Treat Common Health Conditions – Endocrine System and Immune-System Disorders
Endocrine System Disorders
The endocrine system consists of important organs and glands that produce powerful hormones that are involved in a wide range of functions. Because of its extensive connections, the endocrine system may become imbalanced and dysfunctional as the result of underlying problems elsewhere in the body. For example, nutritional and metabolic problems can affect the endocrine system, and vice versa. The most common endocrine disorder is diabetes, which is a derangement of sugar or glucose metabolism, usually caused by insulin deficiency.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a relatively new disorder that is more common in women and also is somewhat baffling to treat by conventional medical practices. Experts who specialize in the treatment of the disorder believe exhaustion of the adrenal glands may be an important factor. Prolonged stress and a lack of rest appear to be major factors in chronic fatigue syndrome. Many patients with this syndrome report extreme fatigue after living hectic, fast-paced lives, in which the pressures that surround them are enormous and they haven’t rested or relaxed for many years. When the body is under considerable stress and lacks quality sleep and rest, it is only natural that it will suffer from a lack of energy and eventually become fatigued.
With chronic fatigue syndrome, there may other concomitant problems, such as yeast infections and fibromyalgia, in addition to accompanying depression and other psychological factors that further deplete physical energy and prevent the condition from healing sooner. Psychological factors might include the fear of getting well and becoming overwhelmed again by the demands of work and other responsibilities. These factors may serve as impediments to the healing system’s ability to do its job in a timely and efficient manner. To prevent this from happening, and to work with your healing system to restore natural health and energy, it is imperative to incorporate adequate sleep and rest into your lifestyle; focus on a healthy, wholesome diet; drink plenty of fluids; practice stress management; and participate in a regular physical exercise and movement program.
There are several ways to classify diabetes and the stages of this ill-ness. The two main types of diabetes have traditionally been broken down into Type I, juvenile onset, insulin-dependent diabetes and Type
maturity onset, or adult diabetes, which often starts out as non-insulin dependent, but may become insulin dependent over time. Insulin dependent refers to the need to inject insulin from a syringe into your body to help bring your blood sugar under control.
The danger of high blood sugar, which is the common denominator of all types of diabetes, is that it can damage blood vessels in the eyes, causing blindness. It can also damage the kidneys, causing kidney failure, and contribute to other problems, such as nerve damage, and chronic skin ulcers on the feet and ankles, as well. There also is a strong associated risk of heart disease in people who suffer from diabetes.
Adult, or maturity onset, Type II diabetes has been traditionally linked to obesity, a diet high in sugar, and a lack of exercise. It also appears to be related to stress, depression, emotional upheaval, and unresolved grief, conditions that influence personal health habits and diet, which in turn significantly influence the course of this disease. Although some researchers have tried to link this form of
diabetes to genetic causes, the evidence clearly points more toward lifestyle factors, including stress and diet, since this type of diabetes is rare in developing countries, but on the rise in Western countries. The good news is that this type of diabetes can be reversed when you catch it early and apply methods that work with your healing system.
The juvenile form of diabetes, Type I, occurs at a much younger age and can often be severe. In the past, many experts believed that juvenile diabetes was an autoimunune illness triggered by a virus or another infection, but newer research points toward stress and deranged mind-body interactions that occur during periods of intense emotional upheaval in the individual or family, or during gestation. This changed perspective is due in part to the discovery that insulin communicates directly with the brain and is now classified as a neuropeptide or neurotransmitter, rather than as a pure hormone. The current view is further based on the scientific observation that more insulin can be found at any one time in the brain than in any other organ or structure in the body.
Newer treatments for diabetes that address the underlying causes, rather than merely manage the symptoms, involve methods that work with your healing system. These treatments include eating a proper diet, getting adequate exercise, practicing stress-management techniques, drinking plenty of water, taking natural medications, and addressing the deeper emotional, mental, and spiritual factors that may be driving this unhealthy condition. These strategies are obviously more effective if they are instituted in the early stages of the illness. Insulin may be required until these other methods are well established, but a large number of patients have successfully weaned themselves from insulin dependence in a relatively short period of time. During my tenure as a medical student more than 20 years ago, getting patients off insulin was considered an impossibility. If diabetes happens to run in your family, focus on incorporating preventive strategies before the illness has a chance to surface in your body.
Thyroid dysfunction is more common in women than in men, and it occurs fairly frequently. It occurs in several forms, most commonly hypothyroidism, or low production of the thyroid hormone,
which usually requires supplementation. When low thyroid function is corrected with thyroid hormone replacement, there is an increase in metabolism, greater energy, improved mood, and loss of weight. These are desirable qualities for an overweight person who may suffer from fatigue and depression, but the long-term effects of supplementing with thyroid hormone when it may not be absolutely necessary are unknown.
Additionally, because the thyroid gland is under the domain of the pituitary gland, which is under the domain of the hypothalamus and the brain, thyroid dysfunction usually indicates problems higher up the chain of command, which need to be addressed if one is to get to the root of the problem. Unfortunately, Western medicine usually ignores these underlying causes in the treatment of thyroid conditions.
In many cases, you can support your healing system by address-ing the underlying factors that may be responsible for thyroid dysfunction, such as stress, dietary imbalances, lack of exercise, and an unhealthy lifestyle. Implementing the methods that strengthen and fortify your healing system, as shared in previous posts, can be most helpful.
Very little was known about the powerful and sophisticated intricacies of the immune system before the onset of the devastating AIDS epidemic. We still have a long way to go, but, because of AIDS and the HIV virus, today we know much more than ever before.
Every person is created as a unique individual and as a result may have specific sensitivities to certain substances or environmental conditions. These sensitivities, if prolonged or pronounced, can develop into an allergy. The most common types of allergies affect the skin and respiratory system, and we have already discussed those under these separate headings.
Allergies are often system specific. This means that only one system at a time may be sensitive to a particular substance. For
example, if dust is breathed into the lungs, the dust may cause coughing, wheezing, and a runny nose, but if it is placed on the skin, dust may not cause any reaction at all. A substance that causes an allergic rash may not cause any reaction whatsoever when it is placed on the skin, chewed, swallowed, and eaten.
To overcome allergies in general, focus on building up the health of the specific system that is affected by the allergy. Employ the methods discussed in previous posts that strengthen and fortify your healing system as it relates to the affected system.
Chemical and Drug Allergies
Chemical and drug allergies are common with medications and in medical settings. These include allergies to medicines such as penicillin and other antibiotics; mineral dyes, such as iodine; and other drugs or chemicals. These allergies may show up in the form of a skin rash, or they may even result in a serious, life-threatening situation.
Effective conventional medications are currently available to help manage and suppress the acute symptoms of allergy from what-ever cause. For long-term treatment, however, it is better not to suppress your symptoms, but instead to work with your healing system to overcome the allergy. You can do this by carefully observing how your body interacts with each and every suspected allergen in your environment. Even though discovering the true source of any allergy may require a bit of tedious detective work, if you cooperate with your healing system in this manner, sooner or later you will be able to identify the offending agent, take precautions to avoid further exposure or contact with it, and eliminate its unhealthy influence on your body.
Food allergies are less common than those of the skin and respiratory system. Food allergies include conditions that may not be true allergies, such as lactose intolerance, one of the most common of all suspected food allergies. With lactose intolerance, the body lacks a specific enzyme and is simply unable to digest foods that contain lactose, which is a simple sugar found in dairy products. This enzyme is lacking in the majority of people from the Orient and
many other parts of the world. In fact, lactose intolerance is not a true allergy but merely a normal variant found in certain ethnic groups. Many other suspected allergies have similar stories.
Many synthetic chemicals used in industry are harmful and irritating to the human body. Because new synthetic chemicals are continuously being introduced into our food supply, it is not surprising to find that food-related allergies are becoming more common. To minimize the risk of exposure to such allergens, it is important to know exactly what you are introducing into your body when you eat. Variety is the spice of life, but to avoid food allergies, avoid foods with chemical additives whenever possible.
Cooperate with your healing system by eating foods from organic and natural sources that are free from chemical pesticides, pollutants, and additives. You can also work with your healing system to keep your digestive system free from irritating and toxic substances by consuming plenty of fluids and fiber, and practicing good intestinal hygiene.
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
AIDS is an example of what can happen to your body when the immune system is impaired. When the immune system is compromised, your body can become afflicted by organisms that cause infections and disorders that, under normal circumstances, would not occur.
Where the HIV virus initially came from is still controversial, but it is clear that those whose immune systems are already impaired and worn down are at higher risk. This virus can be found among people with multiple sexual partners, repeated intravenous drug use, or poor personal health habits.
AIDS is entirely preventable by practicing safe sex, abstaining from illegal intravenous drug use, and avoiding blood transfusions from unknown sources. The additional good news is that many people currently afflicted with HIV are learning to work with their healing systems to improve their health. This approach includes concentrating on healthy diets, drinking plenty of fluids, exercising, practicing stress management, including visualization/imagery techniques, and relying on natural medicines and modalities that support the rebuilding and restoration of the immune system. Many people with HIV are now symptom free, and, in selected cases, a complete conversion from HIV positive back to HIV negative has been reported.
In the beginning much shame was associated with HIV infection, but those with this condition who are able to love and accept themselves, and to open up to the loving support that is available from their families, friends, and communities, seem to have the greatest success in dealing with this difficult problem. As infected individuals learn to strengthen, fortify, and cooperate with their bodies’ healing systems, it is highly likely that this disease will one day be declared completely curable, as has happened with other dreadful diseases from the past.
Anaphylaxis is a less common but more serious form of an allergic reaction that can occur with bee, wasp, and other insect stings; jelly-fish stings; and bites by other venomous animals. Anaphylaxis also can occur as a reaction to other substances, including pharmaceuticals.
Keeping your mind calm and relaxed is critical in the early stages of severe allergic reactions that might possibly become anaphylactic reactions. Remaining calm is essential because psychological factors such as stress, anxiety, and tension can increase the symptoms. Stress management and breathing techniques can be helpful for anaphylaxis, but, as explained in an earlier post, it is best to learn these techniques before any medical emergency occurs. To prevent anaphylaxis, be careful with new foods, especially when you are traveling, and exercise caution when you introduce new drugs or substances into your body.
This rapidly growing category of illnesses describes conditions that occur as a result of a derangement in the immune system that causes it to attack normal body tissues. Illnesses in the autoimmune disease category include rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, lupus, Sjogren’s syndrome, scleroderma, and multiple sclerosis, among many others. Some researchers feel that viruses and certain bacteria can trigger the immune system to attack normal body tissues, but new research suggests that these conditions represent complex mind-body interactions because they almost always worsen during times of stress. Behavioral scientists also believe that autoimmune dysfunction may be a reflection of deep-seated hostility, self-hatred, or resentment that causes elements of the immune system, acting under orders from the brain, to inadvertently attack the body. These scientists believe that self-destructive thoughts, if persistent and prolonged, can lead to physical self-destruction through powerful neurochemicals released from the brain. As the eminent cardiologist Dr. Robert Eliot said, “The brain writes prescriptions for the body.” It is becoming increasingly clearer over time that this is indeed true, so this current perspective is not an unreasonable explanation for the origin of many difficult-to-treat autoimmune illnesses.
Ankylosing spondylitis is a severe form of arthritis of the spine. Stress and emotional trauma appear to worsen this condition. conventional treatment is largely focused on suppressing the symptoms, and it is not very effective. Working with methods that support your healing system, such as stress management, gentle yoga stretching, and a wholesome, natural diet, can be extremely helpful for this condition. In his best-selling book Anatomy of An Illness, Norman Cousins described his journey of complete recovery from an advanced case of ankylosing spondylitis. He attributed his success to learning to use the powers of his mind and body while he incorporated other, simple, natural methods, including large doses of vita-min C and laughter, which activated his healing system to overcome this autoimmune disorder.
In her groundbreaking book Who Said So? A Woman’s Fascinating Journey of Self Discovery and Triumph over Multiple Sclerosis, Rachelle Breslow documented the mind-body factors that contributed to her own case of multiple sclerosis. She was told by her conventional doc-tors that her condition was incurable, but she proved them wrong. By learning to work with her healing system, eating a healthy, whole-some diet, incorporating stress-management strategies and positive mental programming, and initiating other beneficial lifestyle changes, she was eventually able to overcome this so-called incurable disease.
These strategies are entirely consistent with a comprehensive pro-gram based on the principles of working with the body’s healing system, and they demonstrate what is also possible for you.
Autoimmune Disorders and Your Healing System
In addition to the experiences of Rachelle Breslow and Norman Cousins, there is now growing evidence, from both clinical case reports and laboratory data collected from various research programs around the country, that immune function, operating under the direction of the brain and nervous system, is strongly influenced by your thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, and emotions. By learning to harness these forces in a constructive way, you may be able to activate your healing system and overcome any one of a number of diseases with suspected autoimmune origins.
Strategies that may be effective for autoimmune disorders include the following:
- Mind-body strategies, including visualization and guided imagery
- Stress-management techniques
- A wholesome, healthy diet
- Release of unhealthy emotional baggage
- Group support
- Strengthened social intimacy
By incorporating these strategies into your life, you can work with your healing system to significantly increase your chances of overcoming autoimmune disorders.