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The Trees in the Forest

“Oh no, they rushed Harvey to the hospital, they think he’s having a heart attack!” Something dramatic has happened in Harvey’s life, and a complex chain of events set in motion. If he’s lucky, there will be no heart attack, but he will be connected with a doctor who truly understands cardiac risk (is not a reflexive statin prescriber) and is able to analyze the complexity that resulted in the ambulance ride.  The solution might encompass dietary, supplemental, lifestyle recommendations, and maybe a prescription.  (Nice if your “too high cholesterol” responds to a thyroid adjustment rather than a statin! … if your inflammation is actually coming from your gut and not your circulatory system.)

It’s now commonly accepted that heart disease requires a “systems” approach, it’s not a simple fix. 

I imagine you are not surprised to hear me say that the same “systems” approach, a complexity of understanding and protocols, is the wisest approach to any complex health problem. You have to look at the tree not the forest: its root system, sources of light, food, and its environment. And of course we're more complex than trees! (Although if you loved the book Overstory, you might disagree with me.)

Cancer? Of course one might need surgery, and even more radical adjunct treatments to address the cancer, but there is always an underlying story. Is it insulin resistance? Is it stress and sleep loss? Is it a hormonal imbalance?

Diabetes, dementia? You can’t get lost too many times on this website and not know that both conditions can and should be prevented and reversed through diet and lifestyle.

My current pet peeve is “frailty” and the mistakenly simple conventional approach to the problem. We all know serious frailty when we see it (and cringe, fingers crossed for that diminished human body take a walk across the street.)  We may not realize the many ways the body sneaks up on frailty. 

Women are more commonly diagnosed, “Let’s check your bone density.” After menopause, women are advised to be checked within the first few years and thereafter as necessary until the decline merits a “bone-saving” prescription. (Such prescriptions block healthy bone remodeling where your bones remove old and damaged areas, replacing them with newer and stronger bone.) Men are rarely checked for bone density.  Very few, either gender, are advised to check a “muscle density.”

Muscular health is under-rated!! Healthy muscles throughout our body protect us from frailty, and before that they make connections that provide positive feedback to our nervous system and our bony architecture.  We should be asking your muscles, not your pharmacist, to strengthen your bones. And together they make your overall health stronger:  brain, attitude, and metabolic health. 

To learn more, check out my articles on Sarcopenia and Osteoporosis.

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