Modern Chronic Illness, a Cumulative Condition

man looking at rain through windowMany of the patients we see come to us with longstanding health problems they suspect are related to things like root canal teeth, mercury amalgam fillings and cavitations. But while such dental factors may indeed be playing a role, they’re seldom – if ever – the sole cause of distress.

As Dr. V reviews each person’s health history, he typically sees a pattern of physical, emotional and energetic traumas throughout their life, sometimes starting quite early. We can see how the current illness progressed over a very long time, evolving from minor complaints to full-blown, disabling conditions. The dental factors play one role – sometimes a major, triggering one – but ultimately, it’s the accumulation of insults to body, mind and spirit that pollute and disorder the terrain so much as to interfere with the normal, healthy functioning of the body. The body is – as ever – trying to maintain homeostasis, but increasingly there are obstacles. Function becomes dysfunction.

Modern chronic illness is a cumulative condition. It’s the interplay of all manner of toxic exposures, injuries and insults that manifest in disease.

Consider diet: Eating a burger and fries from a fast food joint once in a while probably isn’t going to do much damage. Eat it every day, and health problems pile up fairly quickly. Add to that a lack of physical activity, and the problems compound. Add pharmaceutical drugs prescribed to “manage” symptoms such as high blood pressure, elevated lipids, arthritis or other pain and the like, and you create further chaos – and even more when more drugs are given to treat the “side effects” of the original medications. And the whole time, you’re living in a highly polluted environment, breathing, consuming and absorbing thousands of synthetic chemicals and their residues…

Is it just diet that’s the problem? No, it’s the whole complex.

Context, as they say, is everything. And interactions – everything. Rubbing alcohol on its own is safe to use. So is bleach. Mix them together and you get chloroform.

Which brings us to a really interesting and welcome study that was published a while back in Carcinogenesis. As reported by the New Zealand Herald this past summer,

The startling findings from a task force of around 174 scientists from 28 countries, published today tackles long-standing concerns that there are links between mixtures of commonly encountered chemicals and the development of cancer.

From the thousands of chemicals to which people are routinely exposed, the scientists selected 85 prototypic chemicals that were not considered to be carcinogenic to humans, and they reviewed their effects against a long list of mechanisms that are important for cancer development.

They found 50 of those chemicals supported key cancer-related mechanisms at levels which humans are regularly exposed.

The findings supported the idea that chemicals may be capable of acting in concert with one another to cause cancer, even though low-level exposures to these chemicals individually might not be carcinogenic.

It was the first time the issue has ever been considered by interdisciplinary teams that could fully interpret the full spectrum of cancer biology and incorporate what is now known about low-dose chemical effects.

“Since so many chemicals that are unavoidable in the environment can produce low-dose effects that are directly related to carcinogenesis, the way we’ve been testing chemicals, one at a time, is really quite out of date,” said study lead author William Goodson III, a senior scientist at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco.

This is a great reminder of why looking at the big picture matters so much – likewise, regular detox and healthy life choices. While there are some things that can be a drag on our health that we can do little to avoid, taking the best care of ourselves that we can provides a good and necessary counterbalance, helping our bodies be more resilient in the face of potential harms.

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About The Verigin Dental Health Team

A humanistic, holistic dental practice in Northern California, providing integrative, biological, mercury-free dentistry
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