10 Basic Causes of Disease and Dysfunction

17 Aug

I understand a lot of my readers do not like my detailed and lengthy posts.

Neither do I, but sometimes certain things cannot be omitted.


With few exceptions, disease and dysfunction do not develop quickly!

  • Disease and dysfunction tend to develop slowly, usually over many years as subtle and overt signs that mark loss of health are ignored.
  • I have found that many people feel that they are fine until they get diagnosed with a named condition like diabetes or hypertension.
  • The reality is that degeneration is a fact of life – with each passing day, we lose some of our health potential.
  • It’s the pace at which our bodies degenerate that we influence through our daily choices.
  • By understanding the main causes of disease and dysfunction, we can make dietary and lifestyle choices that promote longevity.

The main causes of acceleration of disease and dysfunction can be categorized into three groups:

  • Injury
  • Toxicity
  • Deficiency

Let’s take a close look at each of these categories of causes of disease and dysfunction:


There are four main types of injury that contribute to disease and dysfunction:

  • Cellular Damage by Unhealthy Foods
  • Gross or Repetitive Stress Injury
  • Emotional Injury
  • Electromagnetic Injury

Cellular Damage by Unhealthy Foods

Some foods – or more accurately, some heavily adulterated foods and food-like chemicals – are capable of causing direct injury to our cells. Other highly processed foods cause indirect injury to our cells by deteriorating the health of our major organs and blood vessels.

Some of the worst offenders include:

  • Deep-fried foods like donuts, French fries, and most varieties of potato chips
  • Margarine and shortening
  • Artificial additives like MSG and aspartame
  • Sugar-laden snacks and beverages
  • Hot dogs, most varieties of sausage, bacon, and highly processed luncheon meats that contain nitrites


Gross or Repetitive Stress Injury

A gross physical injury like a strained back or sprained ankle is an obvious cause of dysfunction. What’s not so obvious in such cases is that if injured joints and muscles are not properly stretched and conditioned post-injury, the result may be scar tissue formation and joint dysfunction that may cause problems with mobility and flexibility over the long term.

Whenever we experience a gross injury to muscles or joints, it’s best to stretch and exercise the injured area as soon as we’re able to without creating intolerable pain.

Emotional Injury

Emotional injury refers to cellular damage that is caused by chronic emotional stress.

 As a direct cause of disease and dysfunction, this category is not given the attention that it deserves because it’s difficult to come up with standardized treatments that can address every person’s personal sources of anxiety and fear.

Electromagnetic Injury

In an early draft of a report issued in the spring of 1990, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the United States recommended that electromagnetic fields (EMF’s) be classified as a class B carcinogen – a probable human carcinogen. Unfortunately, by the time that the EPA released the final draft of this report, the words “class B carcinogen” were deleted.

Despite their change of opinion on electromagnetic fields, the EPA included the following thoughts on EMF’s in their report:

“In conclusion, several studies showing leukemia, lymphoma and cancer of the nervous system in children exposed to EMF’s, supported by similar findings in adults in several occupational studies also involving electrical power frequency exposures, show a consistent pattern of response that suggest a causal link.”

 But we can take steps to minimize our exposure to some of the following, most common threats:

  1. Talking for long stretches of time with a cell phone pressed against our heads.
  2. Living close to mobile phones, antennas and towers.
  3. Working for many years in a profession that involves being in close proximity to devices that emit ionizing radiation.
  4. Regularly lying in tanning beds.

With each passing year, electronic devices like flat screen TVs and computer monitors are becoming bigger and more pleasing to the eyes. While all of these devices are not guaranteed to emit significant amounts of electromagnetic radiation, common sense dictates that it’s wise to be modest in our choice and use of all devices that require electricity to run.


There are two main types of toxicity that contribute to disease and dysfunction:

  • Exogenous Toxicity
  • Endogenous Toxicity

Exogenous Toxicity

Exogenous toxins are chemicals that are made outside of our bodies that can harm our cells if they are ingested, inhaled, or absorbed into your bloodstream.

While it’s unrealistic to live and work in an environment that is completely free of exogenous toxins, we can minimize our exposure to exogenous toxins by being aware of the common household toxins.

Over-the-counter, prescription, and recreational drugs are all exogenous toxins.

 Endogenous Toxicity

Endogenous toxins are toxins that are produced inside of the digestive tract by microorganisms. While some endogenous toxins are eliminated as gas, some make their way into our bloodstream by traveling through our intestinal walls, and once they make it into our bloodstream, they can access our cells and contribute to toxic burden.

The best ways to minimize the amount of endogenous toxins that are produced in our digestive tracts are to chew our foods well, eat mainly fresh, minimally processed foods, and ensure exposure to friendly bacteria.


Disease and dysfunction are accelerated when we are deficient in any of the following:

  • Nutrients
  • Physical and Emotional Rest
  • Sunlight and Fresh Air
  • Love and Life Purpose



To be optimally healthy, our cells need enough energy (calories) to carry out everyday metabolic activities – these calories are obtained by burning one or more of the following macronutrients: protein, fat, and carbohydrates.

Our cells also require a steady supply of the following micronutrients: vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. And to be optimally healthy, we require adequate intake of water, fiber, and phytonutrients. 

A good way to become deficient in the micronutrients that we need to prevent disease and premature aging is to eat highly processed foods that fill us up but don’t provide us with substantial amounts of natural micronutrients – soda and foods that are made with white flour belong in this category. 

Physical and Emotional Rest

Adequate physical rest is critical to preventing premature disease and dysfunction, as the endocrine system relies heavily on restful sleep to function properly.

Sunlight and Fresh Air

Promoting optimal vitamin D status by exposing skin to sunlight without getting burned has been receiving tremendous support from the research community over the past several years. Vitamin D supports several major organ systems, including our nervous, immune, and skeletal, and cardiovascular systems.

Optimal health also requires optimally oxygenated blood, which is only possible when we have regular access to fresh air. We must not overlook the importance of sleeping in the presence of fresh air.

 Love and Life Purpose

Consistently feeling loved and cared about is essential to preventing disease and dysfunction as we age

As discussed in the section on emotional trauma, making healthy choices is easiest when we have a foundation of good emotional health.

 Our unique life purposes don’t have to involve anything on a global level, or even a small rural town level; the idea is to feel content with our daily efforts to be kind and helpful people.

Where do our genes fit into our risk of developing disease and dysfunctional cells? Like our emotional health status, our genetics serve as a type of foundation that all of our daily choices build upon or tear down. In the vast majority of cases, genetic predispositions for specific health challenges like breast cancer, endometriosis, prostate cancer, colo-rectal cancer, and other conditions that are often described as having strong genetic components can stay dormant if we minimize our exposure to the major causes of disease discussed earlier, and if we consistently make health-promoting choices.

Not all of us may make it to 120 years of age, but by understanding the main causes of disease and dysfunction, working on staying emotionally balanced, and making sensible choices each day, we can have peace of mind in knowing that we are maximizing our health potential.  

Happy Living!

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Posted by on August 17, 2011 in a new day, healing, health, naturopathy, Wisdom


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