Recently, I read a study that indicated many people are dying prematurely throughout the U.S.—and their deaths are completely unnecessary. Although it has been known for quite a few years that deaths caused from a number of preventable diseases and medical conditions are increasing, the information is being ignored.
Now, this new evidence that has emerged notes that approximately 40% of the annual deaths in the U.S. are not only premature—but largely preventable! The most frequent causes of preventable death in the U.S. from 2008 to 2010 were vascular disease involving the heart and brain, cancer, chronic lung diseases, and accidents. This figure was responsible for 66% of the total number of deaths from all causes during this period.
The researchers were able to break down the numbers even more, including the following statistics:
- 35% of all deaths from heart disease were preventable
- 21% of all deaths attributed to cancer were preventable
- 40% of all deaths caused by chronic lung disease were preventable
- 33% of all deaths from stroke were preventable
- 40% of all deaths attributed to accidents were preventable
What does this mean in real numbers across the U.S. every year? It means that an additional 100,000 people needlessly die prematurely every year from a preventable disease or medical condition!
What are the key indicators regarding the implications of this research?
Focus upon prevention…not emergency intervention.
Reduction in Modifiable Risk Factors
Modifiable risk factors in the development of several preventable diseases leading to premature death include smoking, poor diet, lack of physical activity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. It was also suggested that appropriate risk reduction is mediated through changes in personal behavior and socioeconomic factors. These are excellent points to consider in this case.
According to the director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Tom Frieden, “The good news is that things that people can change…make a huge difference,” He added, “Even if you don’t lose any weight, being physically active is the closest thing we have to a wonder drug. It reduces blood pressure, reduces cholesterol, [and] reduces your risk of arthritis. It improves mood. It improves independence. There are things that can be done that really do make a difference.”
Wow…these are excellent comments that can hopefully influence policymakers, health providers, educators, and governments to institute the appropriate changes.
This important report, in my opinion, simply states what has previously been known for many years, but has never been taken seriously enough—that the things that make most people sick and cause them to age poorly and die prematurely are largely preventable.
We also fully understand how to prevent most of these diseases and conditions that are stopping Americans from enjoying their lives to the fullest. This report adds to the body of knowledge that indicates how our lifestyle choices can directly affect our lives and those who are close to us—the fact that our health is ultimately in our own hands.
The information is there….all it takes is the will to change. Do you have what it takes?
Sources for Today’s Article:
Hand, L., “Up to 39% of Premature Deaths Preventable, CDC Says,” Medscape web site, May 6, 2014; http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/824455.
Yoon, P.W., et al., “Potentially Preventable Deaths from the Five Leading Causes of Death — United States, 2008–2010,” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web site, May 2, 2014; 63(17): 369–374; http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6317a1.htm.