Have you ever wondered how long it takes for a disease to manifest? I refer not to your everyday cough and cold which occur quickly, but instead to long term illness such as diabetes, cancer or heart ailments? Well, the short answer is several years. You might take even longer to find out as it will manifest itself symptomatically long after it has taken root. Imagine you are getting a chest pain due to a clogged artery. The pain in the chest is a symptom that something is wrong. However, the causes of the chest pain may have taken several years before it became acute enough to reveal itself. No you body is not punishing you for your poor lifestyle. Instead, it just spent years trying to heal you before it gave up and the symptoms started to show up.
Failed Homeostasis is often the underlying reason for this. Let me explain. Homeostasis is the process by which your body attempts to keep itself in balance. Blood Pressure, Sugar, Salt or Potassium levels are maintained within your desired levels through this. So much so that this regulates even the amount of air you breathe. Imagine one of your lungs is blocked. What happens next is nothing short of a miracle. Your blood has to discharge carbon dioxide into the lungs so that you can expel it. The blocked lung will prevent this from happening. Your blood will now re-route itself (dynamic state) so that it can discharge air through the other lung. All this to keep your body in steady state.
It is only after several years of this effort to remain in a steady state that the body starts to manifest signs of strain. You get to know when you feel fatigue, headaches, acidity, chest pain et al. Our typical response is to dismiss this as “only” a headache. If the underlying cause is a disease, it may have taken you years to get here.