Journal of Health Education Research & Development

ISSN: 2380-5439

Open Access

The Incredible Costs of Chronic Diseases: Why they Occur and Possible Preventions and/or Treatments


Knox Van Dyke

The United States government spends 3 trillion dollars on disease treatment each and every year. Chronic diseases are responsible for 86% of these health care costs. Chronic diseases are linked to 70% of the deaths that occur each year. The costs worldwide are likely even greater. After the age of 50, at least 50% of the people from the US have at least one chronic disease. About 1/3 of the US population has some form of diabetes or pre-diabetes. Why does this continue and certainly it is a major factor in the debt of the United States which is approximately 20 trillion dollars. How can the government and our medical people including scientists allow this outrage to continue?

Is it because we do not understand the cause of chronic diseases? Certainly we have not developed effective medications and or treatments; so even if we knew what the root cause of chronic diseases could we prevent or reverse them?

Dr Peter Barnes, M.D., Ph.D. is the premier scientist in the world who studies acute and chronic lung diseases. He has found that acute diseases can be effectively treated with steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs e.g., asthma; but chronic diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are not effectively treated with those same steroidal antiinflammatory drugs. The difference between the two diseases forms the blueprint of what causes chronic diseases other than those caused by genetic defects which are relatively rare. The major difference between acute (treatable diseases) and chronic (essentially untreatable or poorly treatable diseases) is the excessive generation of peroxide called peroxynitrite (OONO-). Chronic diseases produce excessive amounts of peroxynitrite and this can create massive biochemical damage to the cell particles (mitochondria) that allow life to continue and produce necessary energy and key enzymatic proteins are damaged as well as the DNA, and RNA-the master molecules of life. Excessive peroxynitrite is the linchpin of chronic diseases.

Therefore the key to controlling chronic diseases is to control excessive peroxynitrite. This prevents the damage to our bodies from nitration, nitrosylation and nitrosation all major damages caused by peroxynitrite. How do we control these diseases -we need to find suitable targets of peroxynitrite damage that are non-toxic and exist in a continuous state to fight this toxic chemical. There are peroxynitrite catalytic antagonists and some vitamins like vitamin C and different forms of vitamin E are targets which destroy peroxynitrite and these have been shown to be somewhat effective against chronic diseases. We must introduce the peroxynitrite antagonists early in the disease state before the diseases become irreversible.

The excessive peroxynitrite actually damages the epigenetic mechanism (histone deacetylase) by which steroids exert their anti-inflammatory action. But, if we can suppress peroxynitrite early in the chronic disease state -chronic diseases can be become acute and very treatable diseases.


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