Health isn't just about curing ills, its about taking care of ourselves
Modern medical research is all about risk and probabilities.
The search for a magic serum or miracle pill has long been surpassed, for economic reasons if no other, with a serious consideration of how our behaviours impact our health.
That doesn't mean we should ignore treatments. Prevention can't always be the cure.
It was revealed this week that asthma treatments are costing the health service over £1.1 billion every year.
More than 18 million people are receiving some sort of medical therapy or medication for the condition with over 270 admissions to hospital each day.
Official figures show that around 3 people each day die from asthma attacks in the UK.
The tragedy is that the condition is very treatable if diagnosed early enough.
There are many factors that cause asthma, which is actually more of a description of symptoms than any identifiable infection or disease.
Asthma is caused by the inflammation of the bronchi, the tubes which carry air to the lungs which can be the result of allergies to anything from dust mites to pollen and animal fur or a reaction to exercise and increased activity.
Bronchitis itself can also be caused by infections or the degradation of the respiratory system through long term exposure to industrial dust and chemicals, smoking, or just the ageing process.
Add to these the millions of sufferers from hay fever and other allergies who can experience breathing difficulties and it's clear to see why there is a huge interest in any therapy that can provide relief from breathing difficulties.
That’s why thousands of people each year travel to the Carpathian Mountains in Transylvania and seek out the mineral-enriched air in the salt mines carved over centuries into the rock.
The active ingredients in the minerals actually soothe inflamed airways and open them up to make breathing easier.
It is even known to reduce snoring and provide relief for long suffering partners.
It’s totally natural and safe with no side effects or chemical by-products.
You can try it for yourself in the comfort of your own home in the simple form of a clay pipe into which you place the salt.
The lasting effect of what we eat on our health is often simplified into the battle to stay trim and avoid obesity.
But obesity is only one danger of an unhealthy diet and many people with the metabolism to process foods more easily can remain thin and lean and yet still suffer from cardiovascular problems and even diabetes.
Other factors like genetics and environmental influences can have a greater impact than personal lifestyle, but since that is the only risk over which we can exert any real or immediate influence it is still worth being aware of the links between food and health.
Two important research papers published in the past week neatly illustrate the point.
The first will come as a great comfort to those who have already fallen prey to cardiovascular disease.
In a major study out of Italy researchers were able to determine that a radical change of diet, in this particular case to the Mediterranean diet, could have a sizeable impact on survival rates even after the onset of a heart condition.
In fact they found that the impact of diet was considerably greater than the most common pharmaceutical solution currently applied by most cardiac specialists.
In the second study, emerging from a San Francisco research institute, existing research data was combined and examined to determine the impact of various global cuisines on the incidence and onset of dementia.
As the global population ages, health authorities around the world are being forced to face a rising number of cases of Alzheimer’s’ and other forms of dementia.
Dementia has overtaken other causes of death for women in England and Wales.
This important study concentrates on the potential for diet to reduce the risk of dementia by comparing the impact of a variety of local cuisines on their population.
It will probably be no surprise to anyone that the high fat, high meat content of western style food choices is by far the worst performer; the exception being the Mediterranean diet.
The best results, however, came out of the Asian traditions.
There’s no guarantee that you’ll live longer, or even avoid dementia in later life.
But it might be worth considering.
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