The Family Link in Developing Illness
by N J Howell
Symptoms of Heart Disease
Facing Bypass Surgery?
It runs in my family. How many times have I heard that as wellness counselor? Well, basically, almost every time I counseled anyone with heart disease or diabetes. I also heard it in my own family, where high blood pressure and heart disease were very common. Do we inherit our health destiny genetically? Is there anything we can do when it runs in the family?
Are you at Greater Risk of Heart Disease?
Have you heard the term "genetic predisposition"? If so, you may have heard it from your doctor, when being diagnosed with high blood pressure or some other precurser of heart disease. Your doctor may have said it runs in your family. What doc is really saying is that you have a greater risk for developing heart disease based on your family history. In other words, if heart disease runs in your family, you are considered more at risk for developing the condition than someone whose family was free from that health challenge.
I know about genetic predisposition. Every single adult in my immediate family has had some sort of heart or blood pressure issue. I mean both grandparents, both parents and all my siblings. While I'd be foolish to ignore such statistics, if I had accepted the fate of that "nothing I can do" prognosis, which would be "it runs in my family and so it's inevitable that I'll have it too", I would have probably died before 50 like my father did. Instead, I am the only person in my family that has typically had low blood pressure. I am the only person who has reached my 50's without being on heart medication.
So, did I escape the legacy? Not completely. I sometimes tend toward high cholesterol and have had to be aggressive in taking care of my own heart. Also, chronically low blood pressure has it's own health risks so there have been times when I've felt dizzy or light-headed because my blood pressure dipped a little too low. However, when I look at how my condition developed, I can see that it was my inability to handle stress and heartbreak in my life that was primary cause, not genetics.
Environmental Factors in It Runs in the Family Scenarios:
Environment was definitely a factor because I grew up in a very stressful home. I believe taking on the habits of over-stressing had as much to do with my cholesterol levels as anything I ate, though I know diet plays it's role as well.
Stored, cellular-level memories, or rather repressed memories where trauma had occurred and been buried. were also a factor in my case. It takes a lot of energy to repress trauma, energy the body needs for regeneration, rejuvenation and maintaining health. As a healing facilitator, I am very aware of cellular memory as a real phenomenon. Our cells record everything and my childhood taught me some dysfunctional ways to deal with stress; ways that internalized and caused the body systems to be chronically effected. I believe these learned behaviors may have actually created a genetic predisposition, which means that coping mechanisms I learned from my family actually changed me at a cellular level. Because the coping mechanisms I learned were not particularly effective, my body responded in the same way to stress as had my ancestors.
Dietary Factors in the it runs in my family scenario:
The diet I was raised on certainly had a cellular effect. My grandparents were farmers and, along with the nice homegrown veggies in the summer, we also ate lots of white flour, sugar, pork and beef cooked in lard, and other fried foods. Over time, I believe this diet literally taught my cells to be a certain way that was unhealthy.It was more than just impacting them; it was a sort of cellular programming.
Dietary impact goes beyond just the effect of a high fat meal on the system at that point. I believe it becomes a conditioned response of the body that, in a person with different cellular memory, might be far less harmful. In other words, a person without my cellular memory might eat that same high fat meal with less consequence. Consciousness is required to release cellular memory around inherited habits and behaviors.
The spiritual significance of physical illness: Although I believe that accepting a legacy of ill health just because it is prevalent in your bloodline is not spiritually beneficial, common health issues within a family point to common spiritual issues to be addressed. The bottom line is that physical illness has underlying mental, emotional and spiritual precursers to that illness. If a person with heart disease works to become spiritually grounded, more mentally clear and more emotionally stable, there is a direct physiological effect on the body that is very beneficial. In other words, you can just treat the body and have the conditon recur, or you can treat the whole being, and heal yourself for life.
Health Care Disclaimer: This holistic wellbeing information is not intended to replace any needed medical attention, evaluation, or treatment. If your doctor is addressing genetic predisposition, and you are entrusting your health to that doctor, then it's wise to follow their instructions as to preventative measures.