Back to Back Issues Page
3rd leading cause of death - it's not what you think! - Truths and facts about Heath ezine - Issue 2
September 05, 2003

It’s startling. While heart disease is the number one killer and cancer is number two, the number three killer is not a disease. The official number 3 leading cause of death is "Medical Error". Medical error, such as unnecessary surgery and infections in hospital.

Now, I am not in a crusade to shoot doctors, hospitals, or pharmaceutical companies, but the facts and truths must be let out. It’s no wonder I've named this newsletter "Truths and facts about health" :-). The facts that are included here, are published in one of the most respected medical journals, JOURNAL of the AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (JAMA).

The facts revealed in JAMA, (Vol 284, No 4, July 26th 2000), by Dr Barbara Starfield, MD, MPH, of the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health are:

2,000 deaths/year from unnecessary surgery.

7000 deaths/year from medication errors in hospitals.

20,000 deaths/year from other errors in hospitals.

80,000 deaths/year from nosocomial infections in hospitals.

106,000 deaths/year from NON-ERROR, adverse effects of medications.

These total up to 225,000 deaths per year in the US, which ranks these deaths as the # 3 killer.

Now, the “NON-ERROR” part. This means that more than 100,000 deaths are caused by the CORRECT prescription of drugs by the doctors.

This is not the fault or mistake of the doctors and they are not to blame. They prescribed the medications in the correct way as per manufacturer’s recommendations, but the deaths are caused due to side effects of these drugs.

And the latest research reveals that seven drugs approved and then withdrawn by federal regulators since 1993 have been implicated in more than 1,000 deaths. Half of the recalls occurred within two years of the drugs' debut. Meanwhile, 20 million Americans took at least one of the five compounds pulled from the market since 1997.

In the April 30, 2003 issue of HealthScoutNews, Dr. Karen Lasser, a Harvard University physician after revealing the above facts in the latest research, warns doctors to put off prescribing new drugs until they're proven safe because dangerous side effects may stay hidden until long after the medicines are approved and on the market.

Contributing to the problem, the researchers say, is potentially "explosive" sales volume and usage by patients, who are increasingly being wooed with direct-to-consumer advertisements.

What exactly happened during this research is that Lasser and her colleagues, including consumer advocate Dr. Sidney Wolfe, of Public Citizen, combed through the Physicians' Desk Reference between 1975 and 2000 for new "black box" warnings, the FDA's strictest labeling advisories.

The Physician's Desk Reference (PDR) is the Bible for doctors and other prescribers seeking safety information about drugs.

The book, published by Thomson Medical Economics, is updated annually, with information collected by drug makers and approved by the FDA. Subscribers also receive twice-yearly supplements that record any labeling changes or drug recalls that occurred after the most recent edition went to press.

The FDA approved 548 new drug products between 1975 and 1999, according to the researchers. Of those, 56 (about 10 percent) were either withdrawn (16) or required at least one black box change. One drug needed six such revisions.

The researchers project that over a 25-year period, any drug has a 20 percent chance of either being withdrawn or receiving a black box warning -- a figure the FDA considers "debatable."

While many of the drugs that ran into trouble were breakthrough or lifesaving remedies, Lasser said many others were not. Four of the 16 that had to be pulled, for example, were nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), for which doctors have a wide range of well-established alternatives.

Liver toxicity is the chief reason drugs undergo major label changes or get removed from the market, although other common reasons include their propensity to cause heart problems, kidney failure, or birth defects.

Drug companies must conduct three phases of clinical trials before winning FDA approval for a new product. But these are typically small studies, involving an average of about 3,000 people in total. As a result, they may not be able to pick up rare risks that occur once in every 10,000 or 100,000 patients. On the other hand, Lasser says, many of the labeling changes and recall actions covered side effects that were known to regulators before they approved the products.

"It's true that sometimes an event is relatively rare, and you're not going to pick it up," she says. "But if the condition is benign, and there already is a safe, effective drug [on the market], we think the threshold should be much higher for approving" a newcomer.

Now, what’s the point of knowing all these facts. Deaths caused by medical errors, correct prescription of drugs etc.

Well, you can avoid falling into the hands of hospitals and the 'health' system, because it can make you sick...OR EVEN KILL YOU! This means that you must be constantly aware of the health demands on your body such as the need to give it correct food, adequate exercise and rest, and of course adequate intakes of essential nutrients.

Liken it to your car... give it poor fuel and neglect the maintenance and it will either run badly or stop altogether.

I’ve come to believe that the true and natural state that we ought to be in, is HEALTHY and not sick. Just like the car. If you service it properly and put the right type of petrol and oil, it will carry you years and decades further down the road.

Our body is self-healing, provided we feed the right nutrients. If not, then we end up going to the doctor. And there we never know what’s going to happen.

The whole point in this issue is that despite whatever happens in hospitals or at the doctor’s office, it is our own RESPONSIBILITY to take care of our own health and body.

It all boils down to responsibility. Responsibility to eat the healthy foods, to exercise, to supplement where there’s deficiencies.

Research has shown that 92 percent of people today, cannot get the proper daily nutrients from the foods we eat.

Hence, the advent of nutritional supplements. The confusing part about nutritional supplements is that it is difficult to chose among thousands of different products. Personally, I have found to ask three questions whenever I consider to take a supplement product from anywhere:

1. Does it work?
2. Is it safe?
3. How do I know or what’s the proof for the above two?

Think about these 3 questions. If you’re taking supplements of any form or another, can you answer the above 3 questions? If not, then find another supplement product that answers the 3 questions above.

Until the next issue, wish you all the best in health.

Best Regards

Artin Vaqari

PS. You might want to check out a unique and scientific combination of 70 nutrients in one product that is safe and works, released in August 2003, which can:

· Fortify your immunity
· Improve your brains function
· Produce more energy
· Improve the digestive system
· Assist with weight management and sugar control
· And modulate your hormones to deter the aging process.

Click here for more details.

Back to Back Issues Page