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The Forum > Article Comments > The frightening reality of chronic diseases > Comments

The frightening reality of chronic diseases : Comments

By Kevin Pittman, published 17/8/2005

Kevin Pittman argues we are fast running out of time in Australia to arrest the increasing incidence of chronic disease.

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Excellent article. We cannot keep expecting the health system to expand indefinitely to accomodate an ever increasing range of medical and pharmaceutical easy 'fixes'.

Most chronic disease is acquired gradually over many years through a combination of contributing factors - sedentary lifestyle, high stress levels, environmental pollutants, chemical-laden and nutrient-deficient food as well as hereditary factors. By the time disease is evident, as pointed out by Kevin, all the medical profession can do is treat the symptoms - at considerable cost to both the individual and the nation. The problems remain - the symptoms are just masked or controlled.

It is possible to reverse the progression of disease by addressing nutritional and lifestyle factors and to remain medication-free. If I'd listened to medical advice I'd be on anti-depressants for the rest of my life and would have gone onto develop adult-onset diabetes before too much longer.

There's a lot of good stuff happening in schools and in the wider community eg junkfood bans in tuckshops, walk-to-school groups and other sporting and recreational initiatives aimed at increasing physical activity.

It's only ever going to be scratching at the surface though until we address the problems with the every day food we eat. Few can afford the time and the money to source nutritionally rich and chemically free food and are forced to rely on the convenience of supermarkets. Unfortunately, most of the stuff on the shelves is total junk and a constant diet of it will lead to disease.
Posted by Bronwyn, Wednesday, 17 August 2005 2:19:31 PM
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The Dept of Health and Human Services in Tasmania has made the prevention and management of Chronic Conditions a "strategic priority" and their documents are well worth downloading from their website ( The principan and basic problem is that we do not have a health system in which primary care - keeping us well - is given given priority. We wait until we are sick before our system is interested. Education about chronic conditions should be intensive to educate people in their responsibiliies for their own health and well being. Inactive, apathetic people who are negative about the ageing process and their own situation will suffer a variety of chronic conditions, exacerbated by fractures from osteoporosis, depression from insomnia caused by the pain of arthritis and feelings of low self worth. Positive ageing programs must be promoted with utmost vigour if our health system, depleted with massive shortages of health professionals in the future, is not to be overwhelmed with inactive older people suffering from the awful but preventasble effects of social, physical and mental inactivity. The activities which will encourage positive ageing lifestyles are almost all provided by volunteers and self funded with no or very little Government support. This is a stupid economy. If there are people in the community who are prepared to put their time and effort into senior's activity programs, they should be able to access effective public sector support in respect of premises, insurance and personal transport assistance to participants. I hope this article is widely read.
Posted by Johntas, Wednesday, 17 August 2005 5:21:32 PM
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Thank you for your realistic article Kevin. I do hope more people will read it.

Johntas - spot on mate! Primary Health Care is the way to go! But the problem is - most medical practitioners and nurses either do not understand the notion of PHC - or they hold it in cursory regard.

If health professionals do not understand the underpinning principles, philosophies and strategies for implementing PHC - there is little hope that community individuals will understand the need for change or wish to change their lifestyle in order to prevent chronic illness.

And as for politicians supporting PHC - most unlikely.

Posted by kalweb, Wednesday, 17 August 2005 5:55:59 PM
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Politicians and doctors won't support primary health care, there is no money in it for them. I agree with you all, but as one that has certain allergies, I have been able to handle my condition without the aid of doctors, because they refuse to accept that dietary regime is important and just want to prescribe medication.

My allergies have meant that I have not eaten any dairies, eggs or processed foods for more than 30 years, except when tricked into it. To date I have not been ill, had a cold or virus and have only sought medical attention because of physical problems relating to age.

Yes the food in a supermarket, is total rubbish yet every day you see people filling their trolleys with every form of rubbish and little goodness.

You are right, the children of today may not live beyond their thirties because of chronic damage to their systems cause by non nutritional rubbish. Stem cell technologies may not help either as the whole system will probably collapse

A very recent study has shown that girls that have one serve of deep fried chips a week, have a 27% chance of getting breast cancer. It would be interesting to see the results regarding other so called foods. After all what tests have been done on the canola, cotton seed, and other sus, oils after they have been heated. None that I can find.
Posted by The alchemist, Saturday, 20 August 2005 10:54:09 AM
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Kevin is certainly right, chronic disease burden is likely to increase as excessive technology coupled with commercial pressures lead the community into eating junk, exercising little, and adopting values or aspirations that are stressful and unfulfilling.
And the really big chronic disease cause, as stated by another responder, is accelarating chemical exposure. One of the worst chemicals, that should be entirely preventable but for unfortunate political allegiance, is FLUORIDE exposure. Equally toxic as lead and arsenic, but strangely protected by environmental regulation and DHS policies.
While we get exposed to fluoride through industrial emission, toothpaste and dental applications, and pesticides - the entirely preventable source is the fluoride added to water supplies. It shouldn't be there.
Strong evidence has existed for decades that fluoride has numerous deleterious actions on our health. The most recent finding from the USA, of greatly increased rates of fatal bone cancer in young males exposed to fluoridated water, is simply shocking. The science-based FAN website [ ] has posts of both the scientific reports and news coverage, eg. the excellent Wall Street Journal piece of July 22. Chemical injury from all fronts is not being tackled adequately by the taxpayer funded authorities charged with protecting our health.
Posted by Ironer, Saturday, 27 August 2005 4:11:02 PM
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It is nice to see posts, that can see the probem and are in agreement.

Kevin is to be congratulated for bringing this frighteningt situation forward.

What worries me is that for a serious subject that is so important as this, there are but a few posts, whilst other threads which are just to do with ideology, are overflowing with posts.

It gives us an idea as to where peoples priorities are, certainly not with their own health or the future health of their children.

Which basically shows me that nothing will be done, because everyone is in a state of denial and the medical profession is controlled by the pharmecutical industry, which is alinged with the food processing industry, which funds the political parties.

After all the same companies make the chemical additives they place within food, as well as the drugs you take to mask the detrimental effects of those chemicals additives.
Posted by The alchemist, Saturday, 27 August 2005 5:59:01 PM
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