Co-morbidities – who came up with that word?
There are some truly dreadful terms in medicine – “morbidly obese,” to describe the very overweight, “geriatric pregnancy,” for any woman who has is pregnant and aged over 35, “horripilation,” for someone with goosebumps and “formication,” the term used to describe the feeling of small insects crawling all over you.
Imagine if you had all of the above: the morbidly obese, geriatric pregnant woman suffering from horripilation because of excessive formication. Oh, I shouldn’t laugh, but sometimes we have to, right?
The reality is, is that many people suffer from more than one disease. The medical term for this is “presenting with co-morbidities.” The challenge of course, is that for someone presenting with co-morbidities, it feels a bit like dominoes – or as Darcy describes it, “cascade failure.” One disease, such as morbid obesity, might lead to inflammatory problems which might lead to diabetes and many other related diseases and symptoms, one domino at a time.
Darcy is an example of someone who suffers from multiple co-morbidities – sarcoidosis, an autoimmune disease with lung and brain impact; he suffered heart attack in 2019 which was connected to his sarcoidosis; he also suffers from ankylosing Spondylitis, an inflammatory disease that, over time, causes some of his spinal bones in (vertebrae) to fuse.
To manage all of this – Darcy takes a bewildering array of pharmaceutical medicines, many of which have significant side effects, side effects which contribute to negative long-term health outcomes, such as steroids for his lungs, which have side effects of weight gain, headaches and sometimes nausea. To say it is a complex web, would be an understatement.
Darcy’s personal journey into looking for plant compounds that would complement and sometimes replace the pharmaceuticals he takes, started a number of years ago. A revelation for him was that there was an underlying theme for all of his co-morbidities – and that was inflammation. As Darcy often says:
“Inflammation is the smoking gun at the scene of all crimes.”
So, with that in mind, he set about researching all he could do to reduce inflammation, starting with the organ which was causing him the most grief on a daily basis – his lungs.
This took him down a path of exploring many plants and compounds and included time exploring medical cannabis compounds, which is how he met me, his Zestt Wellness co-founder, as I was working on the science underpinning the mechanisms of medical cannabis bioactivity.
It was about this time that the covid-19 pandemic started to make waves internationally. Darcy, being immunocompromised, took the virus seriously from day one and his efforts to investigate plant-derived compounds which improved lung health moved up a new gear – it also catalysed the formation of Zestt Wellness and the development of our first product, EXhale, a lung health and immunity formulation. The formulation is complex and is the result of many hours of research and development. Now we are excited to be able to announce that we have improved the formulation even further.
We are really excited to launch the EXhale lozenge in early 2022, a new format of EXhale with the same boysenberry and blackcurrant extracts, quercetin and zinc. In addition to this, the lozenges include oral probiotics (BlisK12) to support immunity.
We have also done a huge amount of work to develop other products, which we will be rolling out over the next few months, targeting brain, heart, gut and oral health. This is in recognition that we are more than just one organ and the domino effect for those with co-morbidities, like Darcy, need support in multiple areas and especially, in reducing that underlying inflammation.
Thanks for joining us on our Zestt Wellness journey in 2021 – wellness is a journey that can start at any point in our lives, it can even start at multiple time points – we all fall off the wagon occasionally – it’s about getting back on again!
If you will be sharing this festive season with a chronic disease or multiple co-morbidities – you are not alone and as much as we don’t enjoy the medical terms – we are strong believers that small steps and little things in life can help us to cope, get better and live the best lives we can – and for you, have an especially wonderful Christmas.
All our very best wishes,
Darcy and Anna.