exercise also reduces the risk of Alzheimer's by more than 30%. It lowers the risk of several cancers, including prostate and breast, and reduces the risk of dying from cancer if you've already got it. It reduces the risk of diabetes by 40% and the risk of a heart attack by 27%. Exercise helps people with insomnia fall asleep 55% faster. And if you lose weight and want to keep it off (which 95% of people who shed pounds fail to do), regular exercise improves your odds dramatically.
Walk with a friend. Walking is one of the best exercises there is — and if you have to meet someone for a walk at a regular time, you're less likely to come up with excuses not to show up. It's also fun to walk with a friend, and enjoyable exercise is the only kind that people do regularly. If you have CFS/FMS and are unable to walk without next-day crashing, you can learn how to improve your stamina through following my SHINE protocol and by using a pedometer. If your stamina is so low you fell nearly bedbound, then you should begin the reconditioning process in a warm water pool. Meanwhile, in SHINE, we add special types of exercise you may not even recognize as exercise!
Real Cause #4: Happiness Deficiency
Scientific research shows that happiness leads to healthfulness. When Dutch researchers analyzed 30 studies on happiness and longevity, they found that happy folks lived 10 to 40% longer. "The effect on happiness is remarkably strong," they concluded in the Journal of Happiness Studies.
In another study, researchers in the Department of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh found that people who were happy — who were consistently joyous, enthusiastic, calm and content — were healthier. They had less pain, fewer symptoms of disease, fewer hospitalizations and fewer injuries. And they lived longer, too!
Happiness improves health by energizing the immune system, preventing overproduction of cell-damaging stress hormones, helping your heart (negative emotions are linked to heart disease), and protecting your brain (depression increases the risk of dementia).
Feel all your feelings without resistance, and let go of them when they no longer feel good. Create a no-blame lifestyle, which changes you from being a helpless victim to an empowered person in control of your life. And choose to keep your attention on what feels good.
Abe Lincoln once put it well when he said that people are about as happy as they choose to be! Think Honest Abe was wrong? I invite you to also get my new Kindle e-book, Three Steps to Happiness-Healing Through Joy (out last month — I have been busy!;-) Think you can't get happy because you're sick? You can. And I put my money where my mouth is by offering a 100% money back guarantee on Three Steps to Happiness.
Real Cause #5: Prescription Medications
A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association estimated that adverse drug reactions kill 106,000 people yearly in American hospitals alone, and many more including people that are not hospitalized — making them the fourth leading cause of death!
Why is this major preventable cause of death ignored? One, because it is so common that it is not even news anymore. For example, a recent study of approximately 100,000 people showed that arthritis medications doubled to tripled heart attack and stroke risk. Did you even hear about the study in the news? In addition, most deaths from prescription drugs aren't reported, or masquerade as natural causes (like heart attacks and strokes), or are even mistakenly ascribed to the disease for which the person was taking the drug.
How do prescription drugs kill? Overdosing at hospitals. Severe liver damage. Kidney failure. Bleeding ulcers (there are an estimated 16,500 yearly deaths from bleeding ulcers from arthritis medications — bet you didn't see that study in the news either!). Allergic reactions. Strokes from brain bleeding. Causing osteoporosis. Heart failure and lung failure. This is just to name a few!
Medications can do so much damage because they usually work by blocking enzyme systems — proteins that spark biochemical processes throughout the body. When you control a runaway train (the symptoms or disease) by derailing it (the drug action), you injure a lot of passengers.
Take a prescription medication in the smallest effective dose, for the shortest possible time, and when effective nondrug alternatives have failed to work after a reasonable trial. Most of the benefits of medication occur at low dosing, and most side effects occur at high dosing.
If you and your doctor decide a prescription medication is a must, consider adding natural remedies that will help you take less of the drug and decrease its side effects. For example, taking the supplement Coenzyme Q10 if on a statin (statins cause CoQ10 deficiency) may decreases the risk of the statin causing pain and fatigue. Better yet, know if you really need the medication. Large research reviews show that unless you already have known heart disease or diabetes, statins are not very effective at lowering heart attack risk. In fact, chocolate is 25 times as effective. So knowledge is power!
In addition to being an easy read (half of the book is a reference manual for specific problems), know my philosophy: That which makes you feel good overall is usually healthy for you. So I won't be asking you to give up pleasure. Instead, I'll be teaching you to get healthy with things that feel good!
My goal in writing Real Cause, Real Cure was to empower you, by offering you a natural owner's manual for your body!
Let me know how you like it.
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