The subject of stress and disease is very interesting. In the late 1800's and early 1900's, the leading causes of death in the world were from infectious disease such as tuberculosis, influenza, diphtheria, and polio.
Over the years, doctors and scientists have developed vaccinations and/or cures for the majority of these types of illnesses because these conditions were not directly caused by the links between stress and disease and so, in the industrialized parts of the world, these diseases no longer pose the type of threat they once did.
Unfortunately, as time has gone on, new diseases have taken their place. Now, it's chronic degenerative diseases that are the leading cause of death and if they don't kill you, they will, surely, destroy your quality of life. I am speaking about stress related illnesses, such as Cancer, Diabetes, Arthritis, Asthma and Heart disease, of course.
Unfortunately, in the new world of stress and disease, these new diseases are not nearly as easily solved as the infectious diseases of days gone by.
In the old days, scientists we were able to get smart enough to invent a cure or treatment, but those days are gone. There may come a time when geneticists are able to determine the specific gene or gene combination that is causing one disease or another, but millions, if not billions, more will die before medical science gets that far along in their research and discovery process as it relates to chronic degenerative disease.
As it stands today, there are more than 200 different chronic degenerative diseases that are known in today's world with no clear end in site for ways to solve the suffering they cause. Stress and disease could be the most difficult challenge of them all.
Earlier I listed some of the more famous illnesses caused by the direct link between stress and disease, but how about some of the lesser known versions, such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus, macular degeneration, and multiple sclerosis.
In each case, the disease affects a certain part of the body. For example, with diabetes, it is the pancreas that breaks down and no longer functions correctly; with asthma, it’s the lungs that breakdown; with arthritis, it’s the joints that begin to malfunction.
The sad thing is that the average person cannot name even 10 of the major chronic degenerative diseases that may eventually affect either themselves or someone close to them. Apart from the simple names of diseases, few people know very much about the history of disease or about the links between stress and disease at all. I know this because I once did a survey at a fall fair to see how much people knew about the diseases that are killing them. The lack of knowledge and awareness in the general population was amazing.
Doctors and scientists and pharmaceutical companies, the world over, work feverishly to develop treatments and medicines and cures for all the new illnesses that seem to pop up each and every day. Nothing chemical-oriented seems to have a lasting impact. Many medical professionals feel very helpless when faced with patients who have acquired these killer diseases.
Many people say that chronic degenerative diseases are diseases of choice. By this I mean that people literally choose these diseases by their lifestyle choices. These days, it's up to the individual to make different lifestyle choices if they want to get well and stay well.
The cynical people will say that if people changed the way they live and made better choices, then stress and disease would not be a problem. They would not get sick and die from these types of diseases.
For example, not too long ago, many people believed that if you didn't smoke you wouldn't get cancer, or if you didn't eat too much sugar, then you wouldn't get diabetes, or if you watched your cholesterol then you couldn't get heart disease. These simple analogies simply don’t go into enough depth in understanding chronic degenerative diseases (CDDs).
There is some truth in the idea that CDD's are diseases of choice. People have to make the choice to change their lifestyles. They have to kick out stress and take back control of their health and their lives, because we all know, even with the extensive knowledge that doctors and scientists have about the history of disease, it really hasn't made much difference.
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