Yet another study has come to light showing the importance of preventive measures to improve health. The study emphasized the need for the U.S. health system to move from its focus on treating health conditions after they set in, to a system that focuses on prevention.
However, the only way that this will happen in this country is with a truly comprehensive National Healthcare system. The same health systems that exist in other Western Democracies. Unfortunately, I don't believe that this country will ever go to such a system, because the nations health industry is completely profit driven, and this is the way that the politicians want it. The corporations (especially in the medical industry) that control members of Congress and control the FDA, will fight to keep the current profit driven system. Therefore, the kind of robust preventive care that is needed will never truly become a part of the healthcare culture.
If people have to worry about how to pay for a simple screening- a breast exam, a colonoscopy, a dental check-up, a heart test, a blood sugar check, cholesterol check, an annual check-up, to get guidance on diet, etc... then they tend not to go to the doctor. Even worse, people also tend to allow conditions that do emerge to go untreated when they have no way to pay....and these conditions often lead to more serious health problems down the road (and often end up being more expensive to deal with on the back end). Preventive care would be cheaper in the long run. Doctors know that early detection of breasts cancer, conditions of the colon and other health problems, lead to much better outcomes....and saves lives.
Unfortunately, as long as politicians are owned and controlled by the health insurance and drug industries, thousands of unnecessary deaths will continue. 100,000 people???? And that number is from a very narrow study. If researchers would have looked at the full spectrum of healthcare... they would have found that many more deaths would be preventable. But if we just take half of the 100,000... 50,000, we see that comes out to about sixteen September 11th's. I'm not suggesting that the nations focus shouldn't be on terrorism.... i'm suggesting that the national healthcare situaton should be just as important as national security.... to me, a healthy population...and preventing tens of thousands of deaths is a national security issue.
By Julie Steenhuysen
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Increased use of just five preventive services would save more than 100,000 lives every year in the United States, health experts said in a report released on Tuesday.
Of the five prevention tips, the biggest impact would come if adults took a low dose of aspirin every day to prevent heart disease, a step that could save 45,000 lives a year.
The report by the Partnership for Prevention, a nonprofit health policy group, also calls for renewed efforts to help smokers quit, more colorectal cancer and breast cancer screening and annual flu shots for people over 50.
"This shows so dramatically the potential impact of prevention," said Dr. Kathleen Toomey of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which helped fund the study along with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the WellPoint Foundation.
"These are really very modest, low-cost interventions that have such potentially dramatic impact on improving the health of the public," Toomey said in a telephone interview.
The study underscores the tendency in the United States to treat disease, rather than prevent it.
"Our nation has never truly invested in prevention," Toomey said.
The report uncovered racial disparities in use of preventive care. For example, Hispanic smokers are 55 percent less likely than whites to get help to quit smoking and Asian-Americans are the racial group least likely to take aspirin and get screened for breast and colorectal cancer.
ASPIRIN A DAY
Currently fewer than half of Americans take a low, daily dose of aspirin to prevent heart disease. Boosting aspirin use to 90 percent of adults would save 45,000 lives, the study found.
Bolstering efforts to get smokers to quit would have a similar impact. The study found 42,000 lives could be spared if 90 percent of smokers were advised by doctors to quit and were offered drugs and other services to help. Only 28 percent of smokers get such services now.
Another 14,000 lives would be saved if 90 percent of adults over 50 were screened regularly for colorectal cancer, and some 12,000 lives would be saved if 90 percent of people over 50 got flu shots every year. Only 37 percent of U.S. adults get an annual flu shot.
Regular breast cancer screening for all women over 40 could save another 4,000 lives. Only 67 percent of women have been screened in the past two years, the report found.
"To actually implement this and have the impact of saving 100,000 lives will really require a multi-pronged approach with public health taking the lead," Toomey said.
She said it will be important to educate individuals to take better care of themselves and of loved ones and make sure insurers and employers cover these preventive services.