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  Therapeutic Fasting  
 
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The human body is designed with the capacity to fast. Although fasting is safe as well as effective, it is advisable to be under medical supervision when on any extended fast. Fasting is very different than malnutrition. A poor quality diet consumed for a month results in a lowered state of health. Fasting, on the other hand, gives the body the opportunity to cleanse and heal itself. When free from the responsibilities of digestion, the capacity for self-restoration is enhanced.

  • Fasting leads to detoxification and improvement in organ function simultaneously.
  • Fasting often achieves results where other methods have failed.
  • Therapeutic fasting accelerates the healing process and allows the body to recover from serious disease in a dramatically short period of time.
  • Fasting is inexpensive and universally available
Nature tells us to fast. When we have no appetite during an acute illness, fasting is nature's way to accelerate recovery. Feeding the sick individual when his digestive powers are diminished only serves to further complicate the illness. During an acute viral illness, fasting activates white blood cells and causes more interferon to be produced. When non-human animals feel sick, they do not eat. Listen to your body when you are sick and have no appetite. Fast for a few days, then proceed to a light diet of fruit and salad vegetables for a few days and you will quickly recover your health.

Diseases responding to fasting
Conditions such as headaches, hypoglycemia, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, acne and eczema, infections, tinnitus, vertigo, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, cervical dysplasia, chronic neck and back pain, polymyalgia rheumatica, and many others are helped by fasting.

Physicians who have used this approach have recorded improvement or recovery from conditions of every description that patients had been needlessly suffering with for years. Besides the diseases already mentioned, one should assume that in the vast majority of chronic medical conditions this approach may give the disease sufferer the best chance to achieve a complete recovery and avoid a lifetime of suffering or medical treatments.

Sometimes when people try to make major dietary changes without the benefit of fasting they become frustrated. Beneficial changes that can take months or years with careful eating happen quickly if a fast is utilized. Once a person begins to realize the health potential and can see the results, he or she is more likely to become committed to a lifetime of healthful living.

The withdrawal symptoms of addiction to such drugs as alcohol, cocaine, nicotine and caffeine are resolved quickly while fasting. Most people are amazed at how easy it is to quit smoking while fasting. Those who have fasted begin to respect their body in a new way that enables them to take better care of themselves in the future.

Cautions
Conditions for which fasting is not recommended include extreme weakness or debilitation, severe anemia, nutritional deficiencies, porphyria, evidence of weakened kidney or liver function, and pregnancy. Malnourished patients with cancer or AIDS should not fast. Medications should be tapered and discontinued prior to fasting whenever possible.

A very useful book is Fasting and Eating for Health, A Medical Doctor's Program For Conquering Disease. by Joel Fuhrman, MD. 1995. Excerpts from selected chapters can be viewed from one of his web pages.

My very favorite site for insights and motivation for fasting is FreedonYou - for all you are meant to be. There is lots there, as they freely share about this powerful experience. Please consider buying any of their books also, in preparation for the fast that is right for you.

Another source of information on the value of intermittent fasting is well worth checking out. It promotes the idea that there are many benefits gained from fasting for 24 hours once or twice a week. Here is the link.

To prepare the body for a longer fast, it is good to take a few days to a week eliminate certain foods from the diet. Gradually eliminate caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, sugar, red meats and animal foods, milk and dairy products, eggs, and on the last day, nutritional supplements. Many benefit by consuming only fruits and vegetables for 3 to 4 days before they begin the fast. This will begin the detoxification process slowly, so that the actual fasting may be less intense. Colon cleansing by enema or colonic should be done a few times during the first week to ensure the bowel is empty.

Recovery comes in stages.
  • Stage 1 is a time of general excitation of the involuntary nervous system, lasting one to three days. Cleaning of the gastrointestinal tract takes place here and into stage 2. The body's innate energies formerly concerned with handling the digestive metabolic load are freed, allowing the body a chance to restore natural health and bring about a state of homeostasis.
  • Stage 2 is a time of inhibition, continuing from day two or three to the end of the first week and sometimes even into the second week. There is increasing evidence of acidosis, the presence of hypoglycemia and depression. The cleansing process is very evident in marked signs of toxicity, the return of former physical symptoms, and a dulling of mental processes, and sometimes an overwhelming sense of fatigue and the need to rest. There is generally a loss of appetite, and the tongue is likely to become coated.
  • Stage 3 is a time of gradual recovery, which most fasters do not go beyond during their initial experience. It is a time of normalization with its accompanying feeling of well being, usually far surpassing the pre-existing state.
  • Stage 4 is the time of full recovery.
Regarding the role of exercise, opinions vary from bed rest to long periods daily of walking, cycling or swimming. A middle of the road policy is best with individual variations to suit the particular faster. This is a good time for resting and reading.

It is important to keep dentures in the mouth, biting on them to keep the gums in condition or there may be such shrinkage that by the end of the fast the plates no longer fit. Be consistant about drinking at least 1 cup of water for every 20 pounds of weight.

Breaking the fast should be done gradually. The longer the fast, the greater amount of time should be taken to reintroduce solid foods. There are different protocols for reintroducing foods, but basically start by eating fruit or raw or cooked low-starch vegetables, such as greens or broth. This can be followed with salads and soups, then grains such as rice or millet and then nuts, seeds and legumes. Your normal diet (or a new improved version) can be taken within 2 days after ending a shorter fast or 4-7 days after a longer one.

As you continue to add foods, pay close attention to how your body responds to them. People have discovered foods they are allergic or sensitive to. If a particular food upsets you, try it again in a week or so. If it is still upsetting, perhaps you should eliminate it from your diet for an extended time.

"Man lives on one quarter of what he eats. On the other three quarters lives his doctor." Inscription on Egyptian pyramid, 3800 BC.

If you would like to go on an extended fast but can not find anyone locally to supervise it for you, there is a service that might be just right for you. Fasting Center International comes highly recommended and allows you to fast at home - yet receive the assistance you need for a successful and safe fast. Dennis Paulson, founder and director of FCI, will oversee your fast for a very reasonable fee. Please have a look at his website.
 

 
 

Therapeutic Fasting can help with the following:
 
 
Addictions  Addictions / Addictive Tendencies
 Fasting makes it easier to overcome bad habits and addictions. Many people have overcome tobacco and alcohol cravings, and even drug addictions, by fasting.

  Current Smoker
 Most people are amazed at how easy it is to quit smoking while fasting. Fasting makes it easier to overcome a tobacco addiction by reducing the craving for nicotine.

  Alcohol-related Problems
 Fasting makes it easier to overcome bad habits and addictions. Many people have overcome tobacco and alcohol addictions, and even drug addictions, by fasting. Fasting rapidly dissipates the craving for alcohol.

  Cocaine Addiction
 Fasting makes it easier to overcome bad habits and addictions. Many people have overcome tobacco and alcohol addictions, and even drug addictions, by fasting. Fasting rapidly dissipates the craving for drugs.

Allergy

  Allergic Rhinitis / Hay Fever
 Fasting lowers the allergic reactions producing hay fever.

Autoimmune

  Autoimmune Tendency
 Dr. Joel Fuhrman, M.D. has spent much of his professional life treating disease by fasting his patients. He has an entire chapter in his book, Fasting and Eating for Health, dedicated to the subject of autoimmune disease. He is convinced that fasting with subsequent dietary changes is a much superior approach to autoimmune disease than conventional treatments.

  Crohn's Disease
 Fasting is an important element of treatment if a sustained remission is to be expected.

  Sarcoidosis
 A small study carried out in the Balkans suggested some therapeutic benefit could be attained for patients with sarcoidosis by therapeutic fasting for those with the early stage of the disease (duration less than one year). [Ter. Arkh. 1996; 68(3): pp.83-87]

Address to the Republican Scientific and Practical Conference, Saint-Petersburg, Russia (Year unknown). [Abstract of a paper entitled Efficiency of Fasting Therapy in Patients with Sarcoidosis of the Lungs by Baranova, O P; Ilkivich, M M; Novikova, L N; Sess, T P; Nikikonov, L N.]

The authors applied fasting therapy following the method developed by the Research Institute of Pulmonology to treat 52 patients with sarcoidosis of the lungs (below as the SL). The duration of the fasting period was 14 days in average. By the end of the fasting improved general state was reported for 75% of patients, they ceased to complain about weakness, coughing, short breath, and arthralgia. In the one third of the SL-1 patients without prescription of corticosteroids, the sizes of the lymph nodes of the mediastinum were visible as reduced at the roentgenograms.

For the half of the SL-2 patients, the lungs outline on the roentgenograms became more distinct, the dissemination of the seats and sizes of lymph nodes in the mediastinum decreased. The comprehensive roentgeno-functional and radio-nuclide investigation testified to the positive dynamics of the indices of the regional ventilation and pulmonary perfsion in 61% of SL-2 patients and 19% of SL-3 patients after the fasting.

After the treatment was over, in 6 and 12 months this above positive dynamics was retained. The majority of the patients (68%) displayed a marked tendency towards the normalisation of the indices of the immune homeostasis. The remote results of the fasting were traced in 17 (from 52) patients: in a year positive dynamics was marked in 14 (from 17) (82%); the stabilisation of the pathology took place in 2 more patients, and in one patient only the SL recurrence was noted.

The authors think that fasting is recommendable in the SL-1 as a monotherapy, in the SL-2 as a monotherapy or combined with further usage of corticosteroids, in the SL-3 it can be used to diminish side effects due to corticosteroids and to stimulate their endogenic synthesis. The attendant pathologies, like obesity, peptic ulcer and hypertension, serve as additional indications for fasting therapy.

  Ulcerative Colitis
 Short fasts can be beneficial, giving the entire organism an opportunity to restore its cellular and immunogenic integrity.

In [Triumph Over Disease by Fasting And Natural Diet] 1977 by Dr. Jack Goldstein (D.P.M.), Dr. Goldstein gives a detailed account of a six-week fast he undertook in a controlled environment and under the supervision of a doctor - which literally saved his life. He also describes his new way of life based on the principles of a natural vegetarian diet.

  Lupus, SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythromatosis) / Risk
  Hyperthyroidism
  Chronic Thyroiditis

Not recommended for:
  Multiple Sclerosis / Risk

Circulation

  Phlebitis / Thrombophlebitis
 Increased fibrinolysis during fasting may account for the dramatic improvement seen when patients suffering from thrombophlebitis fast.

  Hypertension
 Fasting is a way to correct high blood pressure without drugs. Fasting will normalize blood pressure in the vast majority of cases; the blood pressure will remain low after the fast if a person follows a health-supporting diet and lifestyle.

  Atherosclerosis
  Angina

Not recommended for:
  Anemia (Iron deficiency)
 Fasting should be avoided in severe cases of iron deficiency anemia.

Diet

Not recommended for:
  Underconsumption
 An underweight condition may be benefitted by water fasting with subsequent weight gain. A state of chronic undereating should not be fasted.

  Protein Deficiency
 Fasting should not be used when there is malnutrition.

Digestion

  Dyspepsia / Poor Digestion
 Fasting gives the digestive system a much-needed rest. After fasting, both digestion and elimination are invigorated.

  Hydrochloric Acid Deficiency
 Fasting gives the digestive system a needed break from the nearly constant effort that is required to process what we swallow. Unless we have been eating very healthfully, and sometimes even if we have, fasting will provide a period of rest to allow digestive rejuvenation to occur.

  Constipation
 Water or juice fasting is indicated for those with constipation, and many times the fast will produce more regular bowel movements.

Environment / Toxicity

  General Detoxification Requirement
 Remember, that during a water or juice fast, it is important to keep your colon clean. This can be accomplished by consuming homemade 'shakes' with psyllium seed husks and bentonite clay several times a day and/or doing enemas during this time. Keeping the colon clean helps in the detoxification process. Fiber and bentonite clay tend to hold onto toxins and carry them out of the body.

Hormones

  Hypothyroidism
 Low levels of thyroid hormones may return to normal after a lengthy fast.

  Hyperprolactinemia
 Therapuetic fasting will sometimes shrink noncancerous growths such as adenomas.

Immunity

  Chronic Fatigue / Fibromyalgia Syndrome
 Fasting is reported to help in cases of fibromyalgia, but probably not chronic fatigue syndrome.


Not recommended for:
  AIDS / Risk
 Extended fasting should be avoided in AIDS patients, who tend to be malnourished already.

Infections

  Colds and Influenza
 It is generally best not to eat for at least a day when sick with a cold or flu. Not eating will help your immune system to concentrate on the battle taking place. Fasting is more likely to make a difference with the flu than with a simple cold.

  Sinusitis
 Dietary improvements can be helpful in relieving sinus congestion but fasting may be needed for more resistant cases.

Inflammation

  Chronic Inflammation
 Fasting promotes the resolution of inflammatory processes, as seen, for example, in rheumatoid arthritis.

Lab Values

  Hypoalbuminemia (A low albumin level)

Mental

  Anxiety
 Fasting has been repeatedly observed to alleviate anxiety and neuroses by improved brain functioning.

  Depression

Metabolic

  Problem Caused By Being Overweight
 There is an excellent article by Dr. Mercola describing the benefits of exercising while fasting. There are ways to make this very doable. If done on a regular basis, extra weight will be lost without any more exertion than you would have expended anyway. The article is worth reading!

  Headaches, Migraine/Tension
 It is believed by those specializing in detoxification that the major cause of both tension headaches and migraines is the retention of toxins or tissue irritants within the central nervous system. These chemical irritants may cause an oversensitivity of nerve tissues to other stimuli, resulting in headache. Drugs for relieving pain are rarely necessary if headache sufferers are allowed to fast and detoxify at the first sign of headache symptoms.

During periods when you are not ingesting harmful food substances or drugs, your body will often use that opportunity to detoxify, which may initiate another headache. This is the time when you must try to use non drug measures such as cold compresses, rest in a dark room, banding with Velcro, and biofeedback.

Headaches can also be caused and worsened by not eating. The reason is that not eating triggers withdrawal symptoms as the body begins to detoxify and get rid of retained toxins. Remember: For a short time you may feel bad so that for a long time you can feel good. Persistent severe headaches that do not respond within a few days of fasting should always be further evaluated by a physician.

  Edema (Water Retention)
 Fasting promotes the drying up of abnormal fluid accumulations, such as edema in the ankles and legs and swelling in the abdomen.

  Hypoglycemia
 In severe cases, additional methods of support besides diet may be needed and perhaps the best of these is fasting. Fasting is a useful, inexpensive and universally available treatment for hypoglycemia. The fast allows the entire system to restore its cellular integrity.

  Problem Caused By Being Underweight
 "There is no reason why the emaciated person should not fast. Indeed, there is often every reason why he should. The fast is sometimes the only thing that will enable him to gain weight. Special weight gaining diets are not required. . . .

I am convinced, from my own experience with patients, that a too rapid gain in flesh following the fast does not build as solid and healthful flesh as a slow rate of gain. Milk diet enthusiasts produce a flesh-gain after a fast, by their over-feeding, which is almost as rapid as the loss during the fast. But such flesh is watery, flabby and soon lost when one becomes active and returns to other foods. I prefer to feed patients an abundance of fresh fruits and green vegetables and limited quantities of proteins, starches and fats. Flesh gained at a slower rate is more solid and stays with the patient. A too rapid growth in children is not productive of sound tissue. I am convinced that the same is true of a too rapid gain after a fast.

A few do not gain rapidly for more than a week or two weeks after breaking the fast. With many, a short fast does not suffice to occasion a gain in weight. Many factors are at work to prevent a gain in these cases and the short fast is not sufficient to restore the nutritive functions to a vigorous state.

The most rapid gains in weight are seen after a long fast. All cases, however, will gain at a fairly rapid rate if the underlying causes of defective nutrition are corrected. This depends on many factors other than fasting and the intelligent person, be he doctor or patient, will not fail to attend to all necessary factors and influences.

In those animals that periodically undergo protracted periods of fasting, a tendency to acquire, during the feeding season, large stores of fat, is seen. Among these animals, as the Russian bear and the Alaskan fur-seal bull, the period of abstinence from food is often of long duration, so that a large supply of nutriment is necessary. Frequent fasting in man may result in the same tendency although I have never seen a clear case of the development of such a tendency from repeated fasts." [The Hygienic System By Herbert M. Shelton, D.P., N.D., D.C., D.N.T., D.N. Sc., D.N. Ph., D.N. Litt., Ph. D., D. Orthp.]

  Tinnitus
  Meniere's Disease

Not recommended for:
  Gilbert's Syndrome
 Those with Gilbert's syndrome are poor candidates for water fasting, a process that stresses the liver's detoxification systems and can lead to the development of significant jaundice.

  Anorexia / Starvation Tendency
  Acute, Intermittent Porphoria
 There is some evidence that starvation is particularly bad for patients with AIP and you should avoid going without food for more than 12 hours if possible, particularly, you should avoid diets which involve stringent reductions in food intake or fasting.

Musculo-Skeletal

  Rheumatoid Arthritis
 The fast allows the entire system to restore its cellular and immunogenic integrity. Fasting can cause regression of some autoimmune and inflammatory disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis. [Controlled trial of fasting and a one-year vegetarian diet eased symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. The Lancet, 1991, 338]

  Dupuytren's Contracture
 A period of fasting, at least 3-5 days, at the beginning of local treatment may be helpful.

  Muscle Pains (Myalgia)
  Neck Pain / Problems

Not recommended for:
  General Weakness
 Fasting should not be employed if a general weakness exists due to malnutrition.

Nervous System

  Neuritis/Neuropathy
 In severe cases, a short juice fast for four or five days with carrot, beet, citrus fruits, apple and pineapple may be used to hasten the recovery process prior to an alkalinizing diet.

Nutrients

Not recommended for:
  Multiple Vitamin Need
 Major nutritional deficiencies may best be corrected prior to the start of a lengthy fast. Supplementation during a fast is also a possibility.

  Multiple Mineral, General Requirement
 Major nutritional deficiencies may best be corrected prior to the start of a lengthy fast. Supplementation during a fast is also a possibility.

Organ Health

  Liver Detoxification / Support Requirement
 Fasting has a powerful effect on improving liver function, an effect which continues after the fast. However, fasting should be avoided in cases of severe liver disease or failure.

  Pancreatitis
 In one 1988 trial of 88 people with acute pancreatitis, fasting was found better than any other medical intervention. Neither nasogastric suction or cimetidine were found to produce as beneficial effects as those from fasting.

  Vertigo
  Hepatitis
 Extended fasting should be avoided in cases of compromised liver function. However, people with Hepatitis C have juice fasted successfully and reported many benefits, including improved liver function.

Here is a testimony from one person with Hepatitis C who tried fasting.


"I picked up a Hepatitis-C virus from a blood transfusion in 1989. I was unaware of it at the time. This, compounded by poor eating and lifestyle habits, resulted in a gradual deterioration in my general health. I'd had a great fitness program, and I was consistent with it, but it gradually began to falter. I became unable to work out as much, I didn't recover as fast, and I began needing more and more bed rest. This continued for about three years, until I was nearly bedfast, sleeping often in excess of 14 hours per day, and totally unable to work out at all. I also suffered from a cognitive disorder I can only describe as 'having a cloud in my head.'

"During this time, I would have regular medical checkups. I complained that I felt tired. Doctors ran tests, but found nothing. They said, "You're okay." Eventually, things were so bad I began looking for second and third options--other doctors, who finally diagnosed Hepatitis-C and Chronic-Fatigue Immune-Deficiency Sydrome. They gave me Interferon for 6 months. It made me sick and poor, but not healthy. The end result? I had spent my living, and had suffered much at the hands of physicians, but grew no better, only worse. Western Medicine had no answers for me.

"I began studying alternative medicines and treatments. I went to a chiropractic nutritionist, and a homeopath. I got some relief there, but my nutritionist recommended a fasting clinic--water-fasting for a month, for detoxification (to remove the basic CAUSE of the problem). The cost, and relocation, would have set me back around $8,000. By this time, I'd been struggling for 5 years, my business was all but shot, and I didn't have the money.

"I was inspired with an idea: Search the Internet for information on fasting. Enter Dennis Paulson/Fastmaster, and Fasting Center International. I checked it out very thoroughly and decided to go for it. I opted for 66 days (my age figure plus 17, for complete detoxification). The total cost was $728.70 (most of which I saved on solid foods not taken during the 66-day Program). I was able to stay home and work. Amazingly, despite the fact I wasn't eating solid foods, my energy increased exponentially. I went from an estimated 3-5% energy leve--nearly bedfast--to an average of 65%, with peaks of 70-75%. . .once again able to run my business, as well as compose music (which I'd not done in two years). My weight dropped from 207 to 156 lbs. I lost 51 pounds in 56 days of actual fasting. I saved $7,271.30.

"I waited before writing this. I didn't want to be caught up in the excitement of the moment, and I wanted to see what would happen after the fast. Would the energy flag? Would I get fat again. . .put the weight back on? I wanted to see this, before I put my name on this page.

"Since the fast--one month--I have put on 7 pounds. This is exactly what I was told would happen (primarily fecal matter back into the colon). Net loss: 44 pounds. Energy level: 80-85%, with peaks to 90-92%, and my mind is clear, once again. Yes, I needed this. I needed to lose the toxic waste I'd dumped into ME for over 39 years. I no longer desire caffeine, or high-fat foods, or processed sugars. It's easy to eat right, NOW! This Program WORKS!!!

"Yes, I DID consider trying it on my own. . .save the 700 bucks. Why spend it? I've got a strong mind, and am a great do-it-yourself-and-save-a-buck kinda guy! Maybe I could teach myself. . .read a few books? I chose not to. I am grateful that I made that choice. In retrospect, I realize I could NOT have done it myself. Quite simply, I had no experience to gauge this experience by, and none of those books' authors were available for crisis-intervention questions. In my toxic condition, great and terrible amounts of toxic garbage were released into my system daily. Without the expert tutelage of Dennis Paulson, I'd never have made it.

  Diabetes Type II
  Diverticular Disease
 Water or juice fasting can provide an opportunity for recovery during times of inflammation.

  Increased Risk of Diabetes ll
  Glaucoma/Risk
 While the intraocular pressure in glaucoma falls during a fast, it would be a mistake to remove medication prematurely and fail to monitor eye pressure carefully. Glaucoma can be helped by fasting but you should not assume the gains made during the fast will be permanent.


Not recommended for:
  Kidney Weakness / Disease
 It is important to determine if there is any known pathology with regard to kidney issues. Water fasting or urine fasting may be appropriate in some cases. This is a condition where checking with your Naturopath is advised.

  Kidney Failure
 Lengthy fasting should generally be avoided by people with renal failure. Short-term fasts may be helpful, but must be done under an experienced doctor's supervision.

Pain

  Low Back Pain / Problems

Respiratory

  Asthma
 Fasting lowers the allergic reactions causing asthma.

Risks

  Increased Risk of Coronary Disease / Heart Attack

Skin-Hair-Nails

  Eczema
  Psoriasis
  Adult Acne
 Fasting clears the skin and whitens the eyes. It is a common experience to see skin eruptions clear while fasting.

  Adolescent Acne
 Fasting clears the skin and whitens the eyes. It is common to see skin eruptions clear while fasting.

Uro-Genital

  Cervical Dysplasia
 Cervical dysplasia is helped by fasting.


Not recommended for:
  Possible Pregnancy-Related Issues
 Fasting should be avoided during pregnancy.
 
 


KEY
May do some good
Likely to help
Highly recommended
May have adverse consequences
Reasonably likely to cause problems
Avoid absolutely







GLOSSARY

Acne:  A chronic skin disorder due to inflammation of hair follicles and sebaceous glands (secretion glands in the skin).

Acute:  An illness or symptom of sudden onset, which generally has a short duration.

AIDS:  Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. An immune system deficiency disorder that suddenly alters the body's ability to defend itself. The AIDS virus invades the T4 helper/inducer lymphocytes and multiplies, causing a breakdown in the body's immune system, eventually leading to overwhelming infection and/or cancer, with ultimate death.

Anemia:  A condition resulting from an unusually low number of red blood cells or too little hemoglobin in the red blood cells. The most common type is iron-deficiency anemia in which the red blood cells are reduced in size and number, and hemoglobin levels are low. Clinical symptoms include shortness of breath, lethargy and heart palpitations.

Autoimmune Disease:  One of a large group of diseases in which the immune system turns against the body's own cells, tissues and organs, leading to chronic and often deadly conditions. Examples include multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus, Bright's disease and diabetes.

Cancer:  Refers to the various types of malignant neoplasms that contain cells growing out of control and invading adjacent tissues, which may metastasize to distant tissues.

Cardiovascular:  Pertaining to the heart and blood vessels.

Cervical Dysplasia:  Abnormal cells on the surface of the cervix, classified as either mild (70% of cases fall into this category; the cells regress on their own), moderate, or severe, or as class 1, 2 or 3. While dysplasia itself does not cause health problems, it is considered to be a precancerous condition. Left untreated, dysplasia sometimes progresses to an early form of cancer known as cervical carcinoma in situ, and eventually to invasive cervical cancer.

Chronic:  Usually Chronic illness: Illness extending over a long period of time.

Colon:  The part of the large intestine that extends to the rectum. The colon takes the contents of the small intestine, moving them to the rectum by contracting.

Diabetes Mellitus:  A disease with increased blood glucose levels due to lack or ineffectiveness of insulin. Diabetes is found in two forms; insulin-dependent diabetes (juvenile-onset) and non-insulin-dependent (adult-onset). Symptoms include increased thirst; increased urination; weight loss in spite of increased appetite; fatigue; nausea; vomiting; frequent infections including bladder, vaginal, and skin; blurred vision; impotence in men; bad breath; cessation of menses; diminished skin fullness. Other symptoms include bleeding gums; ear noise/buzzing; diarrhea; depression; confusion.

Eczema:  Swelling of the outer skin of unknown cause. In the early stage it may be itchy, red, have small blisters, and be swollen, and weeping. Later it becomes crusted, scaly, and thickened.

Fibromyalgia:  (FMS): Originally named fibrositis, it is a mysteriously debilitating syndrome that attacks women more often than men. It is not physically damaging to the body in any way, but is characterized by the constant presence of widespread pain that often moves about the body. Fibromyalgia can be so severe that it is often incapacitating.

Gastrointestinal:  Pertaining to the stomach, small and large intestines, colon, rectum, liver, pancreas, and gallbladder.

Glaucoma:  A disease of the eye characterized by vision loss due to an increase in the pressure of fluid within the eye. This rise in pressure results from a build-up of aqueous fluid and leads to progressive damage to the optic nerve that transmits visual signals to the brain. Over time, glaucoma can lead to a gradual loss in peripheral vision. There are usually no signs that you're developing glaucoma until vision loss occurs.

Hypertension:  High blood pressure. Hypertension increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure because it adds to the workload of the heart, causing it to enlarge and, over time, to weaken; in addition, it may damage the walls of the arteries.

Hypoglycemia:  A condition characterized by an abnormally low blood glucose level. Severe hypoglycemia is rare and dangerous. It can be caused by medications such as insulin (diabetics are prone to hypoglycemia), severe physical exhaustion, and some illnesses.

Interferon:  A protein formed by the cells of the immune system in the presence of a virus, etc. It prevents viral reproduction, and is capable of protecting noninfected cells from viral infection. Several kinds of interferon exist including alpha, beta, and gamma.

Metabolism:  The chemical processes of living cells in which energy is produced in order to replace and repair tissues and maintain a healthy body. Responsible for the production of energy, biosynthesis of important substances, and degradation of various compounds.

Nervous System:  A system in the body that is comprised of the brain, spinal cord, nerves, ganglia and parts of the receptor organs that receive and interpret stimuli and transmit impulses to effector organs.

Porphyria:  Any of several usually hereditary abnormalities of porphyrin metabolism characterized by excretion of excess porphyrins in the urine. Porphyrias are relatively rare disorders and can be classified based on the principal site of expression of enzymatic defect in heme synthesis.

Tinnitus:  A sensation of noise (ringing or roaring) that is caused by a bodily condition and can usually only be heard by the person affected.

Vertigo:  The sensation of spinning or whirling; a state in which you or your surroundings seem to whirl dizzily.

White Blood Cell:  (WBC): A blood cell that does not contain hemoglobin: a blood corpuscle responsible for maintaining the body's immune surveillance system against invasion by foreign substances such as viruses or bacteria. White cells become specifically programmed against foreign invaders and work to inactivate and rid the body of a foreign substance. Also known as a leukocyte.