I have launched a major effort to change the way we think about disease; whether it is mental for physical. EVERY chronic disease state exhibits elevated levels of inflammatory markers. The immune system is critical for survival and this inflammatory process is supposed to destroy invaders and subside after the threat has passed. However, when you are exposed to sustained threat, this inflammatory reaction will destroy your tissues. One of the responses is elevations of pro-inflammatory cytokines (very small proteins) that signal white blood cells to go to war against foreign invaders (antigens). Threats come in many forms. Here is a short list:
- Abusive family – health issues arising from an abusive past are serious.
- Chronic fear of authority – is a major reason why blacks have such a high mortality rate.
- Virus’s/ bacteria/ fungi
- Being the target of bullies – being bullied is a terrible threat and markedly elevates inflammatory markers.
- Repressed emotions – now being documented with brain imaging and blood tests
- Anxiety/ Anger – is an inflammatory reaction to threat. It is not primarily psychological.
- Body image/ eating issues – obsessive thought patterns are extremely disruptive.
- Chronic pain – impact has been documented to be similar to having terminal cancer (1).
The result is chronic disease:
- Anxiety/ Depression
- OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder)
- Cardiac disease
- Adult onset diabetes
- Autoimmune disorders
These are just a few examples of chronic illnesses that have serious implications for the COVID-19 lung problems. If you have an elevated baseline of inflammatory proteins, there is higher chance that you will cross the critical threshold of too many cytokines and become seriously ill. This inflammatory response causes the blood vessels to open up so plasma and white blood cells leak into your lungs. You cannot exchange air and you drown in your own fluids. It is not your immune system that causes death, it is the inflammatory response.
I put together this pamphlet that makes recommendations that will lower inflammation. There is no guarantee, of course, that they will keep you alive, but you can up the odds. None of these 10 recommendations are difficult and also have implications for solving other chronic diseases. There is no downside and a lot of potential upside. The more of these you can incorporate the better.
I am asking you to share this following overview with every person you know and also ask them to pass it along. Not only will you be better able to withstand the complications of the COVID-19 virus, you will be helping your friends, family, and colleagues. Every recommendation is based on decades of deep medical literature with the most basic one being that, “stress kills.” It is critical to ask the question, “Why?”
The “Thrive and Survive” overview
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, and after testing positive for the virus, David Hanscom, MD has been working with other health and medical professionals exploring the connection between inflammation and chronic disease through the lens of the Polyvagal Theory. Like David, the experts he teamed up with, are passionate about the well-being of ALL humanity. Together, they discovered various possibilities to recover from COVID-19 and the process is a similar to Dr. Hanscom’s method for relieving chronic pain. It is about paying attention to the small details.
Here is a link to the pdf entitled: Plan A – Thrive and Survive COVID-19. It’s a “How to” manual with steps to take on lower the pre-illness cytokine load. The key is to remain below the critical threshold where organ failure occurs. Essentially everyone that has not survived COVID-19 has another condition that is associated with elevated inflammatory cytokines. The manual is free of charge, available to anyone.
Experts including: Dr. Stephen Porges, originator of the Polyvagal Theory educated this team on how to interpret patient data in light of what is happening with the autonomic nervous system. Interventions can then be timed to support the natural sequence of fight, flight, freeze and faint. And, Dr. Clawson, a rehab physician explains cytokines. Specifically, how they link to inflammation and how to reduce it. The practical steps they suggest to support whatever phase of defense the body is in looks promising. By lowering your cytokine load before you are exposed, you should have a higher chance of staying below the critical cytokine threshold that causes death. Each step has a direct impact on lowering your inflammatory cytokine load.
In the meantime, here’s a link to the Psychology Today post which is an overview of the process. Feel free to post and forward to those who you believe will benefit. Implementing these tools have the potential to make an impact on this pandemic with well-established practices done in sequence.
Please copy and paste this overview and pass along.
Each person who improves their body’s defenses against threats, will be contributing to the overall solution for this pandemic.
We will be presenting Plan B, “Polyvagal and Global Cytokine Theory of Safety and Threat–Covid-19”, to the medical community shortly. There are many interventions that systematically applied will improve survival. Many have already been shown to be effective but are being used sporadically. If the mortality of the epidemic drops dramatically, this epidemic is over. Getting the virus is not a problem. It is the dying part of it all. Please help yourself and help those close to you.
- Fredheim OM et al. Chronic non-malignant pain patients report as poor health-related quality of life as palliative cancer patients. Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica (2008); 52: 143 – 148.