Are You On Fire
Tuesday’s International headline read: CREWS BRINGING STUBBORN WILDFIRE UNDER CONTROL. Late that day, driving into Nogales, I saw the effects of that stubborn wildfire…the smoke, the gray, the sun looking bad, like a flashlight bulb when the batteries start to go. A lifetime ago, I left New Jersey to escape the gray. I found the sun in Arizona. I’m fearless…but fire scares me. No, not the fires burning outside, we’ll get those under control…the most life threatening fires are the ones burning inside us.
“Inflammation” is derived from the Latin word for FIRE. And here, all the scientists out there must forgive me for the liberties I’m about to take trying to make this point. Our bodies are on fire. And INFLAMMATION IS FIRE, plain and simple. Anything unnatural, anything foreign that gets into your body will cause the fire that doctors call inflammation. Fire in our bodies can be started by something as dramatic as a bullet wound…or as simple as sunburn…but more commonly from something as “innocent” as a Big Mac, fries, and a milkshake.
Your body is made up of millions of tiny cities called CELLS. The vast majority are rather anonymous. We rarely pay attention to our individual cells…unless, of course, they burn out of control. They are the townships, counties and sovereign states of You. Sort of like The United Cells of Robert or Mary. Now, it’s extremely important to keep all roads into your cities open. Otherwise, the semi trucks loaded with oxygen and food supplies can’t make their deliveries. Garbage trucks can’t remove the trash. Pretty soon your cities would resemble Third World countries. So, very cleverly, The Master Designer installed around 100,000 miles of first-class covered roads into and out of the billions of cities that are the mosaic of YOU. These roads are actually tubes or tunnels. Doctors called them ARTERIES, VEINS and CAPILLARIES. The idea is to keep them open and the traffic moving at all times.
A roadside fire is one thing. But fire in a tunnel is a disaster. Imagine one of your semi-trucks carrying oxygen running into that fire. That’s when all hell breaks loose. When the liver, who’s in charge of fire prevention, senses the explosion in the tunnel, it shoots a thermal glob of cholesterol into the breach. The cholesterol patches the tunnel. But if you keep having fires and keep slapping cholesterol patches on top of cholesterol patches…that tunnel starts to get real small…pretty soon even a pickup-truck of oxygen can’t get through. As the cholesterol walls of that tunnel creep closer together…oxygen traffic is soon limited to folks struggling on foot, balancing baskets of oxygen on their heads. And if no oxygen gets through…then our lights go out and “Elvis leaves the building”. Of course, I’m not talking about cities and roads I’m talking about the capillaries that keep the mosaic that is you, pink and healthy.
Fire, you see, is the cause of the cholesterol problem. Cholesterol is the solution. I often tell my patients who smoke and have tried but can’t quit, to at least do something to control the fires caused by smoking. We usually wind up discussing Antioxidants, and how they put out the fires of inflammation. Of course proper rest and nutrition, and not poisoning your body with ridiculous substances, and breathing clean air is the best road to health. Only a few subscribe to this program. So, I’m a big fan of doing whatever we can to neutralize the things we do to prematurely kill ourselves. And the major antioxidants are at the top of my list. They are: Natural Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Alpha Lipoic Acid, and Coenzyme Q10…and for smokers, Pycnogenol.
We are each ultimately responsible for our own health…or lack of it. Of course some things can’t be avoided. Life itself, after all, is a terminal condition. But why not keep “Elvis in the building” as long as we can? Stay well – Dr. Bill Ardito, Sunshine Dentistry AZ
855 W. Bell Road, Suite 600
Nogales, AZ 85621
May 2011, article published in the Nogales International