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What causes sickness and how to never get sick

Table of Contents

Why do we get sick?

Any disease is caused by our inability to adapt to what’s happening to us — pressure at work, pollution, stress, etc. Our ability to adapt depends on our physical fitness, nutrition, and mental health.

Welltory will help you change your lifestyle and boost your ability to adapt to external stressors. Unfortunately, there is one factor we have no control over — our age. It’s the main reason we get sick. Aging is a set of changes that happen at the molecular and cellular level. It leads to all kinds of malfunctions and a decline in organ activity.

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As we get older, it becomes harder to adapt to internal and external stressors. This is why we’re more susceptible to getting sick. That means that all diseases are different types of aging. Our body is also under a lot of stress when we’re young, but is able to recover quickly. This ability is reduced over time. Natural death occurs not because we stop functioning completely, but because recovery from different stressors is no longer possible.

What does this mean? Instead of curing diseases, we need to look for ways to stop aging. If we treat aging like a disease and run clinical trials accordingly, we will be able to significantly improve health and increase life expectancy.

How to stop aging?

Experiments show that we can slow down aging by reducing calories (1, 2), preventing the development of insulin resistance, tracking sleep and nutrition, intellectual and physical activity, medication (geroprotectors) (1), gene and cell therapy, hypoxic training, periodic fasting, and growth factor therapy.

The most effective ways are slowing down metabolism and fighting off damaging factors — oxygen starvation and oxidative stress.

1. Slowing down metabolism. The speed of cell division depends on the speed of metabolic processes. To prolong our lifespan, the metabolism needs to be as slow as possible. You can achieve this by reducing the number of calories you consume. Exclude simple sugars and all stimulants (like alcohol and caffeine) and boost your fitness level so that your resting heart rate and body temperature decrease. Some medications might help

2. To prevent oxygen starvation, you need to improve microcirculation

  • Exercise every day
  • Grow muscle tissue to expand your capillary network
  • During the day, get some physical activity every 40-45 minutes
  • Increase your stress resistance to decrease the frequency of adrenaline-induced vasoconstriction
  • Minimize the consequences of stress by balancing out homocysteine and serotonin in the brain (take vitamins B6 and B12, folic acid, and trimethylglycine)

3. To fight oxidative stress:

  • Get more exercise and quit smoking.
  • Take antioxidants. Remember that their efficiency will be low for people with high blood sugar or lipid metabolism disorders.
  • Reduce the level of glucose and bad fats in the blood by reducing the the number of calories you consume, taking metformin, and including vitamins B1 and B12 in your diet.

Will stress at work cause sickness?

Isolated stressful situations increase your risk of getting a stroke or heart attack. Constant stress at work increases your risk of diabetes, heart attack, stroke, thrombosis, autoimmune disease, allergies, cancer, and infectious diseases.

When you’re stressed, the sympathetic nervous system releases adrenaline into the blood. This preps your body for fight or flight: your heart beats faster, blood pressure rises, and cardiac output increases fivefold. These processes helped our ancestors escape from and survive dangerous situations. In the modern world, periods of intense stress aren’t always followed by physical activity.

This is confusing to our bodies in many ways. High blood flow speeds lead to ruptures in the inner lining of blood vessels. This results in the formation of atherosclerotic plaques that cause heart attacks, strokes, and thrombosis. Stress also causes your body to produce a hormone called cortisol. It releases glucose from the liver and muscles, and fatty acids from the fat stores. The levels of sugar and fats in the blood spike, and this can lead to carbohydrate metabolism disorders and atherosclerosis.

Under the influence of cortisol, the immune response is broken: first, anti-infective and anti-tumor protection is reduced. Then, the body’s immune response is hyperreactive for a short period, increasing the risk of autoimmune disorders and allergic reactions. More stress leads to a decrease in the number of lymphocytes and the development of immunodeficiency, increasing the risk of cancer and infectious diseases.

How to keep my mind sharp?

There is no definitive proof that taking vitamins helps. However, there are some things you can try.

When you’re stressed, your body is flooded with stress hormones — glucocorticoids and cortisol. Glucocorticoids damage the cells of the hippocampus – the part of the brain that plays a key role in processing information and regulating emotions.

Cortisol disrupts the recovery of cells in the prefrontal cortex — an evolutionarily young area of the brain responsible for decision making, planning, working memory, and emotional regulation. Stress hormones accelerate brain aging and increase your risk of developing mental health issues.

The brain works less efficiently when you’re stressed, running short on time, and not sleeping enough. Here’s how to cope:

  • Plan your work. Divide your day into short intervals. The best way is to work for 52 minutes, then relax or do something that doesn’t require much concentration for 17 minutes.
  • Make sure to include recovery in your schedule in order to keep your stress levels down.
  • Talk to your coworkers, go for a walk, or get a massage.
  • Get enough sleep. Go to bed around the same time every night, keep your room dark, and turn off all gadgets at least 2 hours before bedtime.

Physiologically speaking, you are most productive when you’re concentrating on one thing. Concentration is a neurological state regulated by acetylcholine, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which transmit signals between neurons to help you process information.

How to prevent and cure cold?

There is no 100% defense because a cold is the popular name for acute respiratory viral infection (ARI), which can be caused by more than 200 pathogens, including flu viruses. Plus they can mutate. Nevertheless, you can reduce the likelihood of catching a cold.

First of all, you need to track your energy levels regularly. If you see that every day you have less and less, it is time to take a few days to recover. Your body does not have enough resources to fight stressors and infections and you risk overdoing it. Cancel your workouts, try not to overwork or stress out emotinally for a few days, have amassage or take a walk. That way your body will restore the energy and you’ll be able to go back to normal.

Here is what else you can do:

To reduce the risks during the flu season:

  • vaccination against influenza. Its effectiveness is approximately 60%, but there are no serious side effects from this vaccine
  • personal hygiene: regular washing of hands with soap for 30 seconds and regularly airing one’s rooms
  • balance of stress and relaxation: sleep 7-8 hours a night, visit a massage parlor or steam room, meditate, walk, maintain a balance between work and rest, communicate with friends, practice a hobby
  • regular moderate exercise: this reduces internal inflammation and helps to activate the immune system, protecting against viral infections
  • such methods of prevention as the intake of vitamin C, the consumption of garlic, and stimulation of the immune system with the help of adaptogens, for example, echinacea, are considered ineffective

If you are already sick:

  • pay attention to hygiene: change the bed linen daily, ventilate the room, take daily showers, and wash your hands after blowing your nose or sneezing
  • use an air humidifier
  • sleep well to activate of the immune system

However, increased fluid intake doesn’t lead to faster recovery. Drinking more than usual is necessary only to prevent dehydration with increased sweating and evaporation of liquid from the surface of the lungs in high temperatures. The only entirely effective treatment for a cold is time.

How can I make sure I’m not sick?

Preventive health screenings are important, but there is no reason to get tested for every possible disease on the planet.

It is helpful to check up on health problems that can be managed by changing your lifestyle: diabetes, thyroid disorders, liver and kidney problems, and changes in metabolism that increase your risk of atherosclerosis, heart disease, stroke, and heart attack.

Here is a list of health screenings to keep in mind:

Every year:

  • fluorography (women need to be sure that there is no pregnancy at the time of the examination)
  • general blood tests, urine tests, and biochemical blood tests (bilirubin, ALT, AST, creatinine, urea, total protein, uric acid)
  • blood test for the presence of antibodies to hepatitis B and C and HIV infection
  • screening for the thyroid disorders, including the determination of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH, thyrotropin), thyroxine free (T4 free) and antibodies to thyroid peroxidase (AT-TPO, microsomal antibodies)

Once in three years:

  • test for the level of homocysteine in the blood. It shows if there’s a possibility of blood clots in the arteries.

Once in five years (age 30+), once in three years (age 45+), and every year (age 50+):

  • check up of cholesterol level and lipid profile

Once in five years (age 30-40), once in two years (age 40-45), and every year (age 45+):

  • screening of glycated hemoglobin. It allows you to monitor the level of blood glucose within 1.5-2 months

Any other options aside from doctors and screenings?

There are many electronic devices and wearable sensors that can quickly measure and transmit health data. These devices can turn your phone into a tonometer, a glucometer, an electrocardiograph, an oxygen meter, and more. If you are healthy, it is enough to look out for weight fluctuations, changes in the cardiovascular and vegetative systems, and doing blood work once a year.

Monitor your weight with smart scales such as Withings, Fitbit Aria, or Inbody bracelet. Weight changes that stay within 7lbs per year are ok. If you see more drastic changes, it might be caused by lack of sleep, overeating, taking drugs (hormonal, hypotensive, antacid), or thyroid and kidney disorders. If you’re losing weight rapidly, it might be because of diabetes, parasites, or tumors.

You can measure your stress and energy levels with Welltory every day and get more information about your heart by tracking blood pressure with Medisana CardioDoc. Stress and energy readings will help you figure out what’s going on with your body – whether you’re getting enough sleep and coping with stress adequately. If the Welltory app shows you have high stress levels but you feel fine, you might not be getting enough sleep, exercising too much, or are about to come down with a cold.

Taking measurements immediately after waking up will give you a baseline for the day. If you take regular measurements and monitor the numbers, you’ll know something is up if you start seeing drastic fluctuations.

Welltory Team, 23 Dec. 2021

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