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Why are Americans So Sick?

man in pain with hands over faceStory Highlights
  • In the early twentieth century, infectious diseases were the leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • Today, chronic diseases are the leading cause of death
  • Public health efforts continue to focus heavily on prevention of infectious diseases while downplaying the threat of chronic diseases.

In the early 1900s, infectious diseases were the leading cause of death in the United States. Tuberculosis, pneumonia and diarrheal disease caused 30 percent of the deaths. However, by the end of the twentieth century, death from chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and stroke replaced deaths from infectious diseases.1

The U.S. has also been experiencing an epidemic of autoimmune diseases.2 The prevalence of various autoimmune diseases that involve brain and immune system dysfunction, such as celiac disease, lupus, multiple sclerosis (MS), and type 1 diabetes, is so common that it has been normalized.

Considering that chronic diseases are now the leading cause of death and disability in the U.S, it is puzzling that public health officials continue to focus their efforts on preventing infectious diseases through vaccination, but appear to be considerably less concerned about the prevalence of chronic illness and autoimmune diseases.

Chronic Diseases: The Leading Cause of Death and Disability in the U.S.

Chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, chronic lung diseases, stroke, and type 2 diabetes account for most deaths in the U.S.3 These diseases are responsible for seven in 10 deaths among Americans each year.3 In 2011, 171 million people (more than half the population) in America had at least one or more chronic diseases4—the main cause of sickness, disability and skyrocketing health costs in the nation.3

Chronic diseases and disabilities among children and adolescents are also escalating. The rate of chronic health conditions among children in the U.S increased from 12.8 percent in 1994 to 26.6 percent in 2006, particularly for asthma, obesity and behavior and learning problems.1 Epidemiological studies show that one out of four children, or 15 to 18 million children under the age of 17 years suffer from a chronic health problem.5

While the current chronic disease epidemic is grave, the crisis is expected to worsen in the coming years.1 In fact, global mortality due to chronic disease is expected to increase in real numbers and be much more widespread relative to deaths from infectious diseases such as polio, rubella, mumps, measles, etc.1

Autoimmune Diseases: A Silent and Rising Epidemic

Autoimmune diseases are among the most prevalent diseases in the U.S., affecting more than 23.5 million Americans, particularly women. More than 80 autoimmune diseases have been identified. The most common of these affecting Americans are type 1 diabetes, lupus, MS, rheumatoid arthritis and celiac disease.6 According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HSS), these conditions tend to develop in women in the childbearing years.7

Emily Somers, PhD, an epidemiologist at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health states:

Females have a higher susceptibility to autoimmune diseases than men—in fact, autoimmune diseases as a group rank among the leading 10 causes of death for women.8 9

Historically, autoimmune diseases have not always been this common. The prevalence of both autoimmune diseases and allergies has been increasing in the U.S. since the 1950s.10 While researchers have postulated many theories explaining the rise in autoimmune diseases, the cause of autoimmune diseases remains largely unknown.

Chronic diseases are the single largest threat to the health of Americans—not infectious diseases. They are the leading cause of death in the U.S. Despite the fact that deaths from infectious diseases have dramatically declined, current public health policies and laws that seek to prevent infectious diseases through vaccination have never been as aggressively enforced in American history.

The big question that remains unanswered is: Why is there such a lack of urgency by public health officials to investigate what is causing American children and adults to be so sick?


References:

1 The Marshall Protocol Knowledge Base. Incidence and Prevalence of Chronic Disease. Autoimmunity Research Foundation.
2 Kim YJ. Autoimmune Diseases: A Rising Epidemic. Darmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science June 3, 2011.
3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At a Glance 2016: National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. CDC.gov.
4 CDC. Chronic Diseases: The Leading Causes of Death and Disability in the United States. CDC.gov Feb. 23, 2016.
5 
Compas BE, Jaser SS, Dunn MJ, Rodriguez EM. Coping with Chronic Illness in Childhood and Adolescence.  Annual Review of Clinical Psychology 2012; 8:455-480.
6 
National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences. Autoimmune Diseases. U.S. National Institutes of Health Nov. 2012.
7 
Office on Women’s Health. Autoimmune Diseases. U.S Department of Health and Human Services Apr. 28, 2017.
8 
Donvito T. Here’s Why Millennials Need to Worry About Autoimmune Diseases—Like Right Now. Reader’s Digest.
9 Walsh SJ, Rau LM. Autoimmune diseases: a leading cause of death among young and middle-aged women in the United States. American Journal of Public Health 2000; 90(9): 1463-6.
10 
Bach JF. The Effect of Infections on Susceptibility to Autoimmune and Allergic Diseases. New England Journal of Medicine 2002; 347: 911-20.

13 Responses to Why are Americans So Sick?

  1. R K Reply

    July 16, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    Might the vaccines themselves be playing a role in the epidemic of chronic disease? There is growing evidence for this.

  2. Barb Mares Reply

    July 11, 2017 at 7:20 am

    Americans are so sick because big agribusiness and big Pharma want it that way so they can profit off of our illnesses & as long as everyone keeps their head buried in the sand nothing will change. When people realize that a whole foods plant-based diet is better than any pill or medicine maybe people will start to see the light & begin to turn this toxic nightmare that is killing so many people around. Health begins with what you put on your fork.

  3. David Foster Reply

    July 10, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    Perhaps we may begin to get to the bottom of this if we start looking into the different health outcomes of vaccinated and unvaccinated children. Here is the first such study of its kind to try. It’s a pilot study so limited sample size, and it looked at homeschooled children so its difficult to generalize, but seriously…look at the differences. They are very dramatic.

    Pilot comparative study on the health of vaccinated and unvaccinated 6- to 12- year old U.S. children [Dr. Anthony Mawson]
    http://oatext.com/pdf/JTS-3-186.pdf

    Preterm birth, vaccination and neurodevelopmental disorders: a cross-sectional study of 6- to 12-year-old vaccinated and unvaccinated children

    http://www.cmsri.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/MawsonStudyHealthOutcomes5.8.2017.pdf
    http://www.cmsri.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/MawsonStudyPretermBirth5.8.2017.pdf

  4. David Weiner Reply

    July 10, 2017 at 11:37 am

    It really doesn’t make any sense for there to be this huge push for increasing the number of vaccines against infectious agents when the risk from infectious disease has been lowered so dramatically.

    It MIGHT have made sense in the early 20th century, but in reality vaccines were never the correct response to concerns about infectious disease.

    This is not to say that I want to see government to be in charge of reducing chronic diseases. That might be a nice fantasy, but we know how poor its track record has been in the “war on cancer” and how corrupt its agencies are.

    • Wade Wallin Reply

      July 16, 2017 at 8:49 am

      I have to believe that in the last 100 years we’ve seen several changes to our way of life that would have profound affects on society in general.

      Start with petroleum, a substance known to make people sick as it’s pumped from the ground. Where I live, oil is king and we hear of people with serous chronic illnesses that are or were roughnecks. Several have said that they can’t return to the field but they need the money and insurance and are trapped in a viscious circle. They end up going back to the jobs that they know are going to kill them.

      Then there’s pollution. Remember the smog that hung over major metropolitan areas before the formation of the EPA? LA wasn’t the only city, NY, Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh and so on all had filthy air. Now we have a director of the EPA that’s made a career of fighting the very department he’s currently in charge of! This won’t bode well for us.

      Then there’s water pollution. Lake Erie once was a giant garbage pond until massive efforts to clean it up were made. That’s great, but we’re still polluting tributaries to rivers and lakes with little regard to the affects downstream. Massive fish kills, contamination and algae over runs rule the day.

      Then there’s the steep incline in vaccines “required”. Just sixty years ago there were a handful, doubling into the 1960s and ’70s and again into the ’80s until what we have now with nearly 70. I believe that this increase in vaccines causes overstimulation of immune systems which in turn cause the body to become hypervigilant and attack itself. It’s just my belief.

      Then there are the chemicals and artificial additives used in the production of our foods. Colors, flavors, pesticides, herbicides, cleaning agents and so on. Our bodies were never designed to process these poisons. Add to that junk foods that are laden themselves with chemicals and are devoid of any nutritional value.

      As our children are exposed to these environmental factors and become sicker from them, then we add medications into the mix rather than fix the problems. These exacerbate an already bad situation with treatments and yet more sude effects, leading to more medications, more side effects and the circle grows. As patents on medications expire, pharmaceutical companies reformulate and patent new drugs which cause even more problems.

      In short, we’ve done this to ourselves in an attempt to improve our lives with the long term effect being the exact opposite. Couple that with increasingly sedentary lifestyles and it’s surely a recipe for disaster.

      My apologies for the book, it’s long winded but to me, these are the multiple causes to our national and global woes. Our health collective health problems are multi-faceted without a single smoking gun to call the murder weapon. Because everything has a dollar value and needs to be capitalized, our health will never improve until “profits over people” becomes a memory. Again, that’s just my opinion.

  5. Joan McDaniel Reply

    July 8, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    Thank You for the article. A simple solution is — it doesn’t pay to make people well — It does pay a great deal making them sick slowly and adding Rx med after Rx med. It could last years and years before the poor experiment finally succumbs
    and dies. By the way do those meds actually heal anything?

    • TeeJae Reply

      July 11, 2017 at 11:20 am

      They’re not meant to heal. They’re meant to manage symptoms; thus creating a never-ending need for Rx’s. Keeping (or making) people sick is how BigPharma (and medical industry) continues to profit. Healthcare should really be called “sick-care.”

  6. mark brody Reply

    July 7, 2017 at 5:53 pm

    Many commentators have pointed this out before me. The answer is very simple. The answer is simply all the answers. In other words, it is anything but simple, because there are so many simple but correct answers that are for the most part true. I see sick patients in my practice every day, and keep up with the medical literature. People get very sick because of vaccinations, chronic medication usage, hereditary factors, poor diet, lack of exercise, EMR exposure, lifestyle issues, alcohol and drug addiction, from a lack of preventive medical care, and toxins in the environment. Very simple, if you consider simple synonymous with multifactorial and clandestine, as with Roundup and Mercury toxicity.

  7. Jon Reply

    July 7, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    Massive overstimulation of the immune system causing immune disfunction- nah couldn’t be!

  8. bob bishop Reply

    July 7, 2017 at 11:20 am

    The answer is so simple. The one thing that leads to either robust health or chronic disease is……..”food”.

  9. Linda Adsit Reply

    July 7, 2017 at 7:43 am

    What shouts to me in this article is the haunting correlation that keeps appearing between vaccinations on the rise right along with the increase in autoimmune diseases. Only one other factor parallels them and that is the chemically intensive farming and processed food in the same time period.

  10. ingrid durden Reply

    July 7, 2017 at 5:28 am

    I think it would help a lot if Americans ate real food again. No artificial food anymore, and no more pesticides and other chemicals to poison the land, the plants, the animals and the people. Connections have been made between pesticides and most chronical illnesses.

  11. Patricia Peloquin Reply

    July 6, 2017 at 11:21 pm

    There’s too much money to be made in the drug industry to only address symptoms. Curing the illness would stop the money train. Those with M.S. have a severe deficiency of Vitamin D. If everyone took 5000 mg of Vitamin D3 daily it could probably be prevented. And Vitamin D deficiency is linked to heart disease, cancer, osteoperosis, depression, diabetes and other illnesses. My late husband had M.S. and our children take 5000 mg of Vitamin D3 daily hopefully to prevent it. It also greatly improved my husband’s, mine and our daughter’s eyesight. It improved the health of blood vessels. But the super-expensive M.S. drugs did nothing for my husband, were no better than placebo, according to a drug researcher. One actually made his legs feel heavy and made him worse.

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