Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Prevention-A Heck of a Bargain
In 2010 Americans spent over $2 trillion dollars, or 17% of the gross national product on medical care- the majority of which went to treat chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes, both of which are preventable and certainly reversible.
Rather than focusing on prevention, our "health-care system" is primarily a disease-care system.
The unspoken message has generally been to ignore prevention, wait until it’s broken, and then seek out the “magic bullet,” or latest, greatest, usually most expensive, drug to cover up the symptom(s). Or if that doesn’t work, simply cut it out.
This expensive approach, one that is threatening the welfare of a growing number of American households, will cause some 54 million Americans to go without health insurance this year alone.
Spending money on expensive medical procedures is often worthless as well as foolish.
Take for example the data provided by the American Heart Association showing that 1.3 million coronary angioplasty procedures were performed in 2006 at an average cost of $48,399 each. And in the same year 448,000 coronary bypass operations were performed at a cost of $99,743 each.
Americans spent more than $100 billion in 2006 for these two procedures alone.
Yet a randomized controlled trial published in April 2007 in The New England Journal of Medicine found that angioplasties and stent-therapy don’t prolong life or even prevent heart attacks in stable patients (i.e., in 95% of those who receive them).
Coronary bypass surgery prolongs life in less than 3% of patients who receive it. In spite of the studies, and there are several which show that bypass and stent therapy are ineffective, physicians, insurance companies, and the public at large, all continue to robustly support these expensive and dangerous procedures.
When it comes to our health we should heed the words of the great philosopher, Virgil, who said, “The greatest wealth is health.”
Save Money and Live Longer With Healthy Habits
If you really want to save some money, invest in prevention- a healthy diet, exercise, proven nutritional therapies, and proactive health habits.
Research continues to show that those who eat antioxidant-rich foods reap health-enhancing, disease preventing benefits. Antioxidants are intimately involved in the prevention of cellular damage -- the common pathway for cancer, aging, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, and a number of other diseases.
Radicals and Disease
Our bodies are made up of cells. Our cells are composed of molecules. Molecules are nothing more than positive and negative charged atoms-protons and electrons.
Oxidation is a chemical reaction at the molecular level that changes the body’s protons and electrons, which in turn produces something called free radicals.
Free radicals are created through internal external sources. External sources include stress, alcoholic beverages, unhealthy foods, cigarette smoke, toxins, and pollutants.
Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd (unpaired) number of electrons and can be formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules. Once formed these highly reactive radicals can start a chain reaction, like falling dominoes. Their chief danger comes from the damage they create when they react with important cellular components. Free radicals damage our cells and cause numerous disease processes and accelerated aging. Fortunately, antioxidants can prevent this. They stop free radicals from initiating disease reactions in our bodies.
Evidence continues to show that most of the degenerative diseases that afflict humanity have their origin in deleterious free radical reactions. These diseases include atherosclerosis, cancer, inflammatory joint disease, asthma, diabetes, senile dementia, premature ageing, and degenerative eye disease.
If you want to prevent of these diseases, rather than treating their symptoms with expensive medical therapies, antioxidants are the way to go.