Why medical norms can kill you.

In Singapore the medical check-up is ubiquitous. Children have been exposed to the annual medical check-up as young as six years old, yet the actual procedure has become taboo to many adults. Why do we have medical check-ups? Are they necessary? What do medical check-ups really tell us? Or rather, what can’t we not deduce from medical check-ups?

Why have a medical check-up?

Medical tests are done for different reasons. For adults below 30 to 40, medical tests are often only done if a person shows up symptoms. This actually makes sense because to do detailed testing without a reason is a waste of time and money.

Medical testing detects only pathology. Pathology is defined as abnormal organ, tissue and/ or cell function where there is change in tissue, organ and enzyme level. This is a good definition to treat illness, but a poor one to promote wellness.

So, many people can have lowered organ, tissue and or enzyme function with no cellular or tissue change. They will experience symptoms, feel unwell but be told there is nothing wrong with them. This often occurs with ageing. All the medical tests will often prove negative. This is when functional medicine and naturopathic type screening that looks at quality of life rather that pathology can prove useful.

After about 40, routine medical screening is habitually suggested in order to detect early warning markers for potential health problems. A general medical screening will include blood pressure test, full lipid profile, screening for diabetes, full blood examination, kidney function, bone study, gout study, liver function test, screening for veneral disease, urine examination, screening for thyroid function, screening for Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, screening for rheumatoid arthritis and screening for cancer markers. This also includes bone density scane, mammagrams, and PAP smears.

List of Medical Norms

· As you grow older, a higher weight according to your age is acceptable.(Look at height, weight tables for different ages)

· When you develop idiopathic hypertension (high blood pressure), it’s a perfectly acceptable consequence of ageing. Simply start medication

· Until your fasting blood glucose is 120 mg/dL or more, you are safe.

· Its acceptable to age and lose function and quality of life.

· Its also acceptable to get aches and pain as you age

· When older people get moody and grumpy, that is also a function of ageing. Just live with it.

· Treat all your problems with drugs. Modern science is so advanced.

Another look at the above acceptable “medical” norms:

· Every 5% weight gain above your optimum weight in your twenties increases your risk of diabetes by 200%.

· High blood pressure is often linked to obesity, sub-optimal diets and emotional stress

· In fact, you should start watching out when your blood glucose exceeds 80 mg/dl. You are heading towards Syndrome X (precursor to diabetes, heart disease and cancer)

· According to studies at Tuft’s University, significant quality of life issues like strength, fitness, endurance and health can be maximized with optimum diet and nutrition

· Manual medicine practitioners can help most people minimize aches and pains regardless of age

· Mood changes associated with ageing are often forerunners of dis-ease conditions or significant drops in sex hormones

· Fourth biggest cause of mortality is surgery and adverse drug treatments

Data interpretation is often a bone of contention between the different schools of thought. The Western medical practitioner is trained to look at the test results and check if they fall into the Normal Curve distribution(Bell Curve). The top and bottom five percent are pathological, either too high or low. The rest are normal. Functional medicine practitioners however will often adopt a different view. Optimal health often revolves around results that are a more in the middle.

“Do not go gentle into that good night,
…..Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
Dylan Thomas

be well

Dr Sundardas

Why 3 square meals is not enough

Very often when it comes to the subject of food, there is enormous misinformation. When it comes to the subject of nutrition, there are even more arguments on both sides of the fence. In order to resolve this debate, I would like to outline the profound ways that the world has changed from the time of our grandparents.

Our diets have changed considerably in the last 50 years and not necessarily for the better. In fact this information is so widely accepted that only a few still think this way by clinging to the misguided concept that we can get all the nutrition we need from a well balanced diet.

Despite the wide spread acceptance of the use of dietary supplements to augment the foods we eat, I feel that it is necessary to raise a few points so as to effectively make the issue clear!
There are several major reasons why we eat more lifeless, nutrient deficient foods than any other nation on earth. The first reason is forced production. For example America is the ‘bread basket’ of the world. Not only do they provide food for their 250 million residents but export food and food products to many countries around the world. This places a tremendous demand upon the growers to continually increase the yield per care of crops produced.

The NPK Philosophy

Back in the 1930’s there was a big controversy over soil conditioning (that which was to be put back into our farmlands after each growing season). A group of agricultural scientists were talking about the re-mineralisation of the soil by using full spectrum trace and major minerals. This idea met with considerable opposition by the food industry who only saw this proposal as a greatly added expense that they were not keen to accept. They therefore lobbied the US Department of Agriculture heavily against the re-mineralisation program and subsequently won their point. Because of that in the United States it is what has come to be referred to as the NPK philosophy – the initials which stand for the three major minerals found in all present-day fertilizers, Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium.
They argued that with these three nutrients, in varying ratios, the very highest yield per acre could be achieved thus increasing production and profit for the farmer. Since farmers have always lived with the difficulty of turning a profit, they too were excited by this ‘new NPK philosophy’. This turned out to be bad news!
It is true that yield per acre did increase measurably but after a few years of practising this limited re-fertilization, farmers began to notice that the health of their crops were becoming compromised. Pests would invade the fields at various stages of growth and destroyed far more of the crop than was increased by the new fertilizer program. Science responded by developing even stronger pesticides and other chemicals in an attempt to protect the crops to maturity. Long ago we have exceeded the savings from limited re-fertilization through the expense of adding chemicals to croplands which not only leave residues in the foods, but subsequently sink in to the ground and end up in the water table thus adversely affecting all animal life, including humans.

This de-mineralisation of our soils has created sick plants that cannot survive to maturity on their own. They are so mineral deficient that livestock of various species fed upon them must be supplemented with numerous ‘salt blocks’ containing various combinations of minerals in order to remain healthy.

Mineral Deficiencies and Chronic Disease

Humans are at the top of this vast food chain, and whatever benefits of deficiencies exist are magnified at the top. In the 1930’s Dr William Albrecht predicted that if we followed the concept of restricted fertilization using the NPK concept, we would see a rise in diseases of a chronic, degenerative nature such as we would compare with the infectious plagues of the past. His dire warning appears to have come true. Today the leading causes of death in Europe and the United States are not contagious, infectious diseases, which by the way are also again on the rise, but rather are the very chronic degenerative diseases predicted by Albrecht and other scientists more than 50 years ago. Heart disease, cancer, arthritis, adult onset diabetes and other such debilitating conditions are not contagious, they merely appear and are diagnosed with little or no hope of effective treatment or amelioration. The rest of Asia follows suit.

What else have we done to cause the destruction of our food supply? While there are undoubtedly many points that could be discussed, for the purpose of our illustration here we will address two other major factors. Soil erosion is the next potential problem – one that only gets worse. It is estimated that 85% of America’s topsoil is at the bottom of the ocean. According to the US Department of Agriculture, the problem is so widespread and so severe that it would be prohibitively expensive to correct. This means that they are feeding 250 million people and serve as the ‘bread basket to the world’, on 15% of their topsoil. Is it any wonder that the foods produced and subsequently eaten are mere shadows of those produced 50 or 100 years ago?
The third and perhaps the most devastating factor in the destruction of the American diet has been the food industry itself. Through over-processing of virtually every food we eat, dozen of nutrients are either destroyed or greatly decreased. This adulteration of foods by the industry that controls them not only robs us of the vital minerals but also the vitamins, making most of our food products nothing more than empty calories.

Unless we seriously embark upon a program of diet, nutrition and supplementation, we cannot expect our “three square meals” to be enough to keep us healthy and fit.

be well,

Dr Sundardas

Electromagnetic toxicity and illness

As the computer visual display (VDU) unit became more common in the workplace, the issue of radiation hazards associated with the prolonged use of VDU’s were tested by reputable laboratories and found to emit no detectable levels of X- rays. A similar study by Canadian Radiation Protection. Bureau researchers arrived at the same conclusion. World Health Organisation (WHO) experts endorsed similar findings. Given such reassurances, the temptation has been to conclude that VDU’s are harmless. However, deeper more haunting statistics suggest that health problems from VDU’s could arise from electromagnetic radiation.

The early research did not consider all the relevant data. Since 1979 small clusters of miscarriage and birth defects among VDU users in a dozen or more office locations have been reported. Due to the low level of X-ray radiation around VDU’s, authorities often dismissed the increased incidence of these abnormalities as chance occurrences, while others argued alternately that the reported defects could be hereditary.

In 1982 Delagado and others reported powerful inhibitory effects on chicken embryos produced by weak 100 H2 {28} electromagnetic fields. The following year Ubeda and others also observed ‘teratogenic” changes or monstrous mutations to chicken embryos exposed to low intensity pulsed electromagnetic fields of 100Hz. The most deterious effects were observed with a weak magnetic field strengths of about 1 micro Tesla, with stronger and weaker fields less effective. Since the original work of Delgado and co-workers, several more recent studies have confirmed that weak electromagnetic fields are capable of interacting with biological systems of specific frequencies and intensities. Since magnetic field strength pulses of up to 400,000 microtesla have been reported with VDU’s it follows that weak magnetic pulses will exist even at a considerable distance from the units.

With approximately half the workforce using VDU’s being women of childbearing age, the health implications are enormous. McDonald and co-workers who studied births in the Montreal area in 1984, reported, that the rate of spontaneous abortion in 2609 current pregnancies with no VDU use was 5.7% compared to 8.3% for 588 with weekly exposure of less than 15 hours and 9.4% for 710 pregnancies with VDU use greater than 15 hours per week. In 1988 Goldhaber and co-workers found in a case control study of pregnancy outcome that there exists: “Significantly elevated risk of miscarriage for working women who using VDU’s for more than 20 hours per week during the first trimester of pregnancy compared to other working who reported not using VDUs”. The increased risk could not be explained by age, education, occupation, smoking, alcohol consumption on other maternal characteristics.

Reported cases of foetal damage from VDU’s.

1. In 1979, four out of seven pregnant VDU operates who had worked on the classified advertising department of the Toronto Star gave birth to infants with defects. One had a club foot, another a deft palate, a third an underdeveloped eye and the fourth had multiple heart abnormalities. None of the mothers had smoked or taken drugs during the pregnancies.During that period, three other employees at the Star who didn’t work on VDU’s gave birth to normal babies.
2. Due to excessive fetal retardation and birth defects among the off-spring of women and animals exposed to radioactive fields in Eastern Europe, pregnant women in Czechoslovakia have been specifically prohibited from working in areas where the “safe” level of micro-waves was exceeded. The Czech standard is one-thousandth the recommended American guideline.

The following items also possess a significant electromagnetic field; television, electric razors, electric blankets, electric-power transmission and distribution networks, fluorescent lights, electric clocks, hair dryers and electric heaters, microwave ovens, personal radio transmitters not to mention handphones. Research done by Dr. Robert O. Becker M.D. appears to indicate that all of the above appliances at times have radiation levels that sometimes exceed current safety levels of radiation.

The rise of phenomena such as electromagnetic – hypersensitivity syndrome has been verified by several scientists, like Robert Becker M.D. and Dr. William Rae. It refers to the phenomena whereby an individual develops an allergy due to electro-magnetic fields. Chronic-fatigue syndrome has also been linked to electro-magnetic fields.

Dr. Hans-Anne Hanson of the Institute of Newsbiology at the University of Goteborg, Sweden began experimenting a newborn experimental animals. Brief exposure to microwaves, resulted in damage to nerve-cell structures that became visible, as a latent effect, only two to four months following the exposure. The nerve cell damage was visible in the brain, retina, optic nerve and cerebellum. It is interesting to note that clinical studies done by Dr. E. Courchesne of the Neuropsychology Research Laboratory at Children’s Hospital Research Center, San Diego, report finding a specific pathological lesion in the cerebellum in fourteen of the eighteen autistic children be examined.

Years ago, I had the interesting experience of working with mum to be who was a newscaster. She mentioned that all her female colleagues who worked with her had had babies with congenital birth defects. She wanted a diet and nutrition program si that her baby would be normal. She came in about six months before her intended time to get pregnant, so I put her on a tailored program of diet and supplements to support system. Her baby when she delivered was normal.

A brain surgeon in Singapore recently commented that her noticed a higher incidence on brain tumours in young children. Would any body wonder if this was related to radiation hazards perhaps?

be well,

Dr Sundardas

Are allergies/food sensitivitities affecting your child?

Allergies can play havoc with a child’s ability to benefit from teaching. Some forms of ‘hyperactivity,’ short attention spans and mood swings are caused by allergies and intolerances for certain foods and other environmental factors.

There is much controversy in the medical and related fields concerning allergies and their identification, including the types of tests used to identify allergens (the substance that causes the body to show an allergic reaction). In fact, much about allergies is unknown.

What is known? We know that the white blood cells (also known as lymphocytes) are a fundamental component of the immune system that protects our bodies from invaders. When they make a mistake, an allergic response can occur.

In other words, the blood cells of an allergic person are “misinformed’ at the genetic level and cause the production of large quantities of IgE antibodies. The antibody becomes attached on one side to the food/substance molecule and on the other side to a mast cell (mast cells are a type of cell containing histamine and other allergy mediators instrumental in the allergic response). When this happens, histamines and other chemicals are released from the mast cells, causing such immediate responses as runny nose, itchy eyes, skin rashes and indigestion. IgE can cause anaphylaxis, an extreme, sometimes even life-threatening response in which the airways swell, sometimes to the point where the person cannot breathe.
Signs of allergies and intolerances
Take a long, serious look at your child. Obvious changes sometimes occur in the physical appearance of children and adults who have typical allergies, or food or chemical sensitivities.

Perhaps you recognise a characteristic “spacey” or at times almost “demonic” look in a child’s eyes when he or she suddenly becomes “impossible.” These looks are sometimes accompanied by characteristic sounds, such as throat-clearing and clucking. The latter is typical, in particular, of a dairy or milk sensitivity. Some mothers complain that their children make strange noises at home or at school. A few whine and say the same phrase over and over. In addition, children (and adults) can develop a hoarse voice or red ears or cheeks due to food or chemical exposure. Other symptoms include slurred or rapid speech.

The effects of chemical odours, such as perfume or certain cleaning materials, tend to occur within seconds or a very few minutes. Food reactions take fifteen to sixty minutes to become apparent. A reaction to dust or moulds usually occurs within an hour. Parents can often pinpoint the cause merely by thinking back over what happened. For example, if red earlobes, a severe headache, or wiggly legs occur half an hour after lunch, it would be logical to assume the symptoms are possibly related to something that was eaten. If the problem is eczema, watch the arm and leg creases: these areas commonly become red and itchy during meals or immediately after contact with dust, moulds, or certain foods. The actual rash, however, will not develop until the next day. Also suspect food allergies/sensitivities if your child has any form of intestinal complaints after eating. If dark eye circles and muscle aches routinely occur after gym, art, chemistry or biology class, or after a shower, suspect a reaction to a chemical exposure. If these changes occur after play on freshly cut grass, suspect grass pollen. If a child’s nose becomes itchy and drippy, or if asthma and coughing get worse after tumbling on gym mats or playing on an old carpet, the cause could be dust, moulds, or both. If a youngster becomes wild and uncontrollable and has a peculiar spaced-out look after using a bathroom that smells of scented body preparations, deodorants or disinfectants, suspect chemicals.

Parents should learn to watch for dark eye circles (which can be black, blue or pink), red earlobes (sometimes becoming so hot that ice is needed to provide relief), nose-rubbing, skin-scratching, wiggly legs, yawning and various throaty sounds. Small, horizontal wrinkles under the eyes are typical of allergic children, especially those who have eczema. Abnormally red rosy cheeks can occur in anyone, but they are particularly characteristic of allergic children two to four years old and of adult females who have multiple food or chemical allergies.

Facial twitches or tics, along with restless legs, are very common in some children. Other muscles also can go into and out of spasm causing discomfort or pain. Foods, moulds and chemical odours, such as the smell of tar or perfume, are common but unsuspected causes.

Hives, which look like mosquito bites, are often caused by foods, dust, moulds or chemicals. More generalised rashes can be caused by a chronic yeast infection (often following anti-biotic treatment), by contact with formaldehyde in polyester clothing or bedding or by some chemical found in a laundry detergent or fabric softener.

Stomach pains, ‘winds’, nausea, diarrhea, constipation or halitosis are commonly caused by an allergy to food or drink. Recurrent headaches are another very common allergic symptom in all age groups. The pain may occur above or behind the eyes or on the sides, back or top of head. Yeast overgrowths may be caused by repeated courses of antibiotics (in children, frequently used to medicate ear infections or tonsillitis. A white-coated tongue is a common indication of excess yeast.

Sudden unprovoked aggression in both children and adults can be related to allergy. It is often associated with red earlobes, wiggly legs, dark eye circles and a special ‘look’. Behaviour may include hitting, biting, kicking, spitting and punching.

For twenty years I have seen more than a thousand children with allergies and sensitivities in my practice. The number seem to be increasing in the last decade. I wonder why?

Be well

Dr Sundardas