Elvis' health--my opinions
Greetings! I hope the weather is nice where you are--it is amazing hot here!
This is a long post--hope it makes sense!
I took a break from reading "Careless Love" to read "Child Bride." I'm back to reading "Careless Love," after which "Child Bride" provided yet another facet of Elvis' life. It is still difficult fo rme to read the last half of "Careless Love," which details Elvis' physical and emotional (mental) decline. It makes me feel really sad for Elvis--not pity--just that he seemd to have declined so quickly and radically. This just begs the question "What happened, Elvis?" after all.
I think I have formed an opinion--or at least part of an answer. This may have already been hashed over, but Elvis is still relatively new to me--please bear with me, if I'm repeating another's thoughts!
The books say Elvis' eccentric behavior (public and private) stems from his use of prescription drugs, burnout, Priscilla, etc. And that his death was basically all his own fault. That is not true!! I think it may have more to do with genetics, and his physiological health, vs. him going "losing it" or going "crazy".
According to the autopsy, the M.E. reported that Elvis had the arteries of an 80 year old. The books seem to imply that only his heart arteries were clogged, which caused the heart attacks, precipitated by drug use, etc. HOwever, when a person has bloodvessel issues, ALL the arteries are bad, in ALL areas of the body, including the brain and nervous system.
Poorly functioning arteries may have been the cause of Elvis' dramatic emotional decline. His brain might not have gotten enough blood/ nutrition for him to function soundly. He had mood swings and headaches, and depression, which leads back to arterial disease.
Elvis' diet of southern foods, rich in fats and cholesterol definately played a role in his health. HOwever, looking at his genetic history--at just his parents--the progression of disease may only have been a matter of time, regardless of how much he ate and exercised.
The books say that Elvis was obsessive compulsive with eating, especially during the final years. This may not have been a "mental" issue. Rather, I think it was due to his uncontrolled diabetes, which may have increased his body's need to generate energy by taking in more "fuel" through "junk" foods. Junk foods provide a quick fix to the body's metabolic system. But in the long run, junk food is bad.
Should Elvis had made a better choice in his diet? Given the context of that era and place, Elvis may not have had a lot of access to whole grains and healthier food that are available today. Besides, when the cells in the body don't get the energy it needs (because of the diabetes), the body compells the mind (the person) to reach for something that will give it a quick fix.
Elvis' pain--in his neck, joints, etc., may have been due to having hyper-flexible joints in the first place. From just watching a few performances, I can see that Elvis can slide across a stage on his knees, kick high (karate), etc. He was very flexible, especially for a man! I even saw one picture of him at some picnic with Priscilla, sitting cross-legged. His hips and knees were all the way to the ground, whereas another person with "normal" flexibility would be hitched up at the hips...
So the way that Elvis moved around, especially on stage, could have lead to arthritis and a lot of bone damage--compressed joints--that will show up later in life, which is painful, and lead to a dependence on prescription drugs.
Then there is the issue with internal organs, like the colon or intestine, which leads back to the diabetes...
Gosh, I know this is getting too long--but there is so much more I can point to. I think the books are too harsh when it comes to criticising Elvis during his final years. Much of what he experienced was out of his control. While it's true that he could have been more proactive about his heatlh, the context of time and place did not allow the insight we have about preventatiive health care we are familiar with today. So I guess my conclusion is that, while Elvis certainly had responsibility for his health, not all of it was within his control
Thanks for listening to my theory!!