Monday, July 27, 2009

VDH - Volunteering for Disease?

Swine Flu is the sexy hot-button health topic, but there are greater tragedies unfolding right before our eyes.

I am going to call them the "Volunteer" disease habits. They each involve addiction, excess, and yes, the victims are doing it to themselves.

Today, we'll look at the "Big Three" VDH--- Volunteer Disease Habits.


Tobacco use is Number One. The worst Volunteer Disease Habit. The most preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States. And people buy it.

Each year, almost a half million Americans die in agony, before their time, from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. Another 9 million suffer serious illness caused by smoking.
For every person who dies from smoking, 20 more people suffer from at least one serious tobacco-related illness. 40 million Americans volunteer for this fate.

40 million U.S. adults smoke cigarettes. Smokeless tobacco, cigars, and pipes also kill by lung, larynx, esophageal, and oral cancers.

The Center for Disease Control studies show that more than 126 million nonsmoking Americans, including children and adults, regularly suffer secondhand smoke. Every year, an estimated 3,000 nonsmoking Americans die of lung cancer, more than 46,000 (range: 22,700–69,600) die of heart disease, and about 150,000–300,000 children younger than 18 months have lower respiratory tract infections.

This costs America about $100 billion per year medically, and and another $100 billion yearly from lost productivity.

Look at this graph, also from the U.S. Center for Disease Control---


Number two in Volunteer Disease habits is alcohol abuse--- defined as a pattern of drinking that results in harm to one’s health, interpersonal relationships or ability to work.

Who do you know who manifests these symptoms?

  • Failure to fulfill major responsibilities at work, school, or home.

  • Drinking in dangerous situations, such as drinking while driving or operating machinery.

  • Legal problems related to alcohol, such as being arrested for drinking while driving or for physically hurting someone while drunk.

  • Continued drinking despite ongoing relationship problems that are caused or worsened by drinking.

Long-term alcohol abuse can turn into alcohol dependence.

Liver disease, colon cancer, blackouts, hepatitis, heart disease, and so many more.

And we could spend hours listing the long trail of societal horrors from alcohol abusers. But why should we? We read them every day. Murder, rape, assaults, car deaths, etc etc.

One glass of wine a day, good for you. But when you find yourself pouring the second, you soon may be pouring the third. Then there is beer, megapacks, buckets. kegs. And whiskey. And the fruit-masked mixed drinks.

Binges. The hair of the dog. Anything to reduce inhibitions, right? Ask yourself this, why do you need inhibitions, in the first place?


Number three... Obesity is the fastest-growing (no pun intended) Volunteer Disease Habit.
40% of Americans will be obese in five years at the current rate. Right now, close to 60 million Americans are obese. 30 or more pounds over a healthy weight.

Almost 65% are either obese or overweight, 10 to 30 pounds over a healthy weight. They are disabled, in growing numbers, by diabetes, heart disease, cancer, just for starters.
Then there are the "morbidly obese", an alarmingly rapidly increasing group, people trapped in fat-bound bodies, virtual prisoners of encasing fat.

Gluttony may be linked to some forms of impulsivity or even mental illness.

Research is being done, but the concept of "comfort food", junk food, high-caloric-density food of low nutritional value, huge caloric intakes... white flour, fried food grease, high-fructose corn syrup, sedentary lives, machine-bound, they all sufferer. And tragically, they are doing it to themselves--- volunteering for disease.

What will be their suffering, the price they have to pay? A terrifying list, promising fear, agony, and death---

  • Coronary heart disease

  • Type 2 diabetes

  • Cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)

  • Dyslipidemia (for example, high total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides)

  • Stroke

  • Liver and Gallbladder disease

  • Sleep apnea and respiratory problems

  • Osteoarthritis (a degeneration of cartilage and its underlying bone within a joint)

  • Gynecological problems (abnormal menses, infertility)

So, the "Big Three" Volunteer Diseases. How can they be stopped?

If you are a sufferer of any of these, ask for help. Your denial is your worst enemy.
Face what you are doing to yourself.

No doubt you're already tried to stop, but failed, maybe many times.
Ask for help!

Meanwhile, President Obama's health plan is stalled.

Without Republican votes, Democrats can't push it through congress. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs insists that bill will pass by year's end. But Senate Democrat Kent Conrad, a leader in the bipartisan Senate Finance Committee negotiations on healthcare, seemed much less confident.

Remember, each of us is on our own.

No health plan can turn back the clock on the damage we self-inflict on our bodies.

Don't Volunteer and support a VDH lifestyle habit that devastates your own health!


  1. Yes, people make choices which could lead to death or disease. Its always been so and always will be because these things have some benefits. If we are prospering in this world then these diversions are more of a choice, and if we are destitute they are just the thing to make life bearable. Either way, people do things for a reason, not because they are blind to the consequences.

    (I guess I should point out that there is very little science behind either of the panics over second hand smoke or obesity; they end up being moral rather than health issues...and smokers actually save the system money in the long run; do a little research instead of repeating the same old mythologies).

    The ultimate issue though here is that life is short and there is nothing wrong with getting a little bit of pleasure while you can. As one person once said "health is something you should use up". Don't smoke, don't drink, don't eat processed food, avoid sex and people who do these things, and you will be healthier, but guess what, you still die.

    I am not a raving smoking alcoholic but I do enjoy these pleasures from time to time and I despair of a world without them. And I am annoyed that puritan impulses such as yours are making my pleasures more expensive.

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