If you were to ask 10 people what health means to them you would likely get 10 different answers. Even dictionaries cant agree. Merriam-Webster defines health as: 1) the condition of being sound in body, mind, or spirit 2) freedom from physical disease or pain 3) the general condition of the body. The World Health Organization adopted this definition in 1948: a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Even this definition has been subject to controversy, in particular as lacking operational value, the ambiguity in developing cohesive health strategies, and because of the problem created by use of the word “complete”.
More likely than not each one of us has our own definition or picture of health. To some it may be weight, to others be blood pressure measurements or the physical appearance. We may not be able to agree on the definition. but one thing is certain that health begins at the cellular level. If the cells that make up your body are not functioning correctly or the parts of the those cells are weak or damaged your heath begins to suffer. We seem to have a difficult time grasping this concept. We look for the immediate fix or something we can see like physical appearance or a number. But unfortunately many of the things that ail us are not visible to the eye until it is to late. How many of us know or have known someone that despite not eating well, smoking cigarettes and drinking too much was thin and by appearance alone seemed to be healthy. Until they saw a doctor or in the case of a good friend of mine had a Heart Attack. We should all be aware by now we can not rely on appearance for a measure of health.
Another misconception of health is one that I have heard many times over the years is “Well it doesn’t really matter what I do because Diabetes, Heart attacks, High blood pressure, High cholesterol, Arthritis, etc runs in my family its genetic”. Or even worse “One of my grand parents or parents smoked until they were 80-90 and they never got cancer”. In 2003 the Human Genome project was completed. Of the many amazing things that were learned over the 20 years of research is that only about 5% of the diseases we as humans suffer from are truly due to our genetic make up. The other 95% we do to our self’s. Now a little clarification on that. In the roughly 23,000 genes we inherited from our parents their we could have been given some coding that will predispose us to diseases. Here is the amazing part we were also given a mechanism by which the gene expression of our DNA can be turned on and off or even up and down like a dimmer switch. This is our Epigenome. This we do have control over. At first this may seem far fetched to some. This is one of the areas where our old belief system is no longer serving us and is actually hurting us. Our Epigenome is where we can take control of our health in order to optimize it so we can live up to our full human potential. This is where an Epigenetic Health Coach can help.
Another area of our health that goes untalked about is our microbiome. Call it an undiscovered ecosystem if you will, that was discovered with the Human Genome project is our microbiome. Not many of us when asked what is health would even consider the trillion microbial cells that live on us and in us. In order to have complete health we can not forget about our microbiome. Our Microbiome are the tiny microscopic living organisms that live on our skin, in our eyes, mouths and in our intestines. We have evolved to live with about one trillion microbe cells just in out gut. That includes anywhere from 500 to 2000 species of bacteria. Collectively this organism or biome lives with us and helps us digest food, resist disease, and counter a host of other diseases. To get a better idea of the impact this system has on our bodies consider these numbers. Our bodies are made up of 23,000 human genes and we harbor over 1 Million bacterial genes. Under a microscope only 2.3% of our genes are human. Are you starting to see why we need to consider this biome (ecosystem) when we are talking about our health. When this system becomes unbalanced or disrupted it can lead to many different human disorders. Here are few that we know of Digestive disorders, Crohn’s, obesity, malnutrition, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, Alzheimer’s, Multiple sclerosis, cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis and cancer. This has to be a topic when we are talking about our Health.
Mental, social and environmental issues can no longer go ignored either when we are discussing health and longevity. As we can see their are many factors to our health. Most of which are going on without our notice, and for the most part ignored by our so called healthcare system until it is to late. You don’t have to wait until symptoms show before action can be taken. Knowing your Genetic make up is the first step. You can get this done at home with no wasted time in a waiting room to see a Doctor, needles or blood work. If you already have a 23 and me report all you have to do now is find a Certified Epigenetic Coach.
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