You are diagnosed with heart disease, diabetes or cancer. You have a stoke or contract a bacterial infection. You are told you must undergo a complicated surgery, in which the dangers are very real. Your heart sinks as your worry mounts. Will you survive the diagnosis, the ailment, the situation? Yes, your doctor assures you. These situations do not have to end in death; in fact, they should not. You are soothed . . . until you realize that you live in the United States. And then, you aren’t so sure. Why?
In an analysis of 19 industrialized countries, the United States ranked last in terms of preventable deaths – deaths that should not have happened with effective and timely healthcare. The researchers included in this category fatalities caused by heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, certain bacterial infections, stroke and complications in surgery. They account for 23 percent of all deaths in men and 32 percent in women. While all of the other countries (France, Japan, Australia, Canada, Great Britain, etc.) improved between this survey and the last at an average rate of 16 percent, the United States did so only at a rate of four percent. Why?
It could have to do with the 47 million uninsured Americans, or it could be due, in part, to the high price of healthcare with or without coverage. But at the moment, we’re not going to discuss that, because I can’t offer you help with your health insurance. What I can offer you is advice. These preventable deaths stem from preventable diseases. You’ll lessen your chance of dying if you lessen your chance of developing these ailments. Take care of your body. Eat well, exercise regularly, maintain a balance between your mental, physical and emotional health, and remain informed. Check out the following sites for information on cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke and be well:
• American Cancer Society – http://www.cancer.org
• American Diabetes Association – http://www.diabetes.org/
• American Heart Association – http://www.americanheart.org
• National Stroke Association – http://www.stroke.org