Natural Awakenings Magazine article by Craig 02/03/2010
Prescription drugs running amok
Newsweek magazine reports that side effects from prescription drugs are now the fourth leading cause of death in the US according to a recent article in the Journal of American Medical Association. According to another article in the Journal of American Medical Association, Doctors are the third leading cause of death in the US.
Americans will spend over two trillion dollars this year on health insurance, pharmaceutical drugs, and medical bills. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, within eight years, America’s health care costs will soar to $4.1 trillion annually. Americans spend more for health care than any other nation in the world; and yet, we are not the healthiest nation in the world. We are number 34 in the world for infant mortality and number 42 for life expectancy.
So, with our sophisticated and expensive healthcare, where is our health?
It is no coincidence that chronic disease rates are rising in cadence with our growing medical system. About 48% percent of US men and 38% of women can now look forward to getting cancer. Over 8% of our children suffer from serious food allergies, nearly 20% of our children are now on schedule II pharmaceutical drugs and one out of three low-income preschool kids are overweight or obese. Heart disease, asthma, allergies, diabetes, mental illness, cancer, and obesity rates are spiraling upwards among every sector of the population.
America is hooked on drugs!
America is the most drugged nation of the world and surprisingly it is legal drugs that are the problem. But it’s not just the psychotropic drugs and pain killers we consume like candy. It is also the Statin drugs, antibiotics, blood pressure drugs, sex enhancing drugs and vaccines that are also exacting a toll on our health.
We take them because we think they make us healthy; but, to the contrary, we only take them because we are unhealthy! The fact is that the United States of America is the most heavily vaccinated population in the world; and yet we are plagued with the highest occurrence of autism, diabetes and asthma in the world. With the biggest vaccine schedule on earth we should have the lowest death rates and the best health. But the United States ranks number 34 with infant mortality rates falling behind such countries as Croatia and Crete.
Are drugs the cure or are they the problem?
Medical analyst Gary Null warns: “A definitive review and close reading of medical peer-review journals, and government health statistics shows that…the number of people having in-hospital, adverse drug reactions (ADR) to prescribed medicine is 2.2 million…the number of unnecessary antibiotics prescribed annually for viral infections is 20 million…The number of unnecessary medical and surgical procedures performed annually is 7.5 million. The number of people exposed to unnecessary hospitalization annually is 8.9 million”
According to a recent report published in the medical journal Pediatrics, the rate of the abuse of ADHD drugs has been in lock step with the increase of the legal use of these drugs. Between 1998 and 2005, prescriptions for ADHD increased by 80% while the abuse of these meds increased by 76% during the same time period.
Can we really afford our health care? Even if it costs us our health?
While it is a fact that I promote organic food, health supplements and integrative medicine, the truth is, if I am in a car accident, fall off of ladder and break my leg, suffer a heart attack or get shot in a robbery, I want to be transported to the local hospital emergency room and not taken to my health food store or my local EFT practitioner or yoga instructor. But after I receive medical treatment, I don’t want to become a prescription drug addict or end up in bankruptcy court with a $100,000+ hospital bill. Yet that is what sometimes happens. One pharmaceutical drug often leads to two which then leads to three and so on. One surgery may lead to a second surgery and, of course, the collateral pharmaceutical drugs.
Diet, exercise and stress reduction is the key to our health.
We have forsaken the wisdom of basic good health practices for a knowledge of the cutting edge manipulation of our bodies. Over 90% of all heart disease can be avoided by applying these three things to our lives: diet, exercise and stress reduction. Gall stones (and the consequent removal of the gall bladder) are completely preventable with the right minerals and diet. Diabetes is largely preventable with diet and exercise. Emotional disorders are known to have roots in the intestinal tract and in the balance of bacteria in our gut. Zinc alone is a cofactor in about 250 enzymic actions in our bodies. Gluten can affect our chromium absorption. Fungi in the digestive tract feed on sugar and release neurotoxins into our system. I could go on; but, the point I am making is that there are natural solutions to our dis-eases.
In a recent health care plan the words nutrition and exercise appear once while the word drugs appears 14 times. This is not the formula for health care; but rather, the recipe for disease management. If we would address the causes rather than merely managing the symptoms the tide will turn. But, if we continue on the present course, then we continue to perpetrate a bigger health crisis and generate larger disease numbers.
The best time to seek your health is while you still have it!
We cannot afford to wait for medical science to stumble upon the pharmaceutical answers for us. For example, if we wait for the miracle drug cure for cancer while continuing to eat a trashy diet and live a sedentary lifestyle – the prognosis is bleak. Or, if we rely on the FDA to tell what is safe, while continuing to use products daily that have “FDA approved” toxins in them – we are only bailing out the boat without ever stopping the leak. If we swallow the fact that the EPA only allows 0.1mcg of mercury per kg in our diet, yet we allow 25mcg of mercury into our arm per flu shot, we will find out the hard way that there are long term consequences to allowing toxic metals into the body.
For good health, pay now or pay later.
Americans spend about 10% of their disposable income on food. Other countries generally spend more than Americans. Japanese people spend, on average, 13%. In France they spend 14%, China is 28% and India is at 39%. The fact is, that without government subsidization, our food costs would be much higher. But, government subsidization typically targets the inorganic and more toxic end of the food supply. This leaves the organic food producers competing for market sales on a slanted playing field. Regardless, we still have a choice: either we can buy food that is just barely okay, or we can buy food that will actually nourish our bodies and support our health.
We have the freedom to choose how and when we spend our money. I suggest we spend it on organic foods and nutritional supplies and prevent disease, rather than spend it after we are sick and battling for our lives later. I suggest we spend a little time each day walking and doing light exercise daily to keep our bodies toned up. And I suggest we focus our attention on positive things and creative hobbies now, rather than continuing to sacrifice our minds to the endless barrage of quasi-negative entertainment that surrounds us.
Taking the time and effort to live a healthier lifestyle will pay off in our quality of life and in our health – both now and later. And unlike the statistics above, preventive health care, natural medicine, and proper nutrition have all been linked to a broad range of health and social benefits: including but not limited to disease reduction, increased academic performance, and lower health care costs.
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Authored by Cancer Nutritionist Craig Stellpflug NDC, CNC, Dayspring Cancer Clinic Scottsdale, AZ
Copyright 2009 Craig Stellpflug© Permission is hereby granted to copy and distribute this article but only in its entirety