According to a John Hopkins study done in 2016, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S.–right behind heart disease and cancer–causing more than 250,000 deaths annually.
Analyzing medical death rate data over an eight-year period, Johns Hopkins patient safety experts have calculated that more than 250,000 deaths per year are due to medical error in the U.S. Their figure, published May 3, 2016 in The BMJ, surpasses the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s third leading cause of death—respiratory disease, which kills close to 150,000 people per year.”—John Hopkins University
251,000 deaths equate to nearly 700 deaths a day — about 9.5 percent of all deaths annually in the United States.
Another shocking estimate is that 128,000 people die every year due to prescription drug side effects. These are not overdoses, but drugs that were properly prescribed and properly taken. That is nearly five times the number of people killed by overdosing on prescription painkillers and heroin.–US News & World Report
That’s more than die from motor vehicle accidents, breast cancer, or AIDS, three causes that receive far more public attention. Also more people die annually from medication errors than from workplace injuries. —PubMed
The United States spends more money per capita on “health” care than any country on earth. However, when the quality of our healthcare is compared with other industrialized nations, we rank near the bottom. But all of the blame is not due to medical errors or side effects of prescription drugs.
We talk about the ‘healthcare’ system in America, but what we actually have is a disease-care system. Just look around. Despite the high costs of healthcare, we are not any healthier. In fact, rates of many chronic diseases have only increased over time–obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, cancer, to name a few.
The data make it clear that none of our advances in medicine deal with primary prevention, and none are making us fundamentally healthier.–Dr. Colin Campbell, author of The China Study
So, is there hope of a better way? A mounting body of research says yes!
The secret to disease prevention, better health, and longer life can be found by by studying groups of people who have consistently maintained outstanding health into their old age.
The Blue Zones, where populations have unusually high concentrations of healthy centenarians–those aged 100 or older–offer us a wealth information about the keys to good health and longevity. We can learn much by investigating what they eat and how they live.
A 20-year long epidemiological study called The China Study, which was a joint project effort of the University of Oxford, Cornell University, and the Chinese government and headed by Dr. T. Colin Campbell also provides answers. What did the longest lived, healthiest Chinese people eat?
In both of these examples, researchers found that the closer people come to an all plant-based diet, the lower their risk for chronic disease.
Concentrating diet on beans, grains, vegetables, and fruits that are full of antioxidants, phytonutrients, and fiber is the key to staying healthy. Getting inflammatory foods like meat, dairy, eggs, and highly processed foods that are loaded with saturated fat and cholesterol off of our plates plays a key role in restoring health and wellness.
According to Kaiser Permanente, the largest HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) in the United States:
“Research shows that plant-based diets are cost-effective, low-risk interventions that may lower body mass index, blood pressure, HbA1C, and cholesterol levels. They may also reduce the number of medications needed to treat chronic diseases and lower ischemic heart disease mortality rates. Physicians should consider recommending a plant-based diet to all their patients, especially those patients with high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or obesity).–Kaiser Permanente
The bottom line is, while the powers-at-be address the serious problems with our healthcare system and pharmaceutical industry, we can be doing a lot to help ourselves. Namely, concentrating on lifestyle changes like healthy nutrition.
To follow the example of centenarians and healthiest people around the world, a whole-food, plant-based diet should be the foundation of your lifestyle choices. It’s never too late to start!
If you are new to the plant-based lifestyle, these articles will also be very helpful:
- Plant-Based Guide for Beginners
- What is a Plant-Based Whole Food
- Jeff Novick’s 10 Simple Recipes in Less than 20-Minutes
- What’s in My Plant-Based Medicine Cabinet? I Mean Pantry!
- Beginners Guide to Plant-Based Grocery Shopping.