Daily Choices – Lifetime Consequences

I’m writing this a my mother is in the hospital facing life threatening condition which can be directly linked back to simple daily dietary choices she has made over her lifetime.

Today she is has one or several veins in her small intestine which are bleeding, not bleeding a lot, but these seldom heal on their own. So let me go back 20, 30, or 40 years to see what led her to this point.

My mom loved to eat and always battled a weight problem since I was a young child. Of course in the 60’s and 70’s we didn’t know what we know today, but we ate good – white bread, pancakes, Captain Crunch (with an extra spoon of sugar) potatoes, etc. We had lots of good high glycemic foods. My brother and and I have kept our weight in line, but mom was always overweight. Today we call this Metabolic Syndrome.

So fast forward to the 90’s. She developed type 2 diabetes. Though she’s never been insulin dependant she watched what she ate, but unfortunately still had a sweet tooth and at the wrong foods which spiked her blood sugar daily – her favorite breakfast was a bowl of instant oatmeal which spiked her blood sugar first thing in the morning and then started the day long sugar/insulin roller coaster. So even though her pancreas continued to produce some insulin (so she never needed more than oral medication)

We all know diabetes is a bad disease, but it isn’t a disease, it is directly caused by dietary choices. Each time the blood sugar spikes it causes inflammation and damage throughout your body – you don’t feel bad, but you are being burned up internally.

So for Mom one of the complications of the the continual spiking of her blood sugar was repeated damage to her kidneys which eventually in the late 90’s led to renal failure (kidney disease) and eventually spending 4 hours every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday hooked up to a kidney dialysis machine.

They have made great strides in dialysis. it used to be that once you started dialysis your life expectancy was just a few years, but now people can live much longer, but it isn’t a good life. The dialysis machine is a poor substitute for our kidney’s and there are many minerals (potassium and phosphorus for example) which the machine can’t remove, so your diet is extremely limited as to what you can eat. One of the medications which must be taken costs $800 per month!!!

Now fast forward to 2003 when she began to develop ischemic colitis, this is where the bowl becomes inflamed and bleeds. 82% of dialysis patients will develop this or other vascular problems. Sometimes it could be ruptured blood vesicles in the eyes, under the skin, or other organs. So over the next few years she had multiple trips to the hospital and eventually most of her colon removed to control the bleeding. All was good then for the last couple of years, but now blood vesicles are rupturing in her small intestine and she is bleeding at a rate that she requires one to two units of blood every other day or so.

So back to today. She is almost 90, mentally she is sharp as a tack, and enjoys life. but surgery isn’t an option because of her weak heart (another side effect of poor dietary choices and diabetes) so if they can cauterize the bleeding spot with an endoscope (it can reach the first few feed of the small intestine) then she’ll be good for a while, if not, then she can’t live on continuous blood transfusions because of the dangerous iron build up. so the only option will be to make her comfortable (i.e. loaded full of pain meds and made nearly unconscious) and stop the blood transfusions and she will bleed to death in a few days. Not the way leave this life.

So for mom it is too late to make changes, but what can you do? Look at every bite of food which you put in your mouth. Comfort food is not comforting as this is the uncomfortable end it causes. It is simple choices, eat the 5-9 servings of vegetables a day. A simple rule of thumb is don’t eat anything white – white bread, white rice, potatoes, etc. As one expert said “If it doesn’t look the way it did when it came out of the ground or it didn’t have a mother – Don’t eat it!” so Cheetos don’t grow on trees and I’ve never seen a Cheetos being born.

For an excellent presentation Click here and click on the “Listen Now” link for a recorded webcast which explains what you can do to make sure you don’t end up on this path as well.