This is not the first time I’ve gotten on a soapbox about how human physiology and disease does not respect the “specialist” boundaries we have created in orthodox, Western medicine.
Cardiology, dermatology, gastroenterology, endocrinology, neurology, obstetrics, orthopedics, urology, nephrology… You get the picture. The entire body has been broken up into specialties. And family practice, pediatrics and internal medicine are merely there to try to funnel out problems to the correct specialty. It’s a mess, with no respect for the inter-connectedness of the human body.
Every single system interacts with every other one. Even bone, that we used to view as a stagnant tissue that merely acted as an anchor for bones, is now realized as an extremely active tissue that is affected by gut health and, in turn, affects your risk of diabetes. In case you’re keeping track, that relationship alone cut across 3 specialties, neither of which views his or her area of expertise in the context of the other.
Until we back up and begin to realize and act like every system interacts with all the others, we will continue to be stuck in this mess of multiple chronic diseases all managed independently.
Here’s the good news: prevention cuts across all disease states and systems. Let me clarify–lifestyle prevention does this. Using the medical term of “prevention” would include approaches like statins to lower heart disease risk. This version of prevention is just short of worthless and certainly does not cut across multiple organ systems.
So why the diatribe?
Of course it relates to this particular study. Researchers looked at the American Heart Association ideal health / cardiovascular metrics and looked at how they related to developing cancer. These metrics include:
- Ideal BMI
- Healthy diet index
- Physical activity
- Total cholesterol
- Blood pressure
- Fasting blood glucose
Overall, these metrics are really pretty bottom of the barrel. They are very basic requirements and far short of the lifestyle recommendations that I recommend (that can be found by downloading my ebook by clicking here). Despite how basic they are, here is what researchers found:
- Those with at least 6/ 7 ideal health metrics had a whopping 51% lower risk of cancer compared to those with 0/7 metrics.
- A paltry 2.7% of the population meets these simple goals.
- Smoking played a large role in the overall risk (about 26% of the risk).
Slashed the rates of cancer in half. Keep in mind that these are all modifiable risk factors. Kind of begins to blow the heart disease and cancer is related to genetics thing, huh?
Can you begin to see how much lower the risk could go if we achieved these 7 metrics and more? If you look at these metrics, as I mentioned, they are really the most simple and basics of lifestyle changes.
The bottom line? If you’re on your way to heart disease, cancer is likely brewing somewhere in your body as well.