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Your Health At Your Fingertips: A Simplified and Holistic Approach to a Healthy and Bountiful Life

Your Health At Your Fingertips: A Simplified and Holistic Approach to a Healthy and Bountiful Life

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Your Health At Your Fingertips: A Simplified and Holistic Approach to a Healthy and Bountiful Life

198 pages
2 hours
Nov 30, 2013


Man kinds “are wonderfully made”. This book wants to help the readers to either remain healthy or get their health back or improve it the way it should be. Here are the major objectives of this book:
1-raise awareness about the importance of being healthy
2-provide key information to help understand the issue of life
3-vulgarize the cardinal causes that affect our health
4-provide a framework for approaching the topic of healthy living
5-put an emphasis on prevention vs. reaction to medical conditions
Overall, this book wants to empower every reader to make the right choice to stay healthy or to address health issues through a holistic / integrative approach to medicine.
Nov 30, 2013

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Your Health At Your Fingertips - Jean Daniel Francois, MD



Fundamental Principles of Life

Because all living beings are mortal,

We are never too young to be interested in finding the secret of a lasting enjoyable life.

Chapter I

What are the major factors that affect life?

Life and death play a dangerous game of hide and seek. They are mutually exclusive. However, ultimately death has the upper hand. Furthermore, once death conquers, life cannot return, whereas where life is, death can still continue to target it throughout its existence. Therefore, life - as the most precious gift ever - requires vigilance, a constant fight, a daily struggle to sustain it and keep death at bay for as long as possible until we find a formula for its complete eradication.

Although the prenatal period is crucial for survival, as soon as the baby gives his first cry into this world, death throws its tentacles to see if it can devour him. It watches every little detail to see if it can find a favorable moment, a weak link to go through and engulf him. This is why all kinds of challenges start from the minute of birth until last breath. The length of the period between life and death depends on how vigorous, and how well our body and mind cooperate to fight wholeheartedly an unfair battle that we must overcome. Fortunately, most of us are born with all that is necessary to fight the good fight and stay alive and healthy. The key is to keep at it and to do our best.

Obviously, an ideal environment will not condone illnesses. However, exposures to physical, chemical, biological risk factors and radiation, as well as physical, social, mental, religious, cultural, economic and political factors will affect the health condition of living beings. We need a careful management of the environment; this includes waste management, air and water quality, sanitation and hygiene, safety, preparedness for various types of disasters. We need clean air, safe drinking water, stable climate, and a stable environment to develop growth and mature fully. People need proper lighting, ventilation, ecology, ethics, stability, security and a minimum of comfort to blossom.

We also know that genetics play a role in many diseases such as Coronary Artery Disease, Diabetes, Hypertension, Asthma, and High cholesterol. Therefore, if one or both parents have the disease, there is an increased risk for you to have it too. Various factors do play a significant role in affecting the average life span of people.

Although the list is not likely to be exhaustive, the principal factors that affect human life include the following:

A)Time: The concept of time tends to be naturally overwhelming because we came into this world and we find time expanding, we are likely to go out of this world leaving time pursuing its independent course without any mercy. Actually, our own life is defined in function of the limited time allotted to us. We are just a dash between two dates. This may make us feel trapped in our period of life. Such an approach is not profitable to anyone. Because the time for us to analyze such a concept will never be enough, what do we do? We do the best with what we have. Because we do not know when we are going to die, we need to be wise enough to live everyday fully by making the most out of every opportunity we get. The aging process is universal and unavoidable.

B) Environment: Initially, the word environment evokes the idea of the natural world in which plants, animals and human beings evolve. However, in the context of this book, it is the totality of external factors, the circumstances surrounding the life of organisms. This includes physical, social, cultural, political, and religious factors that influence the nature, growth, development and survival of organisms, individuals as well as communities. There is potentially a direct impact of the environment on the quality of life of people.

In fact, according to the World Health Organization, almost a quarter of global disease is caused by environmental exposures. Environmental risk factors somehow contribute to over eighty percent of the one hundred and two major diseases followed by the World Health Organization.

Among the factors that can affect life we can include: chemical agents (heavy metals, pesticides, persistent organic pollutants), and other mixtures, air pollution indoors and outdoors, ultraviolet radiation, damage / erosion of the ecosystems, unclean water, climate change, electromagnetic radiation (electric & magnetic field), . The appropriate environment does not depend solely on a single determinant. However, it is clearly established that environment affects the quantity and the quality of life.

C) Genetic diversity: Although scientists are still working on a complete human genome reference sequence, it has become a well known fact that all living organisms have a genetic code that is made up of four possible bases (denoted as: Adenine, Guanine, Cytosine, and Thymine). There are about 45,000 protein-coding genes found in 46 human chromosomes (2 sex chromosomes and 22 pairs of autosomal chromosomes).

We often hear people say I have good genes. Well, the genes are composed of Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) that make proteins that combine in different manners to give a particular amino acid (there are 22 amino acids each one is represented by a three-letter sequence called codon). Based on their combination, we have the various parts of the human body. Therefore, if the combination is altered, or if there is any change in the normal DNA sequence, we wind up with a genetic disorder. A genetic disorder can be caused by different reasons.

1) Mutation in a single gene: Monogenic disorders. We obtain our genes from our parents. Because of mutation in one or both chromosomes (one from each parent), we are born with some diseases such as Sickle Cell disease, Cystic Fibrosis, or Polycystic kidney disease. Depending on whether or not the diseases gene is inherited from both or one of the inherited parental chromosomes, you wind up with dominant or recessive diseases

2) Mutations in multiple genes (various changes in different genes): Multi-factorial inheritance disorder

3-Combination of factors such as damage chromosomes, gene mutations and environmental factors.

Overall, all pregnancies have some risk of genetic disorders. This explains why prospective parents need to be informed about possibility of hereditary abnormalities going from one generation to the next generation, or due to exposure to drugs, chemicals, and radiation, behavioral or other factors that may cause genetic alterations in the baby.

D) Diseases: According to World Health Organization (WHO), an average of 55 millions of people die annually worldwide. Among the diseases, we can include various infections, heart diseases, cancers (relating to different causes, including tobacco, chemical products, and pesticides), strokes, suicide, accidents and violence occupy the top of the list. In the United States, WHO 2000 statistics revealed that Americans die earlier and spend more time disabled Disability Adjusted Life Expectancy (DALE) acknowledges a correlation between the average numbers of years that people live and their diet, education and health care.

E) Age: Ageing is a complex process during which a series of changes is occurring inexorably even in the best condition with its physiological and pathological implications. Once there is life, the biological clock starts ticking and scientists have not yet been able to find a way to slow that process, reverse it or better yet, prevent it. Ageing impact has many factors including physical, physiological, mental, and sexual. Although the process does not manifest itself the same way universally, the fact is everybody has his share in growing old.

F) Gender: Because we are not living in a perfect world, because the situations are not ideal, every gender has its advantages and its disadvantages. When it comes to human nature, there are biological, physiological and behavioral differences between men and women. There are also socio cultural differences imposed on each of the two sexes. Certain behaviors are expected from men, and certain manners are condoned among women. If man enjoys certain physical attributes such as strength, at the end of the game, men die much earlier than women. Regardless of the country or the population, the difference goes in the amount of years. Is it because of their lifestyle, their adventurous behavior, chromosomal differences, and the number of X chromosomes, level of metabolism, sex hormones, (testosterone vs. estrogen), genetic predisposition, and health...? There are quite a few theories out there, as to what makes women outlive men. The jury is still out. The research is to be continued. Nevertheless, it is a fact; women’s life expectancy is superior to the men’s average life span. This does not mean that one gender is healthier than the other one. Each gender, each individual reveals variability in his or her disease patterns.

G) Race: Based on the data collected, there is a difference in the average life expectancy based on race. Minority groups in general fair worse than the majority groups. There are various reasons postulated to try to explain the gap, including poor health, lack of education, level of social and economic development, discrimination, social pressures, stress and practices. Is it psychosocial? Is it genetic? Is it environmental? Is it a combination of many factors? Only time will tell.

H) Living condition / Economics and Education: Obviously individual choices have a significant impact on one’s health and success in life. Nevertheless, depending on our financial situation, our neighborhood, and our level of education, our quality of life will be positively or negatively affected. Many studies happen to support a direct or indirect link between our living condition, our level of education, our financial situation and our overall well-being. For instance, living in a clean home free of lead paint, mold, pest infestation, or dust, along with healthy nutrition and health conscious choices is conducive to a personal healthy lifestyle. By the same token, it is also important to take into consideration the type of housing, its location, whether or not its neighborhood is well kept devoid of noxious influence, pollutions, drugs, crime, inadequate schools, or lack of transportation. Many researchers agree that a safe neighborhood with appropriate convenient socio economic resources available such as gym, quality schools, adequate transportation, security, stability, trust, employment opportunities, and good role model with a sense of belonging tends to have a positive impact on its residents. Whereas kids who grow up living in unsafe housing with environmental exposures to toxic substances and pollution, exposed to drugs, violence, vandalism, litter, unhealthy food choices, residential segregation have a diminished opportunity to make good choices, develop safe habits, and make healthy choices.

I) Habits: Obviously, being alive is a great privilege. It is a precious gift that all normal beings must cherish. Unfortunately, our choices, our actions do not always express our appreciation. Early in life, we begin to develop some habits that are based on what we have learned by words, deeds and environment. Those habits determine our life and influence the outcome of our destiny. If one becomes addicted to drugs, practices vices, is lazy, has poor sleeping habit, poor diet, procrastinates, spends what he does not have, is pessimistic, arrogant, irresponsible. He is harboring bad habits. He is going to harvest disaster and destruction.

Generally, reckless behavior is not conducive to a respectable, healthy, happy and prosperous life. On the other hand, being positive, motivated, disciplined, goal oriented, persevering, grateful, generous, courageous, and health conscious is part of the good habits that will have a positive impact in one’s life in general, and his life span. The equation for the quality and the quantity of our life has quite a few unknowns, but the known factors include our types and level of activities, our behavior, our lifestyle, our attitude, our living conditions, our spirituality, our nutrition and our culture.

From childhood to adulthood, we learn many things that establish the disposition of our character. Through learning and repetition, we develop a pattern of behavior that becomes automatic. Once the brain has stored the pathways of some given patterns, we act as if we were on autopilot, cruising seamlessly without effort. This is what we call habit—another us, our second nature. Habit is relatively stable and molds our lives in various domains.

More often than we desire, we acquire bad habits along with the good ones. It is not easy to get rid of these bad habits. Scientists and philosophers have offered techniques to help us develop stronger and more rewarding habits to replace the bad ones. These techniques include the use of certain patterns of intellectual behavior or habits of mind (discussion, dialogue, communication, perspective, analysis, imagination . . .). It takes one habit to replace another.

Once we want to live a healthy and more meaningful life, we must decide to actively seek to form new and good habits; we must keep repeating the new choices over and over. We must imitate good examples and progressively learn to establish a new way of life. Through conviction, determination, practice, adaptation, repetition, self-awareness, relocation, counseling, concentration, and motivation, eventually the appropriate choices should become more prevalent if not automatic like reflexes.

Human beings are born to have healthy and bountiful lives. Our habits play a definite role in attaining such a goal. The key is to eliminate the bad habits, replace them with good habits, stay focused, keep a clear perspective, and keep a close watch on what we feed our mind, our character, and our environment.

J) Character and Personality: The ways we are perceived as well as our behavior do play a significant role in our journey through life. Although character and personality tend to be used interchangeably, in reality, they are not the same. The former (character) is what identifies us, what we want to become as we mature in life. It is molded based on our educational formation, our culture, our values, our experiences in life. It can reveal villainy or sublimity. It is a reflexion of

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