Okay everybody, let’s talk about the concept of common versus normal. This topic came up in my house over the Thanksgiving weekend because often when we are with family and friends we talk to each other about our health and ailments. This becomes particularly true as we age and our health and workings of our body, or lack thereof, become more predominant. Often in these conversations about health people will bring up things like how they are getting migraines regularly or how all of the carbs at Thanksgiving dinner makes them constipated or how they just can’t get going in the morning without a cup of coffee. Then, to help support or soothe, a family member or friend might say, “Oh that’s normal, me too!” Often this helps a person to not feel so alone and causes them to stop worrying because they’re “normal.” The problem is that just because something is common does not mean it’s normal.
Our body wants what we want, which is to work like a well oiled machine no matter our age. This means our body wants to feel strong, sleep restfully, wake up refreshed, digest easily, sustain energy throughout the day and heal points of pain. We currently live in a society that is riddled with health issues both large and small and across all ages. Autoimmune disease in the United States is now recognized as a major health crisis that puts strain on the medical system by people who need support for many years and often decades. It is reported that one in 12 Americans, and one in nine women, have an autoimmune disease. And, data shows that there is a steady rise in autoimmune disease throughout western societies over the last few decades. Also, researchers state that environmental factors are a stronger influence on the development of autoimmune disease rather than genetics. This means that what we eat, the toxins in our homes, the chemicals on our food, the mold in the air we breathe and the stress in our lives plays a significant role in the development of autoimmune disease. Therefore, if our environment can trigger our body into a state of disease then it can also work towards staving off, preventing or possibly even reversing autoimmune disease. This is also called epigenetics—the study of turning on and off the expression of certain genes in our body based on how we live.
Common is Not Normal
So, all of this to say that many people are talking about health issues and problems, but just because so many people are talking about these things and experiencing these issues does not make them normal. It only makes them common. Therefore, the sooner we recognize that these issues are not normal and that our body is speaking to us about what it needs and wants in order to find healing and a greater sense of well-being and health, will we be able to make changes on both a micro and macro scale that can impact the health of ourselves, our children and greater society.
Work with Me!
If you have a list of health issues that bother you, but think you just need to deal with them “because it’s normal”; or you have some of the symptoms on my list below, then it may be time to explore those issues further to learn what they are trying to tell you about your overall health.
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15 things that are common, but not normal:
- Not pooping daily
- Bloating and gas after meals
- Consistently cold hands and feet
- Waking up tired and groggy
- Needing coffee or caffeine to wake up in the morning
- Waking up multiple times per night, awake for long periods at night, or not sleeping at night “because you’re in perimenopause/menopause.”
- Night sweats
- Heart palpitations
- Mid-afternoon fatigue fixed by caffeine
- Unexplained weight gain or loss
- Diarrhea or loose stools daily
- PMS—sugar cravings, headaches, sweating, mood swings, breakouts
- Waking up with joint aches in your 30’s thinking it’s just aging
- Eczema, rashes and hives
Autoimmune Diseases Around the World. (n.d.). Bingham Memorial Hospital. https://www.binghammemorial.org/Health-News/autoimmune-diseases-around-the-world
Prevalence of Autoimmune Diseases – Autoimmune Disease | Johns Hopkins Pathology. (n.d.). https://pathology.jhu.edu/autoimmune/prevalence/
Lerner, A. (2015, November 16). The World Incidence and Prevalence of Autoimmune Diseases is Increasing. http://pubs.sciepub.com/ijcd/3/4/8/