I Know How I’m Going To Die… Do you?

Death- No Diets AllowedDeath.  Unless you’ve already drank from the fountain of youth, it’s going to happen to YOU and ME.  It’s the inevitable final chapter for us all.


Death may be OUT of our control, HOWEVER there are plenty of things WITHIN our control which influence our quality of life until that day comes.  With that said, I’m pretty sure I know how I’m going to die…. or at least how I WON’T die.  Do you?


In 2011, the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States were as follows:


  • *Heart disease: 597,689
  • *Cancer: 574,743
  • *Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 138,080
  • *Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 129,476
  • *Accidents (unintentional injuries): 120,859
  • *Alzheimer’s disease: 83,494
  • *Diabetes: 69,071
  • *Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 50,476
  • *Influenza and Pneumonia: 50,097
  • *Intentional self-harm (suicide): 38,364


The good news:  By living healthy, YOU can completely prevent these causes of death or significantly decrease your chances of dying these ways!  Don’t believe me?  Keep reading.


Causes and risk factors for heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases (COPD)stroke, diabetes, nephritis/nephrotic syndrome/nephrosis, and influenza/pneumonia THAT CAN BE CONTROLLED are:


  • *Smoking (including second hand smoke)
  • *Excessive alcohol use
  • *Prescription or recreational drug abuse
  • *High blood cholesterol and high triglyceride levels
  • *High blood pressure
  • *Diabetes and Pre-diabetes
  • *Overweight and Obesity
  • *Metabolic Syndrome
  • *Lack of physical activity
  • *Unhealthy eating habits
  • *Stress or Depression
  • *Sun damage or excessive sun exposure WITHOUT sunscreen


Well, I feel confident that I just eliminated 7 out of the 10 main causes of death by living my 6 easy health steps….


Now, what about Alzheimer’s disease?  Although many risks factors for Alzheimer’s are out of our control like age, gender, and family history, there are still contributing risks that ARE IN OUR CONTROL!  Studies have shown that exposure to environmental toxins, having a low educational level, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure increase your chances of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Here’s a great article explaining ways to eliminate environmental toxins.  We also have control over our educational level.  We don’t need to be Einstein or Steve Jobs, but by turning off the TV and reading we can exercise that brain!  Pretty simple.   High cholesterol and high blood pressure?  We’ve already discussed how to prevent those.  Alzheimer’s?  I don’t think so.


Accidents (unintentional injuries) and intentional self-harm (suicide) are the final 2 that need to be addressed.  Statistics from the CDC show that three quarters of all accidental deaths are due to traffic accidents, poisonings, and falls.  You and I can prevent these by being aware of surroundings, following laws, and taking precautions.  Wear your seat belt when driving.  Don’t be reckless and text or multitask while driving.  Don’t speed… too much.  I admit.  I go 7 to 10 mph over the limit…. but anyways, I digress.  Poisonings and falls?  Lock up medications, chemicals, and cleaners.  Keep them out of children’s reach.  Be careful down those stairs AND don’t use ladders without supervision and help.  Be alert and attentive when participating in potentially harmful situations.


Mental disorders (like depression), alcohol or substance abuse, and physical illness greatly increases the chance of suicide.  These things can be control or greatly reduced by healthy living!  Physical exercise has many positive mental and emotional outcomes which largely reduces anxiety, stress, and depression.  Healthy living and choices prevent physical illness.  Healthy living provides more happiness, stronger self esteem, and improved self image!


How am I going to die?  Not by these top 10 causes!  One thing I’ve learned being a nurse is there are worst things that can happen than death.  By living healthy and making healthy choices, I can prevent illness, disease, and impairment.  I’m going to enjoy life to the fullest by living healthy whatever may come.  Are you?  


What are you going to make time for today so you can prevent disease, illness, and impairment in the future? 

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