Life Extension Update
Better utilization of preventive services could save over 100,000 US lives per year
A study published by the Partnership for Prevention, funded in part by the US Centers for Disease Control, concluded that increasing the use of only five preventive services could save the lives of more than 100,000 Americans per year. Utilization of these services by more citizens would also increase the value of the dollars spent by the US on health care services by providing greater value in terms of a reduction of illness and premature death.
Preventive services evaluated in the report were initiated or provided by physicians, rather than measures that individuals decide to practice in their personal lives to prevent disease, such as eating a healthier diet. The most outstanding preventive service identified by the authors of the study was discussion of the prophylactic use of aspirin for older men and women. It was determined that increasing the use of daily aspirin from the current 50 percent to 90 percent of eligible adults could save 45,000 lives per year.
If the percentage of smokers who receive professional services helping them to quit their habit was increased from the current 28 percent to 90 percent, another 42,000 lives could be saved.
Timely colorectal cancer screening by 90 percent of adults aged 50 and older rather than the current 50 percent who are up to date would save an estimated 14,000 American lives. Increasing the utilization of breast cancer screening from 67 percent of women aged 40 and older who have been screened in the past two years to 90 percent would save 3,700 lives.
Twelve thousand lives per year could be saved if the percentage of adults age 50 and up who were vaccinated for influenza was increased from 37 to 90 percent.
In addition to these five lifesaving measures, 30,000 cases of pelvic inflammatory disease could be prevented yearly if screening for Chlamydia were increased from 40 to 90 percent of young sexually active women. Other potentially underutilized preventive services considered in the study were screening for alcoholism, hypertension, visual acuity, cervical cancer, cholesterol, hearing, osteoporosis, obesity, depression, and diabetes; counseling on diet and childhood injury prevention; childhood immunizations, a tetanus-diphtheria booster every 10 years for adults, and discussion with women of calcium and folic acid supplementation.
"A lot of Americans are not getting live-saving preventive services, particularly racial and ethnic minorities. As a result, too many people are dying prematurely or living with diseases that could have been prevented," stated Eduardo Sanchez, MD, MPH, who is the Chairman of the National Commission on Prevention Priorities, convened by Partnership for Prevention to guide the study.
"The bottom line is that we need to strengthen the U.S. health system by investing more in preventing disease," Partnership for Prevention President John M. Clymer concluded. "This new report makes it clear that following a few preventive steps may end up saving your life."
Since the early 1970s, researchers estimate that influenza has caused more than 40,000 deaths in the United States every year (Dushoff J et al 2006). It is estimated that flu outbreaks cost about $12 billion annually in the United States (Kasper DL et al 2004).
The following doses are higher than the usual recommended doses for these supplements. These higher levels should not be taken constantly, or as a general prophylaxis. They should be taken only to ward off flu symptoms. This program should be followed for only a few days. At the first sign of flu symptoms, consider taking:
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