Prevention is more effective than cure

The ultimate goal of any health system should be the prevention of disease and the promotion of optimal health. Most of our time and effort should focus on prevention. In an ideal world, general physicians would spend the majority of their time teaching their patients about preventative health and how to make healthy lifestyle choices. Scientific research shows that lifestyle changes not only help prevent diseases, but can actually arrest and reverse them. But what about humanity’s most dreaded diseases? Can these be prevented to any significant degree?

The leading causes of death in the U.S. are as follows:

1  Heart Disease – 80% of heart disease is completely preventable according to the Mayo Clinic.

2  Cancer – Cancer is 90% to 95% preventable according to studies published by the US National Library of Medicine.

3  Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases –85% preventable, CDC, WHO, NIH, American Lung Assn.

4  Accidents – It is unlikely that natural health prevents accidents to any measurable degree.

5  Strokes – 80% of all strokes are preventable according to the American Stroke Association and the American Heart Association.

6  Alzheimer’s Disease – 70% preventable as published in US Library of Medicine

7  Diabetes – 90% preventable according to Harvard School of Public Health

So, out of the five leading causes of disease, four can be prevented by 80% or more. Wait a minute! If we can prevent 80-95% of our top killers, why are so many people still dying from these causes? Why does the Center for Disease Control (CDC) say we spend 97% of all health care money on cure and only 3% on prevention when prevention is so much more effective than cure? I don’t mean for this to sound cynical, but frankly, there is no money to be made in prevention. In fact a number of industries would lose large sums of money if prevention was practiced. The only people who really profit from prevention are patients and a few fringe doctors. And, until doctors are incentivized for keeping people healthy rather than for treating disease, this is not likely to change.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” Benjamin Franklin.

“The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease” Thomas A. Edison