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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Preventable Death

A new study from PLoS Medicine has shown that smoking and high blood pressure top the list as the number 1 and 2 modifiable risk factors that cause death


That was my first response as I read the list. As a read more though I began to feel motivated and interested. There is so much disease that we can prevent. If I can just try and help my patients make better decisions on what they eat and be more active -- i might really be able to make a difference.

Here is the list of the estimated number of deaths related to the risk factors annually:

  • 467,000 for smoking
  • 395,000 for high blood pressure
  • 216,000 for overweight and obesity
  • 191,000 for inadequate physical activity and inactivity
  • 190,000 for high blood glucose
  • 113,000 for high LDL cholesterol
  • 102,000 for high dietary salt
  • 84,000 for low dietary omega-3 fatty acids from seafood
  • 82,000 for high dietary trans fat
  • 64,000 for alcohol use (26,000 averted from benefits for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes versus 90,000 alcohol-related deaths from injuries, violence, cancers, and other diseases)
  • 58,000 for low fruit and vegetable intake
  • 15,000 for low dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids (less than 1% of all deaths)
If you have been reading this blog, you will not be surprised with this list. So many of these modifiable risks are related to our sedentary life style and unhealthy eating habits (and of course smoking).

If we can just try and be more active, not smoke, and eat a steady diet of "heart healthy" foods, we might get to the point where we actually die from things other that cardiovascular disease. Remember that heard disease and stroke remain the #1 and #3 killers of all Americans.

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