GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS: Physical distancing is nothing new. Historically, it was the reason for Leper colonies. From our point of view, it’s a pathology prevention method, that’s been used to control our external environment from almost the beginning of time. We’ve found that some common drawbacks of social distancing can include loneliness, stress, the development of poor habits, and loss of personal drive linked to mental and social wellness. During short periods of time, this method can slow the spread of certain pathogens, but care must be made in avoiding other diseases due to bad personal hygiene, while maintaining physical distances from others. The objective is to maintain and even improve your wellness, not to isolate yourself, or diminish wellness due to other unhealthy habits. By keeping our eye on the big picture of increased wellness, physical distancing can become a good thing while avoiding its drawbacks.
ISSUES: Physical distancing is often an unpleasant experience for those who undergo it. We are social animals, some more than others. Successful use of physical distancing as a health measure requires us to reduce, as far as possible, the negative effects associated with it. These negative effects include:
- Spiritual health decline, and a sense of hopelessness, and loss of purpose
- Social health decline, loneliness, and decreased self-image
- Physical health decline, overeating, and a feeling of lost control
- Mental health decline, loss of perspective, defensiveness
- Dissatisfaction with current lifestyle, restlessness, lack of commitment to personal goals
STRATEGIES: Don't settle with survival or maintaining current health, but strive towards increased wellness.
- Conduct a lifestyle assessment. This doesn’t need to be anything fancy. Just take a moment and reflect on your current lifestyle in terms of pathology prevention. Look at each of the 8 Health Guardian’s practices listed on our homepage. You may eventually want to dig deeper and consider every pathology prevention practice, but first only consider the 8. Are you doing everything you can at that level? If not, drill down into and get some ideas for improvement.
- Create a check list, and try to view yourself through the eight perspectives of psychology. Remember to claim extra sleep during time of emotional stress.
- Go for walks, wave to people, participate in your community, cherish your humanity.
- Leverage technology where you can, and when you need to, but put extra effort into visiting people from a distance.
- Practice caregiving, serve others.
INTERACTIONS: Expect seemingly unrelated difficulties. We live in a complex system, when we make changes, we’re bound to cause unexpected results. Make time to deal with these changes. Other people may not understand, you may have to explain your behavior to people that you’d think new better. Stay calm, soon, the correct expectations will evolve into status quo and your social norm.
WARNINGS: Physical distancing is about change for most people. You may receive resistance; the clearer you can be with your expectations, the more success you'll be. However, there are times you may run into difficulties. Don't be afraid to get professional help if you need to.
Water Purity means “not harmful.” Scientists and technologists cannot impose solutions on citizens which guarantee water purity. Water policies need to be based on sound science and evidence to be successful. Consumers, citizens, politicians, scientists, and the Health Guardian must all work together to achieve success.
Healthy water is used for drinking, recreation, sanitation and hygiene, agriculture, industry, and medical practices. Getting enough water every day is important for your health. Healthy people meet their fluid needs by drinking when thirsty and drinking with meals. Most of your fluid needs are met through the water and beverages you drink. However, you can get some fluids through the foods that you eat. For example, broth soups and foods with high water content such as celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, or melons can contribute to fluid intake.
The Health Guardian is concerned about the purity levels of water, and maintains the healthy water levels used by the body for lubricating cartilage found in joints and the disks of the spine. Long-term dehydration can reduce the joints' shock-absorbing ability, leading to joint pain.
Healthy water helps form saliva and mucus. Saliva helps us digest our food and keeps the mouth, nose, and eyes moist. This prevents friction and damage. Drinking water also keeps the mouth clean. Consuming water instead of sweetened beverages, can also reduce tooth decay.
Healthy water delivers oxygen throughout the body. Blood is more than 90 percent water, and blood carries oxygen to different parts of the body. It also boosts skin health and beauty. With dehydration, the skin can become more vulnerable to skin disorders and premature wrinkling.
Healthy water cushions the brain, spinal cord, and other sensitive tissues. Dehydration can affect brain structure and function. It is also involved in the production of hormones and neurotransmitters. Prolonged dehydration can lead to problems with thinking and reasoning. Water helps regulate body temperature. Water that is stored in the middle layers of the skin comes to the skin's surface as sweat when the body heats up. As it evaporates, it cools the body. Some scientists have suggested that when there is too little water in the body, heat storage increases and the individual is less able to tolerate heat strain. Having lots of water in the body may reduce physical strain, if heat stress occurs during exercise.
The digestive system depends on access to healthy water. The bowel needs water to work properly. Dehydration can lead to digestive problems, constipation, and an overly acidic stomach. This increases the risk of heartburn and stomach ulcers. The digestive system flushes body waste. Water is needed in the processes of sweating and removal of urine and feces. It also helps maintain blood pressure. A lack of water can cause blood to become thicker, increasing blood pressure.
Our airways need healthy water as well. When dehydrated, airways are restricted by the body in an effort to minimize water loss. This can make asthma and allergies worse. Water also makes minerals and nutrients accessible to the rest of the body. These dissolve in water, makes it possible for them to reach different parts of the body. Healthy water helps prevent kidney damage. The kidneys regulate fluid in the body. Insufficient water can lead to kidney stones and other problems. It boosts physical performance during exercise. Some scientists have proposed that consuming more water might enhance performance during strenuous activity. It has been shown that dehydration reduces performance in activities lasting longer than 30 minutes.
Healthy water may also help with weight loss, if it is consumed instead of sweetened juices and sodas. "Preloading" with water before meals can help prevent overeating by creating a sense of fullness. When drinking lots of alcohol, water also reduces the chance of a hangover, and unsweetened soda water with ice and lemon alternated with alcoholic drinks can help prevent an overconsumption of alcohol.
Air-quality becomes a health factor as soon as it’s inhaled. Think of breathing as just another form of eating. Our lungs, like our stomach, are the principle organs used to ‘digest’ the air we breathe and feed our bloodstream. Air-quality, like nutrition, directly impacts our health status, acute and chronic decease severity, and successful pathology prevention efforts. An estimated 4.2 million premature deaths globally are linked to ambient air pollution, mainly from heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, and acute respiratory infections in children. Pollutants with the strongest evidence for public health concern, include particulate matter (PM), ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and Sulfur dioxide (SO2).
The health risks associated with smaller particulate matter are especially well documented. These are capable of penetrating deep into lung passageways and entering the bloodstream causing cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and respiratory impacts. The Health Guardian follows formal decision-making practices to maintain a healthy environment of ambient air in which we live, exercise, and work. Environmental factors impacting air-purity include outgassing of soils and water, crops and other vegetation, man-made materials (such as buildings and cars), farm and domestic animals, wildlife, and climate. Air-purity does not recognize boundaries. Thus, air particulates and toxic gases originating in one home, place of work, city, state, or nation routinely drift to other regions, worsening existing air quality problems. A problem in managing air quality is that unlike the food groups, generally we cannot see air. For example, gaseous pollution is usually invisible, and fine particulate air pollution is much too small to see with the unaided eye. Indoor air quality such as found in offices, factories, homes, schools, and hospitals can even be more of a concern. Many people spend most of their time indoors, and indoor air quality can be an even greater concern than outdoor air.
A cell is a system as well as a functional unit of life. Some organisms made up of just one cell are called unicellular (e.g. bacteria and protozoans), but animals, including human beings, are multi-cellular. An adult human body is composed of about 100,000,000,000,000 cells! Each cell has basic requirements to sustain it, and the body's organ systems are largely built around providing the many trillions of cells with those basic needs (such as oxygen, food, and waste removal).
There are about 200 different kinds of specialized cells in the human body. When many identical cells are organized together it is called a tissue (such as muscle tissue, nervous tissue, etc). Various tissues organized together for a common purpose are called organs (e.g. the stomach, the skin, the brain, and the uterus).
Ideas about cell structure have changed considerably over the years. Early biologists saw cells as simple membranous sacs containing fluid and a few floating particles. Today's biologists know that cells are inconceivably more complex than this. Therefore, a strong knowledge of the various cellular organelles and their functions is important to every Health Guardian. If a person's cells are healthy, then that person is healthy. All physiological processes, disease, growth and development can be described at the cellular level.
Although there are specialized cells - both in structure and function - within the body, all cells have similarities in their structural organization and metabolic needs (such as maintaining energy levels via conversion of carbohydrate to ATP and using genes to create and maintain proteins). The Health Guardian can leverage these commonalities and needs while addressing chronic illness and pathology prevention.
Some of the different types of specialized cells within the human body include:
- Nerve Cells: Also called neurons, these cells are in the nervous system and function to process and transmit information (it is hypothesized). They are the core components of the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves. They use chemical synapses that can evoke electrical signals, called action potentials, to relay signals throughout the body.
- Epithelial cells: Functions of epithelial cells include secretion, absorption, protection, transcellular transport, sensation detection, and selective permeability. The epithelium lines both the outside (skin) and the inside cavities and lumen of bodies.
- Exocrine cells: These cells secrete products through ducts, such as mucus, sweat, or digestive enzymes. The products of these cells go directly to the target organ through the ducts. For example, the bile from the gallbladder is carried directly into the duodenum via the bile duct.
- Endocrine cells: These cells are similar to exocrine cells, but secrete their products directly into the bloodstream instead of through a duct. Endocrine cells are found throughout the body but are concentrated in hormone-secreting glands such as the pituitary. The products of the endocrine cells go throughout the body in the bloodstream, but act on specific organs by receptors on the cells of the target organs. For example, the hormone estrogen, acts specifically on the uterus and breasts of females because there are estrogen receptors in the cells of these target organs.
- Red Blood Cells: The main function of red blood cells is to collect oxygen in the lungs and deliver it through the blood to the body tissues. Gas exchange is carried out by simple diffusion.
- White Blood Cells: Are produced in the bone marrow and help the body to fight infectious disease and foreign objects in the immune system. White cells are found in the circulatory system, lymphatic system, spleen, and other body tissues.
Calcium serves as an extracellular cation that regulates nerve transmission, muscle contraction, bone metabolism, and blood pressure regulation and is necessary for blood clotting. Calcium is regulated by parathyroid hormone (PTH), calcitonin, vitamin D, and phosphorus. Through a complex system of regulation among multiple organs, including the kidney, GI tract, and bone, calcium absorption can be enhanced to increase calcium reabsorption to maintain homeostasis. When serum calcium levels are low, PTH causes release of calcium from the bones and stimulates increased absorption from the GI tract. Calcitonin works in the opposite direction, while phosphorus inhibits calcium absorption in the GI tract. Oral calcium supplements are most often the first-line therapy in the absence of symptoms. Because other hormones, electrolytes, and vitamins are involved in calcium regulation, these are assessed in the setting of true hypocalcemia. Low phosphorus and magnesium levels must be restored before calcium levels can be corrected.
Sodium (Na+) is the major cation of extracellular fluid. Secretions such as bile and pancreatic juice contain substantial amounts of sodium. Gastric secretions and diarrhea also contain sodium, but contrary to common belief sweat is hypotonic and contains a relatively small amount of sodium. Sodium is also important in neuromuscular function and maintenance of acid-base balance. Exportation of sodium from the cell is the driving force for facilitated transporters, which import glucose, amino acids, and other nutrients into the cells.
Magnesium is the second most prevalent intracellular cation. Approximately half of the body’s magnesium is located in bone, whereas another 45% resides in soft tissue; only 1% of the body’s magnesium content is in the extracellular fluids. Magnesium (Mg 2+) is an important cofactor in many enzymatic reactions in the body and is also important in bone metabolism as well as central nervous system and cardiovascular function. Many of the enzyme systems regulated by magnesium are involved in nutrient metabolism and nucleic acid synthesis, leading to the body’s need to carefully regulate magnesium status.
Phosphorus is the primary intracellular anion and its role in adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is vital in energy metabolism. In addition, phosphorus is important in bone metabolism. About 80% of the body’s phosphorus is found in bones. Large amounts of free energy are released when the phosphate bonds in ATP are split. In addition to this role, phosphorus is vital for cellular function in phosphorylation and dephosphorylation reactions, as a buffer in acid-base balance, and in cellular structure as part of the phospholipid membrane. Because of the vital role that phosphorus plays in energy production, severe hypophosphatemia can be a life-threatening event.
Approximately 98% of Potassium (K+) is in the intracellular space, K+ is the major cation of intracellular fluid. Potassium functions with sodium, it is involved in maintaining a normal water balance, osmotic equilibrium, and acid-base balance. In addition to calcium, K+ is important in the regulation of neuromuscular activity. Concentrations of sodium and potassium determine membrane potentials in nerves and muscle. Potassium also promotes cellular growth. The potassium content of muscle is related to muscle mass and glycogen storage; therefore, if muscle is being formed, an adequate supply of potassium is essential. Potassium has an integral role in the Na/K-ATPase pump.
Acid-base disorders can be differentiated based on whether they have metabolic or respiratory causes. There are four main acid-base abnormalities: metabolic acidosis, metabolic alkalosis, respiratory acidosis and respiratory alkalosis. It is important to characterize the type of acid-base disorder because this will dictate the treatment and response, or “compensation” mechanism enacted by the body. When an acid-base imbalance occurs, the body attempts to restore the normal pH by developing an opposite acid-base imbalance to offset the effects of the primary disorder, a response known as compensation.
Compensation does not always occur; and when it does, it is not completely successful (i.e., does not result in a pH of 7.4). The pH level still reflects the underlying primary disorder. Clinicians must distinguish between primary disturbances and compensatory responses because treatment always is directed toward the primary acid-base disturbance and its underlying cause. As the primary disturbance is treated, the compensatory response corrects itself. Predictive values for compensatory responses are available to differentiate between primary acid-base imbalances and compensatory responses.
Regardless of the disorder, the Health Guardian directs the treatment at the underlying cause and uses supporting information from the medical history, current clinical condition, medications, laboratory values, intake and output records, and physical examination to determine the cause of any Acid-Base imbalance. The Health Guardian and other primary team members play an important role in understanding the physiologic process and how it relates to regulation of an acid-base balance. Adjustments to the nutrition care plan related to acid-base balance can help restore cell physiology and prevent future pathologies.
GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS: Health agencies worldwide recognize that, for threats such as new influenza strains, Coronavirus, SARS and Ebola, hygiene is the first line of defense during the early critical period before measures such as new vaccination can become available for the masses. This includes physical distancing as hygiene.
Antibiotic resistance is now a global priority. Hygiene addresses this problem by reducing the need for antibiotic prescribing and reducing the “silent” spread of antibiotic resistant strains in the community and hospitals. As persistent nasal or bowel carriage of these bacterial and viral strains spreads in the healthy population, this increases the risk of infection from these new and resistant strains of pathogens, in both hospitals and the community.
The good news is that it’s in our control to mount the first line of defense, making time for health agencies to provide additional lines of defense. This is a team effort, but it begins at the individual level, family, and community levels.
ISSUES: Targeted hygiene means recognizing that the main sources of harmful microbes and viruses are not places which are ‘dirty’, but in contaminated air, surfaces, food, and water, domestic animals (pets), and people who are infected or are healthy carriers of potentially harmful microbes and viruses. Since the presence of these potential sources of infection in the home is inevitable, this means that the only way to protect ourselves from infection is by preventing the spread of harmful microbes and viruses from these sources.
- NUTRITION The better you eat, the stronger your immune system can become. Herbal remedies can empower and strengthen the immune system and other organ systems in your efforts of pathology prevention.
- SLEEP Don’t dismiss the value of sleep, especially when talking about viral infections such as the common cold and the flu.
- STRESS During the challenging times before ‘official’ ways of combating infection are established, stress levels typically rise. Use good stress management practices and participate in emotional and spiritual activities.
- EXERCISE If you don’t have daily exercise yet, consider private walks or hikes, calisthenics, and yoga in the home can all provide plenty of health building exercises. Remember, those white blood cells critical in the immune defense come from your healthy bone marrow.
- HERBAL BLENDS Herbal remedies can strengthen the immune system, and the other organ systems, including the interrelationships between them to fortify your home efforts of pathology prevention.
STRATEGIES: Targeted hygiene also means recognizing that the times or situations when harmful microbes and viruses are most likely to be spread i.e. during food handling, using the toilet, coughing, sneezing, nose blowing, caring for domestic animals, handling and disposing of refuse, or where a family member is infectious and is shedding infectious microbes or viruses into the home environment by vomiting or diarrhea, or by touching foods or hand contact with surfaces.
In short, getting people to adopt targeted hygiene means getting them to visualize the chain of infection, and understand that targeted hygiene for pathology prevention is about breaking that chain.
Habits and lifestyles may need to change as we must rely more on controlling our environment through hygiene, and less through commercial drugs. Clean hands are essential in breaking the chain of infection. If done incorrectly, hand washing may not provide any protection. Reviewing the 6 steps of handwashing at targeted times throughout your day could save yours, and the lives of your loved ones.
INTERACTIONS: Be ware, interactions are important to us all, but each person we come into contact with could be a pathogen carrier. Beware, interactions are important to us all, but each person we come into contact with could be a pathogen carrier. Pathogens can impact and cause unbalance in all your organ systems. The best defense is a holistic approach to pathology prevention provided by our herbal infusions in conjuction with a targeted hygiene approach.
WARNINGS: Maintain the proper physical distance. Ware facemasks when appropriate. Washing hands is critical, but it can be over done and cause burns and abrasions, use a mild soap.
Mammals’ experiences – our experiences – can cause hormones to be released in our bodies, and these molecules can then move into the vicinity of DNA, where they can produce epigenetic effects. Our environments also influence our internal states by stimulating our sensory organs; seeing and hearing, for example, both produce changes in our bodies that can have epigenetic consequences.
Because stimulation arising in the environment can affect biological activity at several levels – at the level of the neurons in our sensory organs, at the level of the hormones in our bloodstreams, at the level of genes in our cell nuclei - an essential part of how we come to be as we are, will always be what we experience, that is, in contexts that our minds, bodies, cells, organs, and genes find themselves in.
Hierarchical systems are partially decomposable. They can be taken apart and the subsystems with their especially dense information links can function, at least partially, as systems in their own right. When hierarchies break down, they usually split along their subsystem boundaries. Much can be learned by taking apart systems at different hierarchical levels—cells or organs, for example—and studying them separately. Hence, systems thinkers would say, the reductionist dissection of regular science teaches us lots. However, one should not lose sight of the important relationships that each subsystem to the others and to the higher levels of the hierarchy, or one will be in for surprises.
If you have a liver disease, for example, a doctor usually can treat it without paying much attention to your heart or your tonsils (to stay on the same hierarchical level) or your personality (to move up a level or two) or the DNA in the nuclei of the liver cells (to move down several levels). There are just enough exceptions to that rule, however, to reinforce the necessity of stepping back to consider the whole hierarchy. Maybe your job exposes you to a chemical that is damaging your liver. Maybe the disease originates in a malfunction of the DNA.
A system, such as the body and the organ systems, isn’t just any old collection of things. A system is an interconnected set of elements (such as organs, tissues, cells, and cell organelles), that is coherently organized in a way that achieves something. A system must consist of three kinds of things: elements or subsystems, interconnections, and a function or purpose. For example, the elements of your digestive system include teeth, enzymes, stomach, and intestines. They are interrelated through the physical flow of food, and through an elegant set of regulating chemical signals. The function of this system is to break down food into its basic nutrients and to transfer those nutrients into the bloodstream (another system), while discarding unusable wastes.
Is there anything that is not a system? Yes—a conglomeration without any particular interconnections or function. Sand scattered on a road by happenstance is not, itself, a system. You can add sand or take away sand and you still have just sand on the road. Arbitrarily add or take away football players, or pieces of your digestive system, and you quickly no longer have the same system. When a living creature dies, it loses its “systemness.” The multiple interrelations that held it together no longer function, and it dissipates, although its material remains part of a larger food-web system. A system is more than the sum of its parts. It may exhibit adaptive, dynamic, goal-seeking, self-preserving, and sometimes evolutionary behavior.
You can see from these examples that there is an integrity or wholeness about a system and an active set of mechanisms to maintain that integrity. Systems can change, adapt, respond to events, seek goals, mend injuries, and attend to their own survival in lifelike ways, although they may contain or consist of nonliving things. Systems can be self-organizing, and often are self-repairing over at least some range of disruptions. They are resilient, and many of them are evolutionary. Out of one system, other completely new, never-before-imagined systems can arise.
Think about this. How does the Health Guardian know whether they’re looking at a system or just a bunch of stuff: A ) Can you identify parts? . . . and B) Do the parts affect each other? . . . and C) Do the parts together produce an effect that is different from the effect of each part on its own? . . . and perhaps D) Does the effect, the behavior over time, persist in a variety of circumstances?
A system’s function or purpose is not necessarily spoken, written, or expressed explicitly, except through the operation of the system. The best way to deduce the system’s purpose is to watch for a while to see how the system behaves. Keeping sub-purposes and overall system purposes in harmony is an essential function of successful systems, and in turn the function of the Health Guardian. A system generally goes on being itself, changing only slowly if at all, even with complete substitutions of its elements—as long as its interconnections and purposes remain intact.