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Environmental medicine

Definition of environmental medicine:


Environmental medicine incorporates the medical care of individuals with health disorders or noticeable examination findings which are related, either by definition or in the opinion of a doctor, to environmental factors.

With the problem of ever-increasing industrialisation and the exposure of various types of toxic substances to the environment which accompanies it, the human body is exposed, day in and day out, to the presence of foreign bodies. Water, soil, air and food all belong to these harmful substances as much as medicines, dental alloys or personal and household care products.

As a consequence of this, issues related to environmental medicine and environmental hygiene always come under the spotlight of scientific interests, but it is also laymen and the general public who are getting involved as awareness in the area of scientific work leads to different toxic substances being held responsible for triggering or sustaining certain diseases. For example, PCP as a carcinogen; lindane, dichlofluanid and nerve damage; antibiotic-induced gut inflammation; stomach problems due to rheumatism medication; exposure to lead and kidney damage; exposure to copper and cirrhosis of the liver in infants; smoking and lung cancer; asbestos and lung cancer; nickel allergies; chlorine causing acne. The increase in allergic disorders over the last few years has been frightening. According to investigations in Baden-Wuerttemberg, 5% of all children here suffer from atopic syndromes or neurodermatitis. Materials that are examined are blood, urine, stools, breast milk, cord blood, breath or samples from organs or fatty tissue.

Acute exposure is best seen in the blood or urine (from a matter of hours to weeks, e.g. with mercury), and examinations of the bones and fatty tissue mirror long-term exposure, such as to lead and cadmium.

The skin and the mucosae in the gastro-intestinal tract and the lungs act as pathways for exposure to harmful substances.

Here, the percentage distribution through the huge surface area of the gut turns out to be to the disadvantage of the skin and lungs. The resorption surface of almost 400 m2 makes it possible for a huge amount of harmful substances to be absorbed and channelled into the body. This is where our diet plays an increasingly important role. Diagnosis and treatment must therefore encompass immune system activity, the normal bacterial composition of the gut and the corresponding measures. Microbiological therapy is the best option in this respect.

Fruit and vegetables are often exposed to endogenous toxins and pesticides. The level of lactobacilli in the large intestine is a deciding factor for the elimination of cancer-causing substances in the urine. With foods that have been exposed to pesticides, conserved and preserved food products can disrupt, damage or even destroy the biological balance and the physiological bacterial cultures.

It is not only at a macro level that a human being can damage this equilibrium; a “point of no return”, or irreversible damage, is also possible at a microcosmic level. It is, therefore, becoming increasingly important to consider possible consequences and the subsequent related therapy measures as early as possible.

Of course, not everyone who suffers from depression or eczema has been exposed to dental amalgams or wood-conditioning products, but isn’t it true that too many patients are diagnosed by us in the first place according to the saying: “Nothing can happen that isn’t allowed to happen, or what I don’t understand as a doctor, doesn’t exist”?

Therefore, here it is extremely important that medical history also covers the issue of possible existing environmental exposure and that this is subsequently reflected in the clinical diagnosis.

Illnesses with a possible link to the environment are:

• Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis

• food allergies with increased serum IgE

• tumours in the digestive tract, mouth and throat, oesophagus

• tumours in the stomach area

• tumours in the large intestine

In summary, you can also come to the conclusion that the microbiology in our gut, with all its different components, must be considered as an essential pathway for chronic diseases and that we should pay attention, in diagnosis and treatment, to a balanced, vitamin-rich, low-fat, micronutrient and fibre-enriched diet for our patients, i.e. “ill people”, but we should also explain the sense and use of this treatment to “healthy people” in the area of preventative medicine.

In this respect, special attention should be paid to harmful environmental toxins, which can end up in our bodies both through food and through the adverse effects of medical treatment.

Strict controls should also underlie the handling of medicines such as antibiotics, for as has been already explained, through this, the symbiosis of the body can suffer from substantial damage.



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