Take Charge of Your Health-Do You Know the Number One Cause of Death in the US?

If your answer to this question is “Diseases of the Heart”, you would be correct according to the CDC.  The top 10 leading causes of death are as follows:

  1. Diseases of the heart
  2. Cancer
  3. Chronic lower respiratory diseases
  4. Stroke
  5. Accidents
  6. Alzheimer’s disease
  7. Diabetes mellitus
  8. Kidney disease
  9. Influenza
  10. Suicide

The cost to the economy is $1.1trillion.  WOW!  However , according to posts by Dr. Mercola, there is one leading cause left off the list and that is “CONVENTIONAL MEDICAL CARE”.  These are deaths contributed to medical errors to adverse reactions to unnecessary procedures.  I call this as either the “just did our best but didn’t work” or “OOPS factor”.  “We were just treating this patient, doing all we could and he/she just didn’t make it, or treating the patient and OOPS, made a mistake.”

In 2010, years after articles were written about this, an article in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that despite efforts to improve patient safety in the past few years the health care system hasn’t changed much at all.  Instead, 18% of patients were harmed by medical care and over 63% of the injuries could have been prevented.  Many contributed to patients death  and permanent injury.  In all, there were 25 injuries per  100 admissions!  From 1976 to 2006, looking at 62 million death certificates, 250,000 were coded as having occurred in a hospital setting due to medical errors (OOPS).  Also, an estimated 450,000 preventable medication-related adverse events occur in the US every year (OOPS).  And, adverse drug reactions cause injuries or death in 1 of 5 hospital patients (OOPS).

Another issue is how many “accidents” or “suicides” are actually the result of accidental prescription drug overdoses.  Prescription drugs are now killing far more people than illegal drugs and this trend is growing.  Hospital acquired infections continue to grow and contribute to over 100,000 deaths per year.

So, what is the point that I am trying to make?  The point is that most chronic diseases, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity are largely preventable with simple lifestyle changes.  The added bonus is that the healthier you are, the less you will need to rely on conventional medical care, which is the leading cause of death.  So, what is a “healthy life style”.  Well, that will be the subject of my next post.  Meanwhile, do your best to stay out of the hospital, it is a dangerous place.

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