Health and Disease

It is possible for you and your family to be healthy. You, my friend, may choose to enjoy better health. However, that means much more than the mere absence of illness. True health involves physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual dimensions. It does not come by accident; vigorous health is a positive achievement.

The proper understanding of physical and mental health, and its mortal enemy, disease, will safeguard you against many worries. Fear of illness, disability, or suffering is a major destroyer of peace. Welcome now to the greatest adventure. We will become good friends in the exploration of true healing, jointly in partnership with our bodies.

Sickness in the home always presents numerous problems. There is usually anxiety in the heart of every family member, when a loved one becomes ill. Naturally, we harbor uncertainty concerning the diagnosis. Moreover, there is our built-in fear of death to be understood, as well as the frequent frustration experienced just caring for a sick person.

Sometimes the numerous symptoms that characterize our health problem can be misinterpreted. They may be either trivial and self-limited, or much more serious than they really appear. All this must be studied. Looking at illness from the viewpoint of home treatment, you must first consider the various possible causes.

One author defined disease as an effort of nature to free the system from conditions that result from violation of the laws of health. That definition looks at the various symptoms as evidences that the body is trying to rid itself of poisons, toxins, or foreign invaders.

In fighting for a speedy return of health, your body generates numerous symptoms and signs - for example, fever or pain. Approaching disease from this vantage point, we must first endeavor to ascertain the true causes. The cause may be infectious in nature, or it may be related to various degenerative processes of the body.

Disease can in addition result from an accident, injury, or another form of trauma. The accumulation of toxins or foreign viruses may result in the development of a growth, usually referred to as a neoplasm or tumor. Other causes of common diseases include allergic reactions, emotional problems, hormone imbalances, nutritional disorders, and occasionally inherited tendencies.

Correcting wrong personal habits that have contributed to the cause of an illness may require a major dietary change. Exercise often needs to be encouraged, or sometimes curtailed, depending upon the type of illness. Specific treatment recommendations will be presented in subsequent chapters as we consider individual diseases.

Simple treatments in the home, such as water taken internally or applied externally—the use of hot or cold baths and showers—as well as simple poultices or herbs, may be therapeutically employed in any home setting to combat numerous ailments.

Most of the following natural methods assist “Nature” in her effort to restore right conditions and re-establish a normal balance to all of the body’ s processes. It naturally follows then, that a proper understanding of physiology and some knowledge of the structure of our bodies, especially our anatomy, is crucial to a person seeking assistance to combat disease in a home—like, natural setting.

Wise progressive physicians today encourage more independent judgment on the part of their patients, while teaching modern mothers how properly to care for their children. This self—help trend became increasingly important in the recent decade as medical costs skyrocketed. It could be even more vital in the future when specialized health care becomes unaffordable.

Rational Approaches to Illness

In dealing with any disease, the first step toward diagnosis is found in the health history and its interpretation. All facts of significance in the lifestyle of the individual up to the time of illness should be evaluated as possible contributors to the present problem.

Allergies to drugs, foods, or environmental factors should also be evaluated in the face of present illness. Second, the careful analysis of the illness under question with all of its various symptoms, including other factors that have ensued from the first onset to the present need to be considered. Most diseases fit certain patterns.

As organ systems and their disorders are discussed, these patterns will become obvious. Thus, the intelligent interpretation of a medical history provides one of the most valuable clues to understand illness and its proper diagnosis. Remember this one caution in the proper interpretation of health history.

Accurate recall for the patient is very important. However, most sick individuals color their subjective awareness of symptoms with substantial concern over the consequences of illness to their families. Fear of disease, disability, and even death may affect the person’s response to the otherwise clear question or stimulus.

Although the story of every illness is extremely important, in most cases, it is not definitive, but rather narrows the number of diagnostic possibilities, and thus guides any subsequent investigation. A physician’s skill, knowledge, wisdom, and experience are most clearly evidenced in his history taking. Likewise, the thorough analysis of symptoms in home health care will provide your best clues toward understanding disease.