On Friday 21st August on Tony Eastley’s AM morning program on ABC Radio National there was a discussion on the alarming increase in juvenile diabetes in Australia. More Australian children are being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes than ever before. A new report reveals that were 900 new cases notified in 2007.
That represents a 30% increase in the number of new cases since 2000.
This means that Australia has the highest rate of Type 1 diabetes in the world – around 1000 children being diagnosed each year.
The report also looked at the increase in the incidence of Type 2 diabetes and that more Australians are developing the disease at a younger age.
Factors considered to contribute to the increase fell into three categories:
1/ A childhood virus that is part of a range of 17 viruses called enteroviruses – no concrete proof of this as a cause but considered by scientists to be a high likelihood (30% – >50%)
2/ Lack of Vitamin D – this consideration is based on studies, which correlate rates of diabetes in countries with low exposure to sunlight such as Finland and Scandinavia versus countries with high sunlight exposure. Again this is just considered to be a hypothesis – and a simplistic one at that.
3/ Bottle Feeding – early introduction of cow’s milk to the gut might inflame the gut or intestine of the baby and cause a development of an autoimmune response where the immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas.
Personally I was alarmed and but not shocked at the statistics.
In my clinical practice, the underlying cause of so many diseases that people present with stem from a digestive weakness.
And, as we can see from the above discussion, many Australians are suffering from an inherently weak digestive system. This means that no matter how high the quality of foods that we put into our bodies, the digestive system just cannot efficiently transform the incoming food into available energy.
Diabetes is the most serious disease outcome of this weakness, along a spectrum of other disorders that effectively sabotage the joy and energy available to us in our daily lives. This gives rise to a vast range of unpleasant symptoms such as sinusitis, chronic lethargy and tiredness, menstrual difficulties, anxiety and stress symptoms, allergies, acne and so on, to mention just a few!
I believe that the scientific approach outlined above leaves out one critical factor that underpins each of the three hypotheses described. That is the crucial mother-child bond that nature built into the birthing and early infancy process, but which is being negatively impacted by unnatural birthing methods, early weaning and premature separation of mother and child through early child-care practices.
The mother-child bond is critical to the baby’s health and relies on primary contact in early infancy and toddlerhood with the mother or primary care-giver. This does not include a mother substitute who divides her time between many children under supervision.
A healthy mother-child bond assures not only the emotional and mental wellbeing of the child but also has a powerfully positive effect on triggering the integrity of the physical digestive system.
A good healthy digestive system needs a natural birth to initiate healthy functioning, and close mother-baby contact through breast-feeding to ensure that the intake of food is associated with pleasure and contentedness.
An anxious baby whose emotional and close-proximity needs are not being met becomes anxious and fearful, setting off an inflammatory process throughout the body that centres in the digestive system. This also weakens the immune system, leaving the baby open to virus proliferation in the gut, as described above.
I wonder whether the fact that Finland and Scandinavia have a more enlightened approach to early mothering, exemplified by their much more time-generous allowance for parenting leave, is not a more realistic reason why there is a lower incidence of diabetes in the young in these countries.
From a Mind-Body perspective, emotional and mental factors cannot be separated from the physical – together they interact to produce either health or disease – and even more critically in the infant, when critical body systems are being kick-started. In fact, the patterns of health or disease set during these early days, are the ones that will persist throughout a lifetime.
Let’s go deeper than the surface when looking for the patterns of a disease that is undermining the health and wellbeing of our people. Birthing practices, breast-feeding and supporting mums to stay at home with their babies for as long as possible, seem to me to be the best ways that we can prevent the rise of this life-debilitating disease that produces its insidious effect in so many areas of our daily life.
My range of flower essences has a blend which might be useful to strengthen the bond, even years later.