HEALTHY PREPPERS BLEEDING HEARTS CLUB BAND
MONOLOGUE BY CLYDE LEWIS
As 2016 comes to close, it goes without saying that it seemed like we were constantly waking to the news that pop culture icons of our childhood were dying.
When Prince and David Bowie died, I started thinking about what I would do if I were to lose my father. I found out in September when he passed away just a few weeks after my family visited him in the hospital.
He went into the hospital for a routine surgery, got a bacterial infection and died from pneumonia. It also doesn’t help matters when I hear about listeners of my show dying, and many of my friend’s parents and siblings dying as well.
I rationalized that my father was older than many of the celebrities who’ve passed this year, but I know that people are talking about how seeing celebrities die off makes them think about their parents, I can relate, but all of this has been making me think about my health and my wife’s health as well.
Call me paranoid, but the recent deaths of Alan Thicke, George Michael, and Carrie Fisher have got me thinking about my mortality more so than my father’s death did back in September.
My father had a good run at pushing 80 but the recent deaths of these three celebrities got me to thinking about how I am noticing there are a lot of people dying at young ages.
I have had people comment that why do we care so much about celebrity deaths when people die every day? Well, the truth is if over 300 notable people died this year, and it has affected us. I am sure there are plenty of other people who have been dying at young ages, reminding us of the fragility of life.
Many people will say that the Grim Reaper was working overtime this year.
We have been told that death rates, measured as the number of deaths per 100,000 people have been declining for years, an effect of improvements in health, disease management and medical technology.
What does not seem to be addressed is that this year we have seen a spike in young deaths.
The death rate in the United States rose this year for the first time in a decade, preliminary federal data shows a rare increase in deaths due to drug overdose, suicides and heart disease.
Heart disease is still the leading cause of premature death in this country.
Alan Thicke, who was most famous for playing the dad on Growing Pains, died on December 13 at age 69 after a heart attack. Pop musician George Michael passed away on Christmas Day at age 53 of heart failure. And Carrie Fisher, best known for her role as Princess Leia in Star Wars, went into cardiac arrest on December 23 and died four days later, on December 27, at age 60.
All three died from distinct, but related conditions that fall under the umbrella of heart disease, which is the leading killer of both men and women worldwide. In the United States, about 610,000 people die from heart disease annually — that’s one in every four deaths.
A heart attack is a deadly symptom of heart disease and happens when blood flow to the heart is blocked, starving the muscle tissue of oxygen and causing damage. It’s often caused by a build-up of plaque in the arteries called atherosclerosis.
Symptoms can be sudden, or they can build for days or weeks in advance. Alan Thicke’s symptoms were unexpected and severe, He was reportedly playing hockey with his youngest son when he started having chest pain, followed by nausea and vomiting.
Heart attacks are usually treated by opening the clogged artery, often with a stent or wire mesh that props the artery open. If a heart attack is treated quickly, damage to the heart muscle, which results from lack of oxygen, may be minimal. If treatment is delayed, the damage is more widespread or results in death. Sometimes death occurs quickly, even with treatment.
While heart attacks are caused by blood-flow problems, cardiac arrest results from a problem with the heart’s electrical circuitry. The electrical problem leads to an irregular heartbeat arrhythmia, which in turn causes the heart to stop beating completely and usually without any warning.
It is suspected that Carrie Fisher probably had no idea that something was about to go terribly wrong.
Efforts to revive Fisher, who collapsed on a flight from London to Los Angeles, would have involved using a defibrillator to literally shock her heart into beating again. Those efforts were apparently successful, but Fisher died in a hospital a few days later.
While heart attacks and cardiac arrest have different causes, both can result in serious harm, even death. In some cases, a heart attack can cause cardiac arrest, although it is not the only cause.
Heart attacks can also cause heart failure, which is what took the life of George Michael on Christmas Day. Most cases of heart failure are chronic and progressive, meaning they develop over years and get worse over time, and Michael supposedly had been in poor health for a while.
Heart failure does not mean the heart has failed or stopped working altogether; it means the heart can no longer pump blood efficiently. The condition has no cure, but it can be treated. Chronic heart failure stems from many of the same problems behind heart attacks and cardiac arrest, such as coronary artery disease which causes artery blockages, hypertension, and diabetes.
There is also acute heart failure, which can be a byproduct of chronic heart failure or of a heart attack.
All three deaths of Thicke, Michael and Fisher occurred at a time of the year when heart-related deaths tend to shoot up: Christmas. A recent study in the Journal of the American Heart Association speculates that this could be due to holiday stress, changed eating habits, or not getting medical care right away.
The death rate from heart disease stood at 167.1 in 2015, up from 166.7 in 2014, though the rise was not statistically significant. It was the first time since 1993 that the rate did not decline.
Heart problems are triggered by many things. Lifestyle’s have changed and people are becoming more sedentary, lack of movement, lack of nutrition, and an ill defined health regimen is clearly the reason why Americans are getting fatter.
Obesity threatens the health of millions of Americans; it changes not just the bodies of those who have it, but also their lives: how they see themselves and how they relate to their husbands and wives, co-workers and families.
Obesity can create a myriad of problems from heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, pain and can contribute to depression.
Many people who are obese find themselves taking many maintenance medications.
While recent research has documented sharp rises in death rates among certain groups in particular less educated whites, who have been hardest hit by the prescription drug epidemic, increases for the entire population are relatively rare.
Federal researchers cautioned that it was too early to tell whether the rising mortality among whites had pushed up the overall national death rate. Preliminary data is not broken down by race, and final data will not be out until later this year. But they said the rise was real, and while it is premature to ring an alarm now, if it continues, it could be a signal of distress in the health of the nation.
The death rate rose to 729.5 deaths per 100,000 people in 2015, up from 723.2 in 2014, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. It was one of the few times in the past 25 years that the rate has increased.
The death rate from suicides rose to 13.1 in the third quarter of 2015, from 12.7 in the same quarter of 2014.
The same was true for drug overdoses, whose data the report had for only the first two quarters of 2015. The death rate for overdoses rose to 15.2 in the second quarter of 2015, compared with 14.1 in the same quarter of 2014. The rate for so-called unintentional injuries, which include drug overdoses and car accidents, rose to 42 in the third quarter of 2015, up from 39.9 in the same quarter of 2014.
While many people in social media have criticized both Carrie Fisher and George Michael for their past drug use and abuse to their bodies, it is quite obvious that many people are like the pot calling the kettle black on these issues.
While celebrity can sometimes lend itself to things like substance abuse, many Americans also are dealing with the same issues. They may not see themselves as habitual users, dependent, or even addicted, however just because people don’t use these drugs recreationally does not mean that they are not abusing their bodies with alcohol, tobacco, and prescription drug intake.
If you drink more than three alcoholic beverages a day and take prescription opiates you may face liver or kidney failure in the future.
The CDC estimates that over one in ten Americans deals with chronic pain. But it is also loosely defined—any sensation, annoying to excruciating, that lasts longer than six months counts. This means that opioid use has skyrocketed, and heroin has become the drug of choice when doctors decide to no longer treat a patient with opioid drugs.
The use and misuse of opioids have a deep and profound impact on the heart, according to research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Here, researchers found that people who took opioids were more than twice as likely to have heart attacks when compared to people who took no opioids at all. This is a profoundly disturbing finding, as the researchers weren’t quite sure why the drugs seemed to cause such catastrophic problems. They knew the drugs were harmful, but they weren’t sure why.
Some people when addicted to pain killers sometimes crush their pills, put them in water and inject them into the vein. Many of the fillers in these pills clump together inside the cardiovascular system, and they can create little dams that block blood flow and destroy vital tissues.
Heroin doesn’t need to be crushed, as it’s often provided in liquid form, but it can be filled with contaminates that are also not designed to move through the bloodstream, including talc and coffee. Injecting these substances into the veins could lead to the same type of blockage syndrome.
I know that I have been focusing on weight loss and happily lost 140 pounds. But that is not at all enough. The other day I noticed in a forum somebody saying something about my weight and criticizing me for blaming it on my cancer. The person commented “that is sad the people have to make excuses for their inability to take responsibility for their diet, the post went on to say that if anything cancer should make you lose weight.
Well in my case, the kidney cancer left me retaining water, which made me tired and depressed. I had to count to three before I could raise my leg to even get into a car. I would not and could not exercise without taking pain medication, and even the pills would make me unable to exercise because of fatigue.
So, after preparing psychologically I set out to try and beat my weight gain. Even though it is a slow process I am gaining ground on my health. However, I still fear the possibility of complications because of the bout I had with pulmonary blood clots – it is quite unnerving to hear that you survived the un-survivable.
In fact I was just reading today that Comedian Gary Shandling’s medical records showed that he died of a pulmonary blood clot that was released from his leg. He had leg pain and was having shortness of breath the day before he died.
I remember that like it was yesterday, but I now have a reason to keep on living.
Through the prayers of all of my listeners and friends, support from my family, from my family doctor, and the nutrients prescribed by Dr. Joel Wallach I am hoping I can overcome my fear of ill health and premature death.
The New Year of course is time for resolution – and of course many people say that they really want to focus on their health.
The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion released its findings on what Americans have decided as their top resolution for the New Year.
“Being a better person” topped the list at 16 percent, knocking “weight loss” from the No. 1 spot for the first time since 2014, according to the Marist Poll.
“Exercising more” tied with “weight loss” for second place, at 10 percent, among those who are likely to make a 2017 resolution.
Rounding out the top resolutions are, “spending less and saving more money,” “improving one’s health” and “eating healthier,” with each getting 7 percent of responses.
However, there is more to it than meets the eye.
There needs to be a commitment and a psychological evaluation of the benefits of looking and feeling better. You also need to learn to have patience, as nothing is going to happen overnight – the poor condition of your body took years to achieve and it may take a year or two to change, but it has to be consistent.
Even though I have been taking supplements this year provided at groundzeroforlife.com – I will honestly tell you that they are not miracle cures, and they are not the panacea for immediate weight loss or health benefits. If they are used correctly, they work for me and I know they can work for you too. I have been using them for nearly a year now, and my weight loss has been noticed and my health appears to be getting better.
So hopefully, the Grim Reaper won’t be knocking on my door anytime soon — and let’s hope that you can find yourself in a position to keep him from knocking on yours as well.