Saturday, 16 March 2013

Health Related Amnesia

It used to be understood that heart attacks are the biggest killer in western model countries full stop. Once infectious disease are vanquished by modern medicine, heart attacks are just waiting to ascend that throne.

Then came the 'obesity' crusade, along with its casting as leading player in "diseases of modern lifestyles". In reality that's the shift of survival and ageing. You can even get a sense of this in the list for developing countries. The first one after infectious conditions or caused by them is "Ischaemic heart disease". The number of deaths from diarrhea especially heartbreaking, often killing babies and young children.

Like it or not, progress in health does not necessarily go purely in a straight line. I sense some in the medical establishment are deeply disappointed with that and loathe to come to terms. Often risk shift around unpredictably alongside outright progress. We are undoubtedly better off without infectious disease, yet there's been a lot of talk about how we are unhealthier than ever, usually citing 'obesity' as the major source. 

The upshot of this distortion through hype is it keeps creating a form of amnesia as it copies a lie over truth. Like copy and paste on your computer. 

In that constructs such as 'obesity' and 'lifestyle disease' are inherently regressive in nature. 

I remember pointing out the true extent of argument made against fatness is that it's (supposedly) less healthy than being slim. This has travelled to fat="unhealthy" under the assault of framing fat and slim as opposite states. What fat people are, slim people are not, and vice versa.

This must be how anyone could have forgotten that the cardiovascular system can wear out like any other living tissue. The surprised reaction to Ancient Egyptian mummies being discovered to have plaque in their arteries? I never would have predicted it!

Wear and tear can dovetail with inborn genetic and/or epigentic susceptibilities to cause a crisis. Of course, we all hope we can seek to minimize that by the way we live. Including the way we approach life. This hope has assisted food as primary cause of arterial compromise to be oversold to the point where people have been encouraged to almost expect to be invincible through dietary means.

It reminds me of a similar erasure of reality that is in some ways deeper and that is "forgetting" that weight loss is a natural part of the process of our bodies maintaining a constant flow of energy. The idea that weight loss is calorie restriction is a contrivance of the slimming industries. They were looking to switch our connection from identifying weight loss with this aspect of our body's easeful quiet self regulation, to their often obscenely punishing route to achieving it.

Dieters were eager to go along with this, for the same reason. It was demoralizing to keep a mental link with the body's elegant ability and the WLD's dreadful inability.

Now everyone, including many fat conscious people still repeat this lie as if it's the truth. The harm this does is it enables people to be prepared to do far more torturous things to lose weight, because it provokes less dissonance with idea of weight loss as intrinsically hellish. 

With this story, the lie has not bedded down enough to be that unshakeable in the face of fact. Luckily proper science has the upper hand there.

One of the few things that have really scared me from the start of my realization about the crusade was the regression into forgetting truths for pathology generating falsehoods.

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