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Understand chronic illness-autoimmune, inflammation, and fibromyalgia

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For a more in-depth discussion of this topic you can watch my Facebook livestream here.

The statistics are sobering.

45% of the total population in the US suffer from at least one chronic disease. (Source: Wu S, Green A. Projection of Chronic Illness Prevalence and Cost Inflation. RAND Corporation, October 2000)

75% of health care dollars in the US are spent to treat people with 1 or more chronic diseases. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Chronic diseases are responsible for seven out of every 10 deaths in the U.S., killing more than 1.7 million Americans every year. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

It didn't use to be this way

When I was growing up in the 50's and 60's, it was rare to see an overweight child. Our parents were for the most part free of chronic illness in their 30s and 40s, despite the fact that smoking was socially common and considered "cool".

Today, 60% of the 3 million cases of fibromyalgia diagnosed yearly in the US are people in their 30s and 40s. Asthma, diabetes, and autoimmune diagnoses have also risen at alarming rates and appear in younger populations, even children! Why is this happening and what can we do about it?

Nearly 45 years in the health industry gives me perspective

I've witnessed several changes over the last few decades that I am convinced have worked together to cause the health crisis we face in the US today. Naturopathic philosophy teaches that chronic illness is caused by multiple stresses to the body over time. These stresses include poor lifestyle habits, accidents/injuries/surgeries that create physical stress, periods of ongoing mental/emotional stress, and a wide variety of toxic stresses, like pollution and infection. Here are the changes that I believe have contributed the most to our current deteriorating situation:

  1. Increase in electromagnetic radiation. When I first started advising people to avoid electromagnetics in their sleeping environment, it was 1990. No one had a cell phone or personal computer. There was, of course, no wi-fi. Our nervous systems are irritated by these and we are now exposed to them 24/7. Kids used to be kept occupied when out for dinner with snacks or drawing pictures. Today, it's common to see even toddlers on phones and pads with attention fixed to the screens. (ps- their bodies are much more vulnerable to ill effects from electromagnetics)
  2. Decrease in contact with the earth and nature. As a child, we went barefoot at every opportunity! And in the summer we only wore shoes to church. We waded in creeks and built forts and spent every moment possible outside. Today kids spend much more time indoors with video games or tv. And although many adults still garden, it's not nearly as common as it used to be.
  3. Decrease in non-organized social activities. Lots of studies have shown that social connections improve health and longevity. When I was a kid, it was super common for families and friends to get together and just enjoy each other's company. Neighbors would pop over for a cup of coffee and people would sit outside and talk to others when they passed by. Kids had some organized sports, dance, etc, but the majority of our sports were spent playing with friends in the neighborhood. And, of course, there were no video games, iPads, etc.
  4. Increase in pesticide and weed killer use, both on crops and in yards, schools, etc.
  5. Increased use of antibiotics, both for medical treatments and in animals raised for food consumption.
  6. Increased vaccine use, especially for kids but also for adults.
  7. More processed foods and more chemicals in our food supply. My go-to example is a McDonald's French fry. When I was a kid, they had 3 ingredients- potato, oil and salt. Today they have 19 ingredients ! It looks like the same food as when I was a kid, but the ingredients have changed.

There are more examples, but those are the big ones.

What you can do

Pay attention to how much you are in physical contact with electronics. You can use an Earthing strap or mat when you are spending time on computers or phones/pads. Order at the Earthing Store . Move electronics out of your bedroom, so you can sleep in a healthier environment.

Use essential oils to repel insects. Spray around your home or put some drops on cotton balls and place in cupbords. Wellness Mama has good information here.

Here are some good solutions for weed control .

Eat organic whenever humanly possible. If organic isn't available, avoid these " Dirty Dozen" heavily sprayed foods.

And last, but certainly not least, get together with friends!

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