By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
December 16, 2016
- Medical error is the third leading cause of death today
- What can you do to avoid medical mistakes?
- Three tips to help keep you out of the hospital
If you ever wind up in the hospital, it means something is seriously wrong. You’ve had an accident, suffered a heart attack or experienced some other life-altering event.
Then, once you get there, you have to worry about acquiring hospital related infections like MRSA, sepsis or c. difficile (bacteria-related diarrhea).
As if that’s not bad enough, now we’re finding that the third leading cause of death in the U.S. may be due to undocumented medical errors. However, you’ll never hear about this from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
That’s because medical error is not included on death certificates. There is no official “classification” for it under the current coding system. Instead, whatever disease or injury a person entered the hospital with, is what goes down on the death certificate.
As a result, medical error never shows up on rankings that identify today’s major causes of death.
Now, if you take medical errors out of the equation, the top five causes of death are much simpler. Heart disease and cancer at top the list. They’re followed by chronic lower respiratory diseases (e.g. pneumonias, asthma, emphysema) unintentional accidents and strokes.
So how can you stay out of the hospital and avoid your risk of hospital-acquired infections and medical mistakes? Your best bet is to not get sick in the first place. And you can do that by protecting yourself from these five highly preventable health disasters.
Here’s What You Can You do to Avoid a Trip to the Hospital
The majority of disease is directly related to the choices you make. You can choose to exercise or you can sit on the couch all day. You can choose to eat healthy foods or you can give in to your cravings for fatty, sugary and salty foods.
So let’s take a look at some important choices you can make in your life to improve your health and keep you out of the hospital.
Stay active. In the last issue of Advanced Natural Wellness, you learned how to boost your physical fitness to avoid falls as you age.
Well, this same type of high intensity interval training will also boost your heart health, shield you from cancer, slash your chances of a stroke and boost your lung capacity.
In other words, it can protect you from four of the five leading causes of death! These means it can also help keep you out of the hospital.
Eat well. When it comes to your health, what you put into your body plays a defining role. Sugars and processed meats are particularly bad for you.
First off, they disrupt your cardiovascular system, which contributes to heart disease and stroke. Secondly, these foods are directly linked with your risk of cancer. In fact, just last year the World Health Organization classified processed meat as carcinogenic to humans.
However, eating an antioxidant-rich Mediterranean-style diet is actually protective against these risks. In fact, enjoying a Mediterranean diet high in extra virgin olive oil could shrink your chances of a heart attack, a stroke and death from cardiovascular problems by up to 30%.
Eating this way is also protective against breast cancer, can help you lose weight and reduce metabolic disorders that add to the risk of other diseases.
It’s not difficult to go Mediterranean. Just load your plate with organic antioxidant-rich fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. Tree nuts, omega-3 rich wild-caught seafood and olive oil are also important elements of this type of diet.
Keep animal protein to only about 13% of your diet. And when you choose to eat red meat, opt for grass-fed over grain-fed. It’s much healthier for you.
What Else can you do to Avoid Hospitalization?
When you consider the health consequences of an inactive lifestyle and poor diet, you could say that these factors are actually the two leading causes of death today.
After that, I’d have to place addiction as the third item on the list.
Smoking, of course, is the leading cause of respiratory problems and lung cancer deaths today. While quitting is hard, methods like acupuncture and hypnosis can help you get through the worst of it.
Heavy alcohol use is another big contributor to disease. It’s a leading risk factor when it comes to death and disability. And it’s not only the liver you have to worry about. It’s also associated with certain cancers and heart disease. Additionally, too much alcohol greatly increases your chance of injuring yourself due to an unintentional accident.
The most disconcerting addiction these days, however, is prescription opiates. At last count, somewhere around 2 million people here in the U.S. were abusing or addicted to these drugs.
They can easily land you in the hospital due to an overdose or injury. Opiates also tend to decrease your immune system and especially in men, they decrease testosterone. As a matter of fact, they make up a large percentage of deaths from unintentional injury.
If you’re on opiates, the best thing you can do is work with your doctor to ease off of them and find safer alternatives to pain relief.
Before closing, I would like to add that most medical errors aren’t caused by “bad” doctors or other medical personnel. Rather, the entire insurance and medical systems are riddled with barriers to care these days.
For example, let’s say your doctor chooses specific diagnostics or treatments for you. These are often hampered by protocols. Time is wasted on pre-authorizations. Sometimes they’re ruled as not medically necessary. Other times, they’re coded wrong, not covered, or flat-out denied.
This often results in second or third choice testing and treatment that can have a direct impact on you. So it’s worth adopting strategies that will help keep you out of the hospital and living a longer and healthier life for good!
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