How to Make Disease Disappear
How much do I want to read more? 8/10
Wow a book about health that really speaks to me. The author went from classic medicine to one that is less "mechanical", to respect the interaction of all our body parts.
I definitely can benefit from reading this book for my own health. It's making me aware of the importance of taking care of my health.
In the United States today, a new generation of children has been born that has a lower life expectancy than the generation before it.
Chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, depression and dementia are today the nation’s leading causes of death and disability.
Half of all American adults currently suffer from a chronic disease, with one in four people suffering from two or more.
they’re an illusion. These diseases are not the inevitable result of aging. They are not simply our genetic fate or our destiny. We do not have to suffer needlessly. The truth is these diseases don’t really exist, at least not in the way we think they do.
I was just managing disease or simply suppressing people’s symptoms.
on December 28, 2010, a turning point came. That was the day my son nearly died.
My son had been a little phlegmy.
I heard her shout: “Rangan! He’s not moving!”
I lifted him out of Vidh’s arms, turned him over and slapped him over the back in an attempt to clear his airway. But nothing happened. “Rangan, he’s not choking,” said Vidh. “We need to go to the hospital.” My son’s arms were stretched out, his body was rigid, his eyes stared vacantly.
“Dr. Chatterjee, your son’s calcium levels are very low. In fact, he has almost no calcium in his body at all. He experienced a hypocalcemic convulsion. We’re going to give him some intravenous calcium.”
It was an entirely preventable vitamin D deficiency.
Untreated—especially in children—vitamin D deficiency can lead to painful and permanent damage including deformities to the bones.
I’d finally learned to resolve the root cause of their problems, rather than simply suppressing their symptoms.
What I’d learned, in a way that I hadn’t fully grasped before, was that acute disease and chronic disease are entirely different things. Acute disease is something that, as doctors, we’re pretty good at. It’s relatively simple. You have something like pneumonia, a severe lung infection—so in your lung you have the overgrowth of some bugs, typically a type of bacteria. We identify the bacteria and we give you a treatment, typically an antibiotic that kills it. The bacteria die and, hey presto, you no longer have your pneumonia. The problem is, we apply that same thinking to chronic disease, and it simply doesn’t work.
As you become a more seasoned and accustomed drinker, you need more and more alcohol to have the same effect, and that’s what’s going on with insulin.
When the insulin can no longer keep your sugar under control, despite its best efforts, we say you’ve got a disease, type 2 diabetes. However, things will have been going wrong in your body for many years before that.
not just diet. work stress, emotional stress, physical stress.
They can all raise levels of cortisol in your body, which raises your sugar, which in turn can contribute to insulin resistance. It could also be sleep deprivation. In some, losing one night of sleep can trigger as much insulin resistance as six months on a junk food diet. It could be age. The muscle mass we naturally lose as we get older can also cause insulin resistance.
if we don’t address all the causes for that particular patient, we’ll never get rid of their disease.
The problem with the way we think about health and practice medicine is this: we forget that the human body is one big connected system. If it starts being treated poorly in one area, by bad diet or lack of sleep, problems can emerge in another part of it, often emerging as a so-called chronic disease.
Then, if a patient presents with depression, we’ll prescribe an antidepressant. But depression can just as easily be driven by poor diet or high stress levels.
It’s the same with a condition like eczema. Doctors all too often just prescribe a steroid cream for the rash, but the rash is only a symptom. There’s very little awareness that the causes of eczema are many, and that it may be triggered by an over-reactive immune system that may itself be caused by food choices or abnormalities with gut bacteria.
A human being is a highly evolved biological mechanism that’s completely, what I call “massively,” interconnected. Because of this, a symptom in one domain might actually have a cause way upstream, in an area of the body that our medical training just doesn’t tell us to look in.
Because everything in our bodies affects, to a greater or lesser degree, pretty much everything else, we need to take a much more global view.
How are they sleeping? How are they eating? Do they sit behind a desk for hours a day not moving? Are they constantly on their phones?
The massively connected system that is in the human body can deal with multiple insults in various places—up to a point. And then the system breaks down, often with a new problem in some distant part of the system..
Something essential also comes from hearing a patient’s individual story. I believe the most skilled and effective healers are the ones who listen.
You can get data to show black is white and white is black. You can manipulate trials and data to say what you want.
I have written this book to provide a simple, actionable plan to help you take control of your health.
The tools in this book may seem simple and even somehow “unmedical,” but don’t be fooled—they will have a profound impact on your biology. They’ll make a difference—to your hormones, to your inflammatory cytokines, to the level of reactive oxygen species in your blood, and on and on.
This is real medicine that is targeted especially to our unprecedented epidemic of lifestyle illnesses; you can’t expect to avoid the deadly diseases that have taken so many millions of lives if you continue living without it.
How to Use This Book
The idea is to create balance across all the pillars—it is not about perfection in each individual one.
I would much rather you score 2 in every pillar.
- Fifteen minutes of me-time every day: Yes
- Weekly screen-free Sabbath: No
- Keep a gratitude journal: No
- A daily practice of stillness: No
- Eat one meal per day around a table—without an e-device: Yes
- De-normalize sugar (and retrain your taste buds): Yes
- Eat five different vegetables every day: No
- Eat your food within a twelve-hour window: Yes
- Drink eight glasses of water per day: Yes
- Unprocess your diet by avoiding food products with more than five ingredients: No
- Walk 10,000 steps per day: No
- Twice a week, do a form of strength training: No
- Twice a week, do a form of high-intensity interval training: No
- Daily movement snacks: No
- Daily glute exercises to help wake them up: No
- Create an environment of absolute darkness: Yes
- Spend at least twenty minutes outside every morning: Yes
- Create a bedtime routine: Yes
- Manage your commotion: Yes
- Enjoy your caffeine before noon: Yes