Wednesday, July 29, 2015

How To Live A Longer And Healthier Life

Over the past 70 years Medical Science has extended our life span more than any other time in human history. More people are living longer into their eighties and nineties now than ever before.

Yet we cannot escape confronting the paradox that the longer we live the more sicker we become, and the more need we have for the products of Medical Science.

Who are the winners in this paradox? Certainly we are not, since the more medications and surgeries we buy the more of them we need. 

This is not to say a longer life is bad in itself, but are we getting the bang for our bucks in terms of the quality of life? 

I will venture to say a longer life is worth living if it brings some measure of happiness to its owner, or a strong desire to live, in order to accomplish something purposeful for himself, his family, or humankind.

Without happiness, or a strong desire to live, the only reasons a person would want to live into his eighties and nineties would be the assurance that he would be free from pain and debilitating illness.

While Medical Science has been successful in managing age related pain, and the symptoms of debilitating illnesses, the root causes of these maladies still remain, so much that pain and debilitating illnesses have now become the distinguishing features of a longer life.

We can do better than look forward only to pain, debilitating illnesses and frequent visits to our doctors offices as we get older. And we can do this looking no further than our own bodies to unlock the secrete to longer and healthier lives.

You have to make minor changes in your lifestyle though, and these are essentially improving the quality of the air you breath, eating a healthy diet, and regular physical exercise. 

You can improve the quality of the air you breath by staying away from chemical polluted areas, including cigarette smoke. For a healthy diet, look no further than choosemyplate.gov for helpful information. As for doing regular exercise, you must be convinced it is beneficial to your health and longevity.

The air you breath brings oxygen into your body, food and drinks provide you with nutrients, and regular exercise improves your blood circulation to deliver oxygen, nutrients, hormones and enzymes to your cells to properly perform their metabolic functions to keep you healthy.

It's important to know this because the fluids, tissues and organs in your body are made of cells. Without cells, life and the human form could not exist. And according to the best available estimates, there are about 37 trillion cells in your body, stringed together to give life and form to you. 

To show how effective your cells work to keep you healthy, and prolong your life, let's take a look at how your cells repair the mucous membrane on the roof of your mouth or palate when part of it is damaged.

Like me, you may have had the experience of getting the mucous membrane on your palate burned by drinking tea, coffee, or eating a piece of food that was hotter than you thought. For several days you will feel pain on your palate when you drink or eat anything hot or spicy.

Made of a top layer of epithelial cells over a layer of connective tissue, the mucous membrane provides excellent protection for your palate. When burned, the flesh of your palate is exposed to whatever you put in your mouth, creating a breeding ground for bacteria, infection and pain.

The good news is that you are not the only one aware of the burn in your mouth, your mucous membrane cells are also aware, and have already began replacing burned dead cells with new life cells to protect the flesh of your palate from bacteria growth and infection.

So long as you keep your mouth clean with daily tooth brushing and mouth wash, the number of bad bacteria in your mouth will be kept at a minimum, to allow your cells to repair the damage to the mucous membrane.

The life cells in and around the edges of the burned area of your mucous membrane will send out distressed chemical signals in the form of interferon. This is a group of signaling proteins recognized by the cytokines, which are the intercellular signaling molecules of your immune system.

On receiving the signals from the interferon, the immune system will dispatch phagocytes, as well as B and T lymphocytes cells to identify and destroy bacteria, and remove the remains of dead cells from the burned area on your palate.

With the burned area free of bacteria and dead cell remains, your mucous membrane cells will begin replicating themselves to construct a new layer of mucous membrane to seal off the burned area, thus preventing pain and infection on your palate.

This is the great story of the human body. The metabolic processes that created the new mucous membrane to seal off the burned area on your palate occurred without medication or surgery. Your body healed itself because your cells were healthy enough to do so.

The Amazing Human Cell

As I mentioned before, there are about 37 trillion cells in your body, categorized according to the fluids, tissues and organs they give life and form to. Thus, we have blood cells, mucous membrane cells, brain cells, heart muscle cells and so on.

The functions of these categorized cells are to repair, grow, protect and maintain the health and functionality of their host fluids, tissues and organs. In this way, your heart muscles cells can give your heart life and the ability to pump blood through out your body.

The mucous membrane cells were the engineers that constructed the new mucous membrane to replace the burned mucous membrane on your palate. And your brain cells give you the ability to think, communicate with your family and friends, and avoid walking off a cliff.

Having read this, you can now appreciate the enormous responsibility placed upon your cells to keep you healthy, happy and safe. Yet, we are too preoccupied with the intricacies of life we barely realize that life itself depends on the cell for its existence.

In fulfilling their responsibility, your cells have been successful because they operate like factories with specialized bio-machines called organelles which enable your cells to receive oxygen, nutrients, hormones and enzymes to produce various types of proteins to repair, grow, protect and maintain themselves in perfect working condition.

For example, your brain has about 100 billion cells. They need adequate oxygen, nutrients, hormones and enzymes to maintain themselves in perfect working condition, and in turn enable your brain to perform the functions for which it was created.

But of course, things don't always go smoothly in the real world. Brain cells are damaged as we get older, they are damaged by the ingestion of harmful drugs and chemicals, and by trauma from bodily injury. When brain cells are damaged they can cause debilitating ailments like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

Happily, it may come as news to you that the brain cells do replicate like cells in other parts of the body, contrary to conventional medical wisdom which has held for centuries that we are born with a fixed number of brain cells, and once a brain cell dies we lose it forever. 

The good news came when researchers at Cornell University in New York succeeded in growing brain cells in a laboratory dish. This has raised the possibility that brain cells could be grown in the laboratory and used to replace damaged brain cells in the body.

Not only that, but there is also the thinking that under the perfect condition healthy brain cells within the body could replicate themselves to replace damaged or dead brain cells to reverse the progression of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, or at least ensure that the effects of these diseases are not debilitating.

While our cells are designed to keep us healthy and strong, they are sometimes overwhelmed by the magnitude of the damage done to the body organ, as a result of carelessness on our part, or the intake of unhealthy foods, drinks and harmful drugs.

In the case of a heart attack, major damage has already been done to the coronary arteries that supply the heart muscles with blood and oxygen to the extent that the endothelial cells charged with the responsibility of keeping the lumen of the coronary arteries free of blockage are overwhelmed by cholesterol (LDL) and oxidative stress.

When a heart attack has occurred, the affected person should be quickly taken to the hospital for immediate medical attention. Depending on the nature of the heart attack, he may be given an antianginal drug to reduce the heart muscles oxygen demand by lowering his heart rate.

He may be given a thrombolytic drug if the coronary artery blockage is caused by a blood clot. A stent may be implanted in the lumen of the coronary artery to keep it open to allow blood flow to the heart muscles. In severe cases, a coronary artery bypass graft may be done.

The lesson we should learn from a heart attack, cancer or any other life threatening disease is that we cannot rely on our cells to heal us when we are already in an advanced diseased condition. The function of the cell is to maintain good health by preventing the body from becoming infected by diseases in the first place.

Although in some cases, under certain favorable conditions, diseases like cancer and AIDS may go into complete remission with no symptoms or sign to indicate the presence of the disease. 

This is nothing short of a miracle, because cancer and AIDS are death sentence diseases. When they disappear suddenly, the most plausible explanation is that the body's immune cells captured and destroyed them. 

You can begin right this moment reducing your risk for heart attack, cancer or any other debilitating disease by staying away from carcinogenic environmental pollution, including cigarette smoke, by eating a balanced diet (choosemyplate.gov is recommended), and talking with your doctor about choosing a regular physical exercise routine suited to your age and health condition.

If you implement these 3 recommendations, you will protect your cells from ferocious attacks by free radicals. Your cells will get the right types of nutrients they need to maintain themselves. Your blood circulation will improve to deliver the oxygen, nutrients, hormones and enzymes your cells need to thrive and keep you healthy into your eighties and nineties.

You will then succeed in turning the paradox we started with on its head. The longer you live the more healthier and stronger you will become relative to your age, and the less time you will spend in your doctor's office, and more time with your grand children, and really begin enjoying your golden years.

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