medical mistakesEfforts to make hospitals safer are proving ineffective. A large study conducted between 2002 and 2007 found that harm to patients was still common, and that the number of incidents was not decreasing over time.

Identified preventable problems included severe bleeding during an operation, breathing trouble caused by an improperly performed procedure, a fall that caused nerve damage and a dislocated hip, and vaginal cuts caused by a vacuum device during a birthing procedure.

The New York Times reports:

“… [I]nstead of improvements, the researchers found a high rate of problems. About 18 percent of patients were harmed by medical care, some more than once, and 63.1 percent of the injuries were judged to be preventable.”


Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

One of the reasons why I am so passionate about sharing preventive health strategies with you — tips like eating right, exercising and reducing stress — is because they can help you to stay out of the hospital.

And as much as possible, the hospital is a place you clearly want to avoid at all costs, except in cases of accidental trauma or surgical emergencies (such as appendicitis).

Over the last 10 years, hospitals have been well aware of their dismal patient safety ratings and unacceptable rates of injury and errors. But efforts meant to improve patient safety have fallen way short.

It’s Common to be Harmed by Medical Care in Hospitals

The latest study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that from 2002 to 2007, harm to patients at 10 North Carolina hospitals (hospitals that were involved in programs to improve patient safety) was common and did not decrease.

Instead, 18 percent of patients were harmed by medical care (some repeatedly) and over 63 percent of the injuries could have been prevented. In nearly 2.5 percent of these cases, the problems caused or contributed to a person’s death. In another 3 percent, patients suffered from permanent injury, while over 8 percent experienced life-threatening issues, such as severe bleeding during surgery.

Most often, patients suffered complications from medical procedures or drugs, or came down with a hospital-acquired infection. Other problems also occurred because hospitals failed to prevent infections and mistakes caused by urinary catheters, ventilators and lines inserted into veins and arteries.

In all, there were over 25 injuries per 100 admissions . a frighteningly high statistic for a health care system that demands more than twice the amount of spending as health care in other developed nations.

Research on Hospitals Paints a Grim Picture

The New England Journal of Medicine study only adds to the growing roster of evidence highlighting the sad state of safety in many U.S. hospitals.

The HealthGrades Patient Safety in American Hospitals Study, released in March 2010, found that “patient safety incidents,” which is a nice way of saying “preventable medical mistakes,” are common in U.S. hospitals. In all, over the years 2006-2008, there were nearly 1 million incidents among Medicare patients, and one in 10 of them were deadly.

The HealthGrades report pointed out that “the incidence rate of medical harm occurring is estimated to be over 40,000 each and EVERY day according to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.”

You read that right: 40,000 medical mistakes a day!

Further, in the United States, more than 2 million people are affected by hospital-acquired infections every year, and 100,000 people die as a result. In one of the largest nationally representative studies to date, released earlier this year, it was found that 48,000 people died due to sepsis or pneumonia caused by hospital-acquired infections alone!

The saddest part is, virtually every one of these infections could likely have been prevented with better infection control in hospitals.

Recent studies have shown that hospital-acquired infections are not a normal side-effect of caring for the seriously ill, but are generally caused by poor medical care. This includes not only contaminated medical devices but also spreading germs from patient-to-patient.

Doctors and nurses not washing their hands prior to touching a patient is the most common violation in hospitals. According to findings by the Seattle Times, in the worst cases, as few as 40 percent of staff members comply with hand-washing standards, with doctors being the worst offenders.

But even the best hospitals had no better than 90 percent compliance — which means one out of 10 practitioners may have contaminated hands even under the best circumstances.

U.S. Ranks Last for Unnecessary Deaths and 49th for Life Expectancy

The U.S. now ranks LAST out of 19 countries for unnecessary deaths — deaths that could have been avoided through timely and effective medical care. Additionally, one-third of adults with health problems reported mistakes in their care in 2007, and rates of visits to physicians or emergency departments for adverse drug effects increased by one-third between 2001 and 2004.

The United States also now ranks 49th for male and female life expectancy worldwide, a ranking that has fallen sharply from fifth place in 1950.

Among the most likely suspects for Americans’ declining health were not obesity, traffic accidents, murder or other “big killers” you might suspect. Rather, researchers pointed to unnecessary medical procedures and an uncoordinated system with fragmented care, where patients rely on numerous providers to treat various bits and pieces of a problem, rather than seeking out one provider who will treat them as a whole.

The problem is complex, but as it stands, due to poor safety procedures, inadequate staffing and training, and more, you risk being harmed any time you enter a hospital. Among the top mistakes and mishaps to be aware of are:

How to Stay Out of the Hospital

By nourishing your physical and mental health with the proper tools, you can drastically lower your chances of needing to go to the hospital. You will need to take control of your health to do so and avoid becoming another sad statistic.

Remember, some of the best ways to improve your health are very inexpensive. Some are even free. Below I’ve listed a number of these basic strategies you can use to avoid getting sucked into the current disease-care paradigm.

Following these guidelines will be a powerful way to avoid premature aging, and improve your health, no matter what your age, so you can avoid having to take your chances in a hospital.

What to do if You Have to go to the Hospital

In the event that you need to spend time in a hospital, you need to be your own patient-safety advocate, and also ask a family member or friend to act as one for you when you’re not able.

Remember, first and foremost, that your life is in the hands of your health care providers, and you have every right to be informed about every procedure that is performed on you. So be vigilant in asking questions about medications, medical procedures and surgery before they are given to you or performed.

You will also want to ask your physicians and nurses to double-check their orders before injecting a drug into your IV, administering radiation, hooking up medical tubing or performing surgery to make sure they have the right body part, procedure, tube, dosage, etc. You can also ask your providers to wash their hands when they come into your room.

The HealthGrades 2010 report also found major discrepancies in medical errors between the hospitals at the top of the list and those at the bottom, so if you have a choice of hospitals, do your research first. You can find patient-safety ratings at hospitals across the United States from the HealthGrades Web site.

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prescription drugsA new study now proves that spending more on drugs does not always translate into healthier patients. And in a second study, it was shown that when government insurers crack down on payments for certain drugs, doctors are less likely to prescribe them unnecessarily.

There are enormous variations across the U.S. in how much doctors and hospitals spend on drugs to treat Medicare patients. But there was found to be no correlation between that spending and how well patients did. And in regions with higher per capita medical spending, patients were more likely to be given prescriptions for riskier drugs.

Reuters reports:

“[The] second study found that when Medicare stopped paying so much for a drug that could be used inappropriately, doctors used it less often — and more effectively.”


Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

There is a dangerous misconception in the United States, among both patients and physicians, that when you’re sick you need a drug to feel better. Indeed,in some cases properly prescribed medications can and do save lives.

But in the vast majority of cases, drugs are overused and overprescribed, even in cases where the risks far exceed any potential benefits.

So this new study from the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, which found absolutely no correlation between spending more on drugs and improved patient outcomes, is really no surprise.

And a second study, also in the New England Journal of Medicine, revealed rather glaringly that when physicians’ reimbursements for drugs fell, so did the prescribing rates. And they were not withholding the drugs from patients who may have needed them . they tended to cut out all those unnecessary or inappropriate subscriptions instead.

When the Cure is Worse than the Disease

The average American, aged 19 to 64, now takes close to 12 prescription drugs every year!

The average senior typically fills over 31 prescriptions every year, and even children, between the ages of 0-18, are taking an average of close to 4 prescriptions annually.

But with all of these drugs, Americans are not walking around with stellar health.

Instead, chronic disease rates are rising and the latest study published in Health Affairs revealed that the United States now ranks 49th for male and female life expectancy worldwide, a ranking that has fallen sharply from fifth place in 1950.

At the same time that life expectancy has been declining at faster rates than many other industrialized nations, per capita health spending has been on the rise.

Specifically, U.S. per capita health spending rose at nearly twice the rate of other developed countries between 1970 and 2002, which means the U.S. spends more than twice the amount on health care as other developed nations.

Part of this spending is going toward the excessive and unnecessary use of prescription drugs, which as Reuters reported, Dr. Paul Griner of the University of Rochester estimated that unnecessary or inappropriate tests and procedures add up to about 20 percent of health care spending.

Prescription Drugs Can Make Your Health Worse

Taking medications is clearly not the route to optimal health that the modern medical system would have you believe it is.

Instead, researchers noted in Health Affairs that among the most likely suspects for Americans’ declining health were unnecessary medical procedures and an uncoordinated system with fragmented care, where patients rely on numerous providers to treat various bits and pieces of a problem, rather than seeking out one provider who will treat them as a whole.

This system, as you may have experienced first-hand, is becoming known throughout the world not for its technology or advances but for its alarming rates of medical errors and poor results in relation to its astronomical costs.

Ten years ago, Professor Bruce Pomerance of the University of Toronto concluded that properly prescribed and correctly taken pharmaceutical drugs were the fourth leading cause of death in the US. More recently, Johns Hopkins Medical School refined this research and discovered that medical errors and prescription drugs together may actually be the LEADING cause of death.

So the primary form of “health care” and treatment in the United States may actually prematurely kill more people than any disease plaguing our society!

Adverse Drug Reactions Much More Common than You Might Think

More than 700,000 people visit U.S. emergency rooms each year as a result of adverse drug reactions. And, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), adverse drug reactions from drugs that are properly prescribed and properly administered cause about 106,000 deaths per year, making prescription drugs the fourth-leading cause of death in the U.S.

Compare this to the death toll from illegal drugs — which is about 10,000 per year — and you begin to see the magnitude of the problem that the pharmaceutical industry is propagating.

According to one Newsweek article, only heart disease, cancer, and stroke kill more Americans than drugs prescribed by medical doctors! Reactions to prescription drugs kill more than twice as many Americans as HIV/AIDS or suicide. Fewer die from accidents or diabetes than adverse drug reactions.

Then there is the issue of polypharmacy, which refers to the poisonous chemical cocktail of multiple drugs that many people are taking. This is an increasing health concern not just for the elderly, but for everyone.

Dr. Michael Stern, a specialist in geriatric emergency medicine at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, told the New York Times:

“Polypharmacy is responsible for up to 28 percent of hospital admissions and, if it were classified as such, it would be the fifth leading cause of death in the United States.”

So far, only a handful of drug interactions are noted to be dangerous. For instance:

  • Ibuprofen can cause bleeding ulcers when taken with prescription painkillers.
  • Combining ginkgo biloba with blood-thinning drugs like aspirin or warfarin can lead to severe bleeding.
  • The antibiotic erythromycin can lead to a toxic reaction when combined with certain cholesterol-lowering drugs, potentially leading to kidney failure.

Unfortunately, most drug interactions are discovered by accident and entirely too late — or are not discovered at all because people may not equate their symptoms to their medications. Of course, even if you only take one prescription drug at a time, there’s still a risk.

Optimal Health Can be Reached without Drugs

Most of you know that I rarely recommend pharmaceuticals, and in fact my mission is to transform the existing medical paradigm from one addicted to pharmaceuticals, surgeries and other methods that only conceal or remove specific symptoms — with morbid results to our health and economy — to one focused on treating and preventing the foundational underlying causes.

In many cases, your health will actually improve when you stop taking drugs and are no longer subjected to their side effects.

You should not stop any medications you are currently taking until you are working with a knowledgeable natural health care practitioner who can help guide you, but minimizing your use of drugs should be a goal if you want to achieve optimal health.

Keep in mind, too, that many drugs are designed to create life-long dependency.

For instance, acid-reducing medications actually induce acid-related symptoms like heartburn and acid regurgitation once treatment is withdrawn. Headache drugs can also cause “medication overuse headaches” leading you to seek another drug to relieve the pain caused by the first one.

It’s all too common to have to take one or more additional drugs solely to treat side effects caused by your initial drug treatment, so the more you can stay away from this warped system, the better.

The desire to solve problems by taking drugs is a product of our culture, perpetuated by everyone, from drug manufacturers, to doctors, to government health officials, to you.

When you teach your child that the appropriate response to pain or discomfort is to take a pill, the obvious result is that he will seek comfort by taking drugs when faced with the challenges of adolescence and, later, as an adult.

Please know that you and your family CAN take control of your health, and you can typically do so without using medications.

My site is chock full of free comprehensive recommendations that can serve as an excellent starting point. The tools I provide on this site will help you to reduce your reliance on the broken health care system, including its overuse of drugs.

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pills on a spoonAbbott Laboratories is taking its weight loss drug Meridia (sibutramine) off the market, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The company voluntarily withdrew the drug in the wake of findings showing an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes in people who used the drug. Meridia is taken by about 8 million people worldwide.

According to Paging Dr. Gupta:

Approved in 1997 for weight loss, the original data on the drug showed that people who took Meridia lost at least 5 percent more of their body weight …

The FDA requested the company withdraw the drug after reviewing data from a follow-up study known as the Sibutramine Cardiovascular Outcomes Trial (SCOUT ). It showed there was a 16 percent increase in the risk of serious heart events.”


Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

Meridia has shown danger signs since it was approved in 1997 and now more than a decade later will finally be taken off the market. This is yet another example of an “FDA-approved” medication that was causing far more harm to Americans than good . and another reason to seriously reconsider taking drugs for weight loss.

Warning Signs for Meridia Were There from the Start

Meridia’s heart risks were known from the beginning; when it was approved it carried a warning on its label stating that the drug should not be used in people with a history of heart disease, heart failure, heart-rhythm problems or stroke.

The drug, which suppresses your appetite by altering levels of the brain chemicals serotonin and norepinephrine, is also widely known to raise blood pressure and heart rate, and an FDA advisory panel recommended against its approval in 1996 for this very reason.

Public Citizen later petitioned the FDA to ban the drug in 2002, alleging that it was responsible for causing dozens of deaths and hundreds of adverse patient reactions since it came to market.

In 2005, the FDA again considered placing stricter warnings on the drug, and in January 2010 finally asked Abbott, the drug’s maker, to strengthen the warning following review of preliminary data from the SCOUT study.

The SCOUT study, which ultimately lead the FDA to request the drug be removed from the market entirely, found a 28 percent increased risk of heart attack and a 36 percent increased risk of stroke in patients taking Meridia compared to placebo.

Those are steep risks for a drug that only leads to an average weight loss of 9.5 pounds a year — hardly worth risking a fatal heart attack or stroke over.

What are You Willing to Risk to Lose Weight?

Obesity carries with it serious health risks, including cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and with rates increasing steadily it is a condition that needs to be taken seriously.

However, risking your life to lose less than 10 pounds is not a risk that any rational person should take.

Weight gain is obviously influenced by many factors, but the two that everyone keeps coming back to — diet and exercise — are still the primary ones you should keep in your mind. Combine a healthy diet with exercise — and be sure you are addressing the emotional component of food, eating and weight gain — and most people WILL lose weight.

Specifically, this includes:

  1. Tailoring your diet to your nutritional type.
  2. Viewing exercise as a drug and incorporating a variety of exercise types, including Peak Fitness, which can dramatically improve your cardiovascular fitness and fat-burning capabilities in a fraction of the time.
  3. Letting go of your emotional blocks to overcome emotional eating and food cravings.

It would be wonderful if there were a “quick-fix” solution to obesity, but there is not. And any pill or surgery that claims to offer you one will not only be ineffective but may put your health in jeopardy.

Mark my words; Meridia will not be the last weight loss drug to be pulled from the market over health concerns. Already, it’s been revealed that the over-the-counter weight loss drug Alli may increase cancer risks like its prescription cousin Xenical, again with only modest weight loss benefits, but both are still currently on the market.

You CAN Lose Weight Without Drugs

There is no magic pill for weight loss, but when you start paying close attention to what you’re eating drastic beneficial changes can take place rather quickly. You will want to pay very careful attention to keeping your insulin levels down, primarily by avoiding fructose as much as possible.

Keep in mind, too, that even if you were to take a drug for weight loss, they all still require that you make dietary and exercise changes. The pill will be useless without them!

Even weight loss surgeries have these requirements, as many centers will require that you exercise after the surgery, and prior to the surgery that you stop smoking, drinking soda and eating fast food. Many will even require you to lose weight prior to the surgery!

The Right Type of Exercise is the KEY

It is also simply impossible to optimize your health and weight without regular exercise, and as I said above you can dramatically reduce your workout time and maximize your weight loss by using Peak Fitness.

The beautiful aspect of Peak Fitness is that it takes a FRACTION of the time your normal cardio program does. It is only 20 minutes. What has been amazing me is that since I introduced this approach in May I have had no less than 10 people either tell me personally at lectures I give, or write on the website, that using the program has caused them to lose 30 pounds or more.

The really odd factor here is that I NEVER promoted it for weight loss, just health.

The other surprising element is that I have been recommending people exercise for decades, but the exercises were primarily based on flawed aerobic cardio principles. In those years I don’t recall anyone ever tell me directly that they had used an exercise program I recommended to lose large amounts of weight in a short period of time.

The Peak 8 program truly is extraordinary. Not only will it help you lose fat but it will also help you gain muscle by increasing your growth hormone levels.

Yes it is hard and requires mental tenacity to get through the 20 minutes, but the results are more than worth it — and you will really feel great about what you did.

So there is really no way around it if you are serious about losing weight — diet and exercise are key. The good news is, though, that when you address weight loss through a healthy lifestyle the only “side effects” you’ll have to worry about are good ones, like increased energy, better sleep and a boost to your self-esteem . no heart attacks, no strokes and no other atrocious risks required.

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mammogram filmA new study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that increased awareness and improved treatments rather than mammograms are the main force in reducing the breast cancer death rate.

The study, medical experts say, is the first to assess the benefit of mammography in the context of the modern era of breast cancer treatment.

While it is unlikely to settle the debate over mammograms – and experts continue to disagree about the value of the test – it indicates that improved treatments with hormonal therapy and other targeted drugs may have, in a way, washed out most of mammography’s benefits by making it less important to find cancers when they are too small to feel.

As stated by the New York Times:

“In the new study, mammograms, combined with modern treatment, reduced the death rate by 10 percent, but the study data indicated that the effect of mammograms alone could be as low as 2 percent or even zero.

A 10 percent reduction would mean that if 1,000 50-year-old women were screened over a decade, 996 women rather than 995.6 would not die from the cancer – an effect so tiny it may have occurred by chance.”


Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

Mammograms are often touted as a “life-saving” form of cancer screening, responsible for reducing breast cancer death rates by 15-25 percent. But this reported benefit is based on outdated studies done decades ago .

The New England Journal of Medicine is one of the most prestigious medical journals and it has now published the first recent study to look at the effectiveness of mammograms in years, and their findings are a far cry from what most public health officials and physicians would have you believe.

A Close to ZERO Percent Benefit .

In the latest study, researchers analyzed data from over 40,000 Norwegian women with breast cancer and found that those who had mammograms and were treated by special breast cancer medical teams had a 10 percent lower breast cancer death rate than women who had neither.

However, they also found that women over the age of 70 who were treated by the special teams had an 8 percent lower death risk from breast cancer, even though they had not received mammograms.

What this suggests, and what Dr. H. Gilbert Welch wrote in an accompanying editorial, is that mammograms may have only reduced the cancer death rate by 2 percent — an amount so small it may as well be zero.

So the fact remains that there is no solid evidence that mammograms save lives. Past research has also demonstrated that adding an annual mammogram to a careful physical examination of the breasts does not improve breast cancer survival rates over getting the examination alone.

Now, if mammograms were completely safe and capable of reducing your cancer death risk even a small amount, you might be able to make an argument for their use. But mammograms are not only ineffective . they’re unsafe as well.

The Dangers of Mammography: Ionizing Radiation

The first problem with mammograms is that they use ionizing radiation at a relatively high dose, which in and of itself can contribute to the development of breast cancer. Mammograms expose your body to radiation that can be 1,000 times greater than that from a chest x-ray, which we know poses a cancer risk.

Mammography also compresses your breasts tightly, which could lead to a dangerous spread of cancerous cells, should they exist. Dr. Charles B. Simone, a former clinical associate in immunology and pharmacology at the National Cancer Institute, said:

“Mammograms increase the risk for developing breast cancer and raise the risk of spreading or metastasizing an existing growth.”

Dr. Samuel Epstein, one of the top cancer experts, similarly stated:

“The premenopausal breast is highly sensitive to radiation, each 1 rad exposure increasing breast cancer risk by about 1 percent, with a cumulative 10 percent increased risk for each breast over a decade’s screening.”

False Positives are Alarmingly Common

The second glaring problem with mammography is its unacceptably high rate of false positives.

If a mammogram detects an abnormal spot in a woman’s breast, the next step is typically a biopsy. This involves taking a small amount of tissue from the breast, which is then looked at by a pathologist under a microscope to determine if cancer is present.

The problem is that early stage cancer like ductal carcinoma in situ, or D.C.I.S., can be very hard to diagnose, and pathologists have a wide range of experience and expertise. There are no diagnostic standards for D.C.I.S., and there are no requirements that the pathologists doing the readings have specialized expertise.

Dr. Shahla Masood, the head of pathology at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Jacksonville, told the New York Times:

“There are studies that show that diagnosing these borderline breast lesions occasionally comes down to the flip of a coin.”

Of course, upon receiving a breast cancer diagnosis, most women are afraid and even frantic to do whatever it takes to fight and remove the cancer. In the conventional medical arena, typically this means full or partial mastectomy, drugs and radiation.

Imagine going through surgery, having one or both of your breasts removed along with receiving debilitating radiation treatments and toxic drugs, only to later be told that you never had cancer.

This scenario happens more often than you might think, and you can read about several women’s terrifying ordeals with false breast cancer diagnoses here.

How Often do Mammograms Lead to False Positive Diagnoses?

Estimates suggest that 17 percent of D.C.I.S. cases found through needle biopsy (often the next step after a mammogram detects a mass) are misdiagnosed. The New York Times also reported on several other concerning findings about the frequency of misdiagnosis:

  • A 2006 study by Susan G. Komen for the Cure estimated that in 90,000 cases when women were diagnosed with D.C.I.S. or invasive breast cancer, they either did not have the disease or they got incorrect treatment due to a pathologist error.
  • A 2002 study at Northwestern University Medical Center found that nearly 8 percent of 340 breast cancer cases ” had errors serious enough to change plans for surgery.”
  • Dr. Lagios, a pathologist at St. Mary’s Medical Center in San Francisco, reviewed nearly 600 breast cases in 2007 and 2008 and found discrepancies in 141 of them.

Mammograms also carry a first-time false positive rate of up to 6 percent. False positives can lead to unnecessary emotional stress and expensive repeat screenings, exposing you to even more radiation. Plus, as discussed earlier, they can sometimes result in unnecessary invasive procedures including biopsies, unnecessary surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and more.

The BEST Way to Lower Your Risk of Breast Cancer

Mammograms will not prevent you from getting breast cancer, and the latest study shows they offer very little benefit in improving your chances of survival if you do have it. So the best strategy, which I encourage all women to embark upon today, is not to simply get your yearly mammogram and hope for the best — it’s to make lifestyle changes that will significantly cut your cancer risks in the first place.

Researchers estimate that about 40 percent of U.S. breast cancer cases, or about 70,000 cases every year, could be prevented by making lifestyle changes.

A healthy diet, regular physical exercise, and an effective way to manage your emotional health are the cornerstones of just about any cancer prevention program, including breast cancer, but you will also want to make sure your vitamin D levels are optimized.

Vitamin D, a steroid hormone that influences virtually every cell in your body, is easily one of nature’s most potent cancer fighters.

According to one landmark study, some 600,000 cases of breast and colorectal cancers could be prevented each year if vitamin D levels among populations worldwide were increased. And that’s just counting the death toll for two types of cancer (it actually works against at least 16 different types)!

So please do watch my one-hour free lecture on vitamin D to find out what your optimal vitamin D levels should be . and how to get them there. This is one of the most important steps you can take to protect yourself from cancer.

There’s also research showing that by simply supplementing your diet with animal-based omega-3 fats like krill oil you may reduce your breast cancer risk by 32 percent, so this is another strategy I suggest you embrace.

What about Screening?

Effective cancer screening methods are important, but mammography is simply NOT a safe or effective cancer screen. Instead, I strongly advise you to consider the safer and more effective alternative of thermographic breast screening, especially if you are younger and have not already been diagnosed with, or undergone treatment for, breast cancer.

By measuring the radiation of infrared heat from your body, thermographic screening can detect signs of breast cancer as much as 10 years earlier than either mammography or a physical exam — all without any ionizing radiation or mechanical pressure.

Its ability to detect the possibility of breast cancer, before any tumors have formed, is because it can provide a picture of the early stages of angiogenesis — the formation of a direct supply of blood to cancer cells, which is a necessary step before they can grow into tumors of size.

I recently discussed this mechanism in another article. In it, Dr. Li presents compelling evidence that by including more anti-angiogenetic foods in your diet, you may be able to effectively starve cancer and prevent tumors from ever forming since they must have sufficient blood supply to thrive, just like all other cells.

Were you to undergo a thermographic screening and discover that angiogenesis is taking place, meaning that tiny blood vessels have begun sprouting to an area to feed cancer cells, you now have YEARS at your disposal to effectively “cure yourself” (although by conventional standards you’re not yet ill) by implementing lifesaving lifestyle changes.

This would logically include increased amounts of anti-angiogenetic foods such as red grapes, berries, turmeric and broccoli, just to name a few. For more information, I recommend watching Dr. Li’s video.

If you’d like more information about thermography, simply click the button below.

natural health center- thermography

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diabetes drugA September 23, 2010 article in the New England Journal of Medicine announced that, finally, the FDA has stepped forward and decided on regulatory action for Avandia, a diabetes drug that last year claimed 1,354 lives as a result of cardiac-associated problems.

The FDA is restricting access to Avandia by requiring GSK to submit a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy, or REMS.

Under the ruling, the drug will be available to patients not already taking it only if they are unable to achieve glycemic control using other medications and, in consultation with their health care professional, decide not to take a different drug for medical reasons.

Current users of Avandia will be able to continue using the medication if they appear to be benefiting from it and they acknowledge that they understand these risks. Doctors will have to attest to and document their patients’ eligibility; patients will have to review statements describing the cardiovascular safety concerns.

But did the FDA go far enough – could it be too little, too late?

Unlike the US FDA, British regulators have ruled that GlaxoSmithKline’s diabetes drug Avandia could lead to heart attacks or strokes, and benefits no longer outweigh the risks.

And so last week, they told 90,000 British diabetes patients to stop taking it.

Evidence linking Avandia to an increased risk of a heart attack or stroke has been building since 2007, and GSK has agreed to pay $460 million in damages to settle about 10,000 lawsuits in America linking its use to patients suffering serious medical setbacks. But the US FDA has chosen only to monitor the drug, rather than ask for a recall.


Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

Like Vioxx, the case of Avandia has turned into yet another classic example of what is fundamentally wrong with the conventional medical paradigm.

Diabetes has increased more than 700 percent in the last 50 years. Today, more than one in four Americans are either pre-diabetic or have full-blown diabetes.

In response, conventional medicine offers up drugs that in no way, shape or form treat the cause of the problem, and worse yet, can prematurely kill many of those who take them.

The drug in question here, rosiglitazone, is sold under the names of Avandia, Avandamet and Avaglim. Avandia alone is used by 2 million people worldwide.

But other diabetic drugs are not necessarily any safer. Two years ago I wrote about Byetta, an “add-on” drug for diabetes (meaning it’s usually prescribed in combination with other drugs) that can cause acute and in some cases lethal pancreatitis.

The saddest part about this debacle is that type 2 diabetes is not only a completely avoidable disease, but also one that in nearly all cases can be successfully reversed without ever touching a drug.

The only thing rosiglitazone drugs like Avandia do is to help lower blood glucose, which has virtually no influence on the long-term damage due to type 2 diabetes. Most of the damage is caused by elevated insulin levels, which can be remedied with an optimal diet and exercise program alone, if you’re compliant.

Another aspect of this story that makes Avandia such a poster child for this lethal paradigm is the fact that GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturer of Avandia, hid damaging information about the drug for over ten years, as it would adversely affect their sales!

Again and again we are confronted with indisputable evidence that the drug paradigm is about money, not health.

Between 1999 and 2007, Avandia is estimated to have caused 83,000 unnecessary heart attacks. This is a steep price, to say the least, for a disease that does not require drugs to begin with.

This is 20,000 more deaths than Merck caused when they sold Vioxx.

European Medicines Agency Bans Avandia

Avandia hit the market in 1999 and quickly became a blockbuster drug. By 2006 its annual revenue was $3.2 billion. By 2009, sales had dropped to $1.2 billion following a damning study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) in 2007, which linked Avandia to a 43 percent increased risk of heart attack and a 64 percent higher risk of cardiovascular death than patients treated with other methods.

Unfortunately, a committee of independent experts recommended that Avandia remain on the US market, despite its risks, and an FDA oversight board voted 8 to 7 to accept the advice.

Since that 2007 NEJM study, data from various trials, studies and meta-analyses have consistently confirmed the dangers of this drug, and based on the evidence amassed over the past three years, the European Medicines Agency is now recommending the withdrawal of rosiglitazone-containing diabetic drugs due to the increased risk of ischaemic heart disease.

Their recent press release states that,

“. the Committee could not identify additional measures that would reduce the cardiovascular risk. The Committee therefore concluded that the benefits of rosiglitazone no longer outweigh its risks and recommended the suspension of the marketing authorization of the medicines.

Europe will cease all prescriptions of these drugs within the next few months.

American patients, however, will not receive the same protection from the US FDA.

The September 23, 2010 article in NEJM explains:

“Following an advisory committee meeting held in July 2007, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) added information about the possibility of ischemic cardiovascular risk to the drug’s existing boxed warning. At the same time, the FDA also required the sponsors to conduct a head-to-head cardiovascular safety trial of rosiglitazone versus pioglitazone – the other antidiabetic drug in this class available in the United States.

After new data became available, the FDA held a second advisory committee meeting on rosiglitazone safety on July 13 and 14, 2010. On September 23, 2010, the FDA announced regulatory actions stemming from these deliberations.”

The regulatory actions we’ll see in the US includes restricting access to these drugs, but they’re STILL not being taken off the market.

Current users are supposed to be informed of the dangers and sign off that they understand the risks, but can otherwise continue taking it “if they appear to be benefitting from it.” New patients are only supposed to be offered the drug if they’re unable to control their diabetes using some other form of medication.

So, while the European agency determined that there is no way of reducing the cardiovascular risks involved if you’re on this drug, and that its risks outweigh its benefits, the US FDA is still vacillating on this issue.

They seem completely incapable of determining whether or not the lives of tens of thousands of people are more valuable than the corporate profits that feed the agency.

Why is that?

NEJM also points this out, stating that:

“The rosiglitazone controversy is remarkable because there are strongly held, differing positions on how the agency should respond to emerging safety data, both inside the FDA and in the biomedical community.

The 2010 advisory committee was split in advising the agency about what to do. Moving from the least to most restrictive options, 3 members voted to allow continued marketing with no changes to the label; 7 voted that the FDA should adjust the label to account for the new concerns but take no additional action; 10 members voted for the FDA to both increase warnings and limit access to rosiglitazone; and 12 voted that the medication should be removed from the market altogether.

The FDA decided to increase warnings and limit access to rosiglitazone substantially.”

The fact that ANYONE would be callous enough to vote to continue marketing Avandia with little or no change in strategy whatsoever is astounding to me. Yet there were plenty of voices speaking FOR the continuation of insane greed.

That in and of itself speaks volumes about the FDA’s lack of concern for your well-being…

NEJM also hits the nail on its head with the statement that, “the case of rosiglitazone underscores the need for a robust evidence base to demonstrate the safety of medicines administered long-term.”

Amen to that.

But I believe we need to go even further, and re-educate people about their need for such pills in the first place. The drug industry has been able to manipulate the medical industry and most consumers into believing their drugs are the answer to the problem.

Unfortunately, in the vast majority of cases, taking the drug route will lead you further and further away from health, and closer to ever more serious health problems.

Diabetes in particular is a perfect example of a health problem best treated without drugs – if you ever want to get well, that is.

So please understand, you cannot successfully treat the underlying cause of diabetes with drugs!

Most Diabetic Recommendations are DEAD Wrong!

And I do mean dead, literally, as they are prematurely killing millions with their flawed insights into basic human physiology.

It’s sad but true – most conventional recommendations for diabetics are seriously flawed and if you follow them, you will likely experience increased health problems and premature death.

First and foremost, you must understand that diabetes is NOT a blood sugar disease like your doctor may have led you to believe. Rather, type 2 diabetes is a disease caused by insulin resistance and faulty leptin signaling, both of which are regulated through your diet.

Listen, the evidence is crystal clear. Regarding Avandia, there is NO REASON for ANYONE to take this drug for diabetes.  It has already killed over 80,000 people and does nothing to ameliorate the side effects of diabetes or prevent its complications because it does nothing to address the cause.

It is simply CRIMINAL that this drug is still on the market.

If you or anyone you know is still taking this drug you must warn them of this danger. This is literally a life and death situation. Tell them there are simple, inexpensive, and in many cases free, ways to treat diabetes that actually work and do not kill them.

I discuss these strategies below.

Why You MUST Restrict Fructose Consumption if You Want to Avoid or Treat Diabetes

If you want to successfully address your diabetes, or avoid it in the first place, you simply must address your fructose consumption. Your body metabolizes fructose differently from glucose and these differences lead to serious health consequences, one of which is diabetes.

For example, fructose does not stimulate a rise in leptin, so your satiety signals are diminished. It also reduces the amount of leptin crossing your blood-brain barrier by raising triglycerides. And whereas glucose suppresses ghrelin (the hunger hormone, which makes you want more food), fructose does not.

Fructose also increases your insulin levels, interfering with the communication between leptin and your hypothalamus, so your pleasure signals aren’t extinguished. Your brain senses starvation and prompts you to eat more.

All of this also sets the stage for over indulgence and hence overweight, and puts you on the path toward both obesity and diabetes.

I strongly advise keeping your fructose consumption below 25 grams per day.

However, since most people still eat processed foods, it would be wise for most people to limit their fructose to 15 grams or less.

This includes fruits, which also need to be carefully measured to make certain that you’re not inadvertently consuming too much fructose. See the table below to get an idea of how much fructose is in your favorite fruits.

Fruit Serving Size Grams of Fructose
Limes 1 medium 0
Lemons 1 medium 0.6
Cranberries 1 cup 0.7
Passion fruit 1 medium 0.9
Prune 1 medium 1.2
Apricot 1 medium 1.3
Guava 2 medium 2.2
Date (Deglet Noor style) 1 medium 2.6
Cantaloupe 1/8 of med. melon 2.8
Raspberries 1 cup 3.0
Clementine 1 medium 3.4
Kiwifruit 1 medium 3.4
Blackberries 1 cup 3.5
Star fruit 1 medium 3.6
Cherries, sweet 10 3.8
Strawberries 1 cup 3.8
Cherries, sour 1 cup 4.0
Pineapple 1 slice
(3.5″ x .75″)
Grapefruit, pink or red 1/2 medium 4.3
Fruit Serving Size Grams of Fructose
Boysenberries 1 cup 4.6
Tangerine/mandarin orange 1 medium 4.8
Nectarine 1 medium 5.4
Peach 1 medium 5.9
Orange (navel) 1 medium 6.1
Papaya 1/2 medium 6.3
Honeydew 1/8 of med. melon 6.7
Banana 1 medium 7.1
Blueberries 1 cup 7.4
Date (Medjool) 1 medium 7.7
Apple (composite) 1 medium 9.5
Persimmon 1 medium 10.6
Watermelon 1/16 med. melon 11.3
Pear 1 medium 11.8
Raisins 1/4 cup 12.3
Grapes, seedless (green or red) 1 cup 12.4
Mango 1/2 medium 16.2
Apricots, dried 1 cup 16.4
Figs, dried 1 cup 23.0

Clearly, eliminating excess fructose from your diet is far safer and more effective than taking a drug like Avandia if you have diabetes. Unfortunately, most doctors will not tell you this, because they too have been brainwashed by drug- and food industry propaganda.

You CAN Cure Diabetes!

As I said earlier, type 2 diabetes is virtually 100 percent avoidable and can be effectively treated without medications in about the same percentage of cases by recovering your leptin and insulin sensitivity.

Leptin, a relatively recently discovered hormone produced by fat, tells your body and brain how much energy it has, whether it needs more (saying “be hungry”), whether it should get rid of some (and stop being hungry) and importantly what to do with the energy it has (reproduce, upregulate cellular repair, or not).

In fact, the two most important organs that may determine whether you become (type 2, insulin resistant) diabetic or not are your liver and your brain, and it is their ability to listen to leptin that will determine this.

And guess what…

The only known way to reestablish proper leptin and insulin signaling is through a proper diet and exercise!

There is NO drug that can accomplish this, but following the lifestyle strategies listed below can help you do at least three things that are essential for successfully treating diabetes:

  1. Recover your insulin/leptin sensitivity
  2. Help normalize your weight, and
  3. Naturally normalize your blood pressure

None of these will drastically raise your risk of a heart attack the way Avandia will. Rather, they will benefit your heart and your entire body:

  • Severely limit or eliminate sugar and grains in your diet, especially fructose, which is far more detrimental than any other type of sugar.

    Finding out your nutritional type will help you do this without much fuss. While nearly all type 2 diabetics need to swap out their grains for other foods, some people will benefit from using protein for the substitution, while others will benefit from using more vegetable-only carbohydrates.

    Therefore, along with reducing grains and sugars, determining your nutritional type will give you some insight into what foods you should use to replace the grains and sugars.

  • Exercise regularly — a must for anyone with diabetes or pre-diabetes. Typically, you’ll need large amounts of exercise, until you get your blood sugar levels under control. You may need up to an hour or two a day. Naturally, you’ll want to gradually work your way up to that amount, based on your current level of fitness.
  • Avoid trans fats
  • Get plenty of omega-3 fats from a high quality, animal-based source.
  • Get enough high-quality sleep every night.
  • Optimize your vitamin D levels. Recent studies have revealed that getting enough vitamin D can have a powerful effect on normalizing your blood pressure and that low vitamin D levels may increase your risk of heart disease.

    Optimizing your vitamin D levels may also eliminate the risk of type 1 diabetes in your children if you are pregnant. It’s also vital for infants to receive the appropriate amounts of vitamin D in their early years for these same reasons.

    Ideally, you’ll want to do this by exposing a large amount of your skin to appropriate amounts of sunshine (or a safe tanning bed) on a regular basis, year-round. Your body can safely create up to 20,000 units of vitamin D a day this way.

    However, if neither of these options are available, you may want to use an oral vitamin D3 supplement. But remember, if you choose to take an oral supplement it’s essential that you get your levels tested regularly by a proficient lab to make sure you’re not reaching toxic levels, and are within the therapeutic range. Maintaining your vitamin D levels around 60-80 ng/ml can significantly help control your blood sugar.

  • Address any underlying emotional issues and/or stress. Non-invasive tools like the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) can be extremely helpful and effective.
  • Monitor your fasting insulin level. This is every bit as important as your fasting blood sugar. You’ll want your fasting insulin level to be between 2 to 4. The higher your level, the worse your insulin receptor sensitivity is.

These are the top steps you should take, starting today, if you have type 2 diabetes. Doing so will virtually guarantee that your diabetes will disappear. And if you want to make sure you are not one of the millions impacted by the coming diabetes epidemic, these same steps will help you to stay healthy and diabetes-free.

Related Articles:

  Drug Company Hid Data on Dangerous Diabetes Drug

  Diabetes Drug Avandia – Side Effect Reports Triple

  Diabetes Epidemic and Treatment

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