Our self-abuseBy Philip Chua
Cebu Daily News
MAN’S natural instinct and normal automatic response to any possible harm is to protect itself, to ensure well-being and self-preservation.
When we accidentally touch something hot, it is our instantaneous reflex to pull our hand away, without thinking, without conscious thought processes.
While we, humans, have been endowed with intellect, abstract thinking, and the power reasoning and expression, making us superior to animals, these creatures around us appear to have more sense than some of us in certain aspects of our two distinct lives.
A good example of this the animals inherent abhorrence for tobacco and its smoke, and for alcohol, two of the major causes of common illnesses and killers among humans, emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart ailments, liver cirrhosis, and cancers of the lungs, esophagus, breasts, colon, pancreas, prostate.
In general animals, especially alligators and crocodiles have around 9000 black spots or domes (ISOs, integumentary sensory organs) on their head, face, jaws that are ten times more sensitive than human fingertips, which help them detect unsafe food or water to drink. Even dogs and cats can detect unsafe liquids and stay away from them.
Man, with his well-developed brain, who knows the danger of tobacco and alcohol abuse, nevertheless continue to poison himself with these substances. While alcoholic beverages, like wine, specifically red wine, like Pinot Noir, has high contents of resveratrol, which is cardio-protective and healthy for the body in moderate amount, its abuse is likewise a great risk to health and life. While wine or liquor or beer are reasonably not dangerous in disciplined consumption, tobacco, no matter how little, even one stick of cigarette a week or a month is a risk to health and could still cause cancer, cardiovascular, pulmonary and metabolic diseases.
Damage to our DNA
Recent studies have shown that our previous understanding that smoking took years to hurt our body is wrong. Now, it is known that a few seconds after the tobacco smoke is inhaled, it already starts to cause instant damage to our DNA. This is true for the smoker as well as for the people around him/her, who become victims of passive smoking.
Our DNA is very sensitive to insults and abuses brought about by our habits, behavior, the food we eat or liquid we drink, sedentary life (lack of exercise), unmanaged stress, not to mention our very polluted environment, air, water, ultraviolet sun rays through the damaged ozone layer.
Our cruelty to Mother Earth
The ozone layer, which protects us from the harmful rays of the sun by acting like a shield or filter has been weakened by man’s cruelty and hostility to mother earth, through most irresponsible disregard for ecology. Chemical pollution of the air from car emissions and poisonous factory smokes, burning forests, contamination of our river, lakes, and oceans from chemical waste from industrial companies, massive deforestration which also displaces and kills wildlife, our severe dependence on the regular use of chemical cleaning (all are toxic!) agents at home, all of which go down the drain, to our sewer, to our rivers, etc…
Besides abusing ourselves, we are also uncaring and hostile towards the only planet, the single safe haven, the only home we have at this time.
Our actions, habits and behavior, our lifestyle, and the corresponding impact on our body and on our environment become a vicious circle, over and over, as we and our planet both get sicker and sicker.
Telomeres: Key to aging and longevity
All those senseless conditions of neglect or impunity, courtesy of us, Homo Sapiens, as we alluded to earlier, negatively affects chromosomes (the double-stranded molecules of DNA, where our genes are located at the center of the nucleus of each cell). At the ends of the chromosomes are stretches of DNA called telomeres, which protect genetic data, enabling the cells to divide normally to replace dying ones for rejuvenation. Telomeres are like the plastic tips of our shoelaces; they prevent the ends of the chromosomes from fraying and sticking to one another, which would scramble the normal and distinct genetic data of the person and cause cancer, other illnesses, or death. As the DNA gets damaged and the telomeres get shorter, so do the health, well-being, youthfulness, and longevity of the individual.
Deaths hardly reduced by medical advances
Unfortunately, in spite of the mind-boggling advances in medical science and technology gifting the world with cutting-edge medical diagnostic and therapeutic armamentaria the past six decades, we still have massive epidemics of obesity, high blood pressure, heart attacks, stroke, lung diseases, Alzheimer’s, etc. amidst us. The worldwide prevalence of these illnesses are still very high, and the mortality rates from these epidemics (actually pandemics) are killing us at this rate: about 1.78 (nearly 2 persons around the world) die every second, 107 a minute, 6,300 per hour, 153,000 die each day, or 5.6 million a year.
As we have stated in our coffee-table book, Let’s Stop “Killing” our Children, published in the USA last year, and available today at Central Book Supply and National Book Stores in the Philippines, we have a “failed health strategy and disease prevention the past sixty years around the world, including in the United States and in the Philippines.”
We used that title as a metaphor to state the message that anyone, governments, society, parents or guardians, who do not positively contribute to the health, well-being, and longevity of children as they grow to adulthood, are short-changing them and shortening their lives. Also, most diseases known to man today are preventable, including cancer, as we have explained in the book, which contains practical tips and pointers how not to fall victims to these major deadly illnesses. The most effective strategy is to start the protection at the cellular, the DNA level, in the womb, and to initiate the dieting in the crib. The book explains all this, in easy to understand layman’s term, with evidence-based medical data.
Governments, society, we, parents, who allow and expose our children (and ourselves) to unhealthy items (cigarettes, dangerous energy drinks, junk foods from hamburger/French fries stands, processed foods, soft drinks, unsafe food supplements and herbals, etc) are in essence contributing to cause diseases and “killing” our children and ourselves.
While our great grandparents and grandparents may not have been well-informed and had an excuse, we, today, in this information age and advanced internet technology, are well-aware and more educated about health and disease prevention and have no excuse. We really ought to know better, and should be wiser, than to be careless, indifferent, and abuse our body and induce diseases, by programming our mindset and system to a slow-suicide mode.
Let us love and respect our Mother Earth and our body, the only pair we’ve got, and revitalize that natural instinct of conscious protection and self-preservation. Promoting ecology and healthy lifestyle could still save our planet and our legacy for the future generations of healthier children and mankind as a whole. Let us stop contributing to the destruction of our life and of our planet. Let that begin today!
For a gift of health, please visit www.philipSchua.com
More from this Column:
- Practical health tips
- Hydrophobia: Rabies
- Can one get AIDS from toilet seats?
- How much sex is safe?
- Exercise, vegetables: Anti-cancer