One-On-One with Dr. Patina Muhammad
Ebony S. Muhammad (EM) – A friend of mine brought this to my attention due to my study of thanatology, which is centered on death, dying, and loss. He was on his way to a wake ceremony for a friend of his from high school who died of a massive heart attack. His friend was only 38 years old and was not overweight. He also stated that a week prior to that, a co-worker of his suffered from a stroke, and he was 34 years old. This brother was also in pretty good shape and his diet was decent. The first thing that came to mind was the stress level that these brothers may have been under. You mentioned how stressed out we are just being Black. Among stress you mentioned other lifestyles that can go along with stress that can causes such issues. Can you talk about some of those factors as it relates to heart disease and stroke?
Patina Muhammad (PM) – Sure, it’s my pleasure. Our research shows that 85 percent of these diseases are brought on by stress especially heart attack and now stroke. We’re seeing an increase of heart attack and strokes among African American population; the younger population as you were just saying. We’re in our 30’s and having heart attacks and dying. We’re exercising, eating right, but still having heart attacks and strokes. Absolutely, stress management is so important, and now we are dealing with emotional stress, mental stress, and now we have all the stress of these EMF’s (Electro Magnetic Fields). Some people are more sensitive to the EMF’s, and that causes a great stress on the body.
EM- …and we don’t even know it.
PM- Also, because we have the mentality that, “I’m not going to have a heart attack, because I’m young…” We may feel some pain or some pressure, and people mistake and believe that a heart attack is brought on with excruciating pain, but you may have some pain that you think is some indigestion or a light pain. All pain in the chest especially on the left side that radiates…. any kind of chest pain you want to get that checked. You don’t want to assume that it’s just gas or “I’m only 30 or 20 years old and I’m not going to have a heart attack”. That’s the wrong thing to do. Any type of pain, that’s the body’s way of warning you that something is wrong.
EM- When we don’t know that we’re stressed out, because from what you’re saying about the EMF we don’t really know that our body is stressing, so we may think that everything is fine. What are some other indications or self-inventory assessments that we can do to keep an eye on what we may have tuned out or learned to live with?
PM- Any type of subtle changes in the body. Even if you forgot where you put your keys, or you notice that your attention span or focus span is not where it used to be. All of those are signs that the body is under stress. Younger people are forgetting and that never used to be the case, and now we think it’s the norm, because so many young people are now forgetting things. Also environmental stress…
EM- Like traffic? Grocery store lines?
PM- Exactly. Yes. There are people who literally cannot drive, because the body can’t deal with that kind of stress; driving in traffic. Now we say, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I used to be able to get in my car across the city to work, and now I can’t.” It’s stress, and it’s all how the body deals with stress.
EM- Thank you. You mentioned that all ailments, including cancer, which we suffer from are due to nutritional deficiencies. Can you explain what would count as a nutritional deficiency? Men and women need different forms of nutrition, so what would you consider a well balance meal for men and for women?
PM- Both men and women require the same nutrient but the amount is different, according to age of course. A growing child who is in puberty, of course they’re going to need a lot more than maybe someone in their 30’s or 40’s. However, a person who is constantly under stress, have a stressful job, are going to need a lot more nutrients. You want a balanced diet, and you do not want to be deficient in anything, whether it is a protein, enzymes, amino acid, vitamins, and minerals. A balanced diet would include those complexes. A lot of times I do see vegetarians that are deficient in protein.
EM- Are you saying that those who consider themselves as vegetarians may not know how to be vegetarians?
PM- That’s it. They don’t know. You can be a vegetarian and not be deficient in protein. You just have to balance it and know what to eat. Another thing I hear is that people who are eating a lot of protein are left feeling drained since they’ve been a vegetarian. Well now we have to look at your digestion and see if your body is breaking down the protein. Protein is a large molecule. If your body is not digesting the food properly, then guess what, your body isn’t getting the nutrients from the food.
EM- All of that work for nothing, basically.
PM- Yes, exactly. Another thing I see quite often is people lacking enzymes, and you need the enzymes to break down the food. A lot of people have indigestion, so they take over the counter Tums and anti acids, and that’s not the answer. The body isn’t producing enough hydrochloric acid, which is needed to break down the foods. If you’re not getting it, you’re not breaking down the foods all of the way, so you’re not getting all of the nutrients from the food. Consequently, your body is starving.
If you look and see what’s going on with the food industry you trace that trend and look at what’s happening to the condition of the people. Cancer is on the increase. You would think with all the technology and all of the scientific research, what they know you would think they would have a handle on cancer. Now research is showing that with cancer, one in every three people will be diagnosed. They said that everyone is going to know a relative or someone close who will die with cancer by next year.
EM- You mentioned that the digestive system causes a lot of our ailments. I’ve heard it mentioned that a lot of our ailments could be cleared up with water intake. For example, the indigestion and heart burn, because of the acid inside of the body that is causing those ailments. Do you believe that a lot of these illnesses could be subsided by drinking water?