While heart disease and cancer are considered the leading causes of death in the world today, there is a more seemingly innocent and undetected sickness: Sepsis.
The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in a report based on 2010 data, listed the 10 leading causes of death:
1) Heart disease
3) Chronic lower respiratory diseases
4) Cerebrovascular disease (stroke)
5) Accidents (unintentional injuries)
6) Alzheimer’s disease
7) Diabetes mellitus
8) Nephritis, nephritic syndrome and nephrosis (kidney disease)
9) Influenza and pneumonia
10) Intentional harm (suicide)
But according to Dr. Joseph Mercola (mercola.com), an osteopathic doctor and author of New York Times best-selling books, there is an 11th cause of death that might have been left out. Sepsis, or blood poisoning, is caused by deadly microbes which enter the blood stream. Septicemia or sepsis often begins with an infection. When untreated, it can cause severe symptoms, shock and even death.
However, sepsis can also be acquired in hospitals, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. It showed that in 2006, sepsis and pneumonia caused by hospital-acquired infections killed 48,000 patients. This is the reason hospitals today have stricter rules on hygiene and sanitation.
Did you notice that there is a hand sanitizer station before patient’s rooms? This is a message both to the hospital staff and visitors to cleanse the hands before seeing a patient.
My friend was constantly on my mind last week. I gave her a call only to hear her raspy, feeble voice on the other line. She thought she had the flu. Her symptoms: chills, fever, rapid heart and respiratory rate, edema/swelling, disorientation/confusion, body pain, low blood pressure, high creatinine levels (kidneys), skin discoloration or rash, hypothermia.
Two days later she was admitted to the hospital for sepsis which originated from a simple UTI (urinary tract infection). Her blood test revealed that there was an unusual build-up of E. coli in her bloodstream. From a cough and cold one month ago for which she took antibiotics, she developed UTI two weeks later. On the fourth week she developed sepsis.
The presence of E. coli, which is found only in the anus, could have been caused by:
1) Improper washing of private parts (the correct direction is from front to the back and not the anus/back to the vagina/front.)
2) An improperly-treated UTI using the wrong antibiotic. Sepsis can begin with a simple open wound or boil, or as a result of post-surgical infection.
Gia finally confessed to me that despite many years of my nagging her to drink water, she hardly did. Instead, she substituted water with sodas. In short, she was dehydrated. Her bout with UTI and sepsis was a wake-up call. Not only has she resolved to drink 15 glasses a day, but she now has better personal hygiene.
Dr. Mercola says that life-threatening diseases are preventable if we follow his guidelines:
The right food choices. Focus on whole, unprocessed foods (like vegetables, organic meats, nuts).
A sizeable portion, say 30 percent of your diet, should be raw—vegetables and fruits.
Exercise, both cardiovascular and strength training.
Know that each time you exercise, you stimulate your body to produce more human growth hormones which are vital to peak health.
Reduce stress. Every person has a coping mechanism to deal with problems. Use your inner sense of balance. Pray, meditate, laugh, relax.
Vitamin D. This plays a crucial role in disease prevention. Take 8,000 iu of vitamin D a day to reach serum levels of 40 mg/ml. The minimum recommended is 50 mg/ml. But if you are exposed to morning sunlight daily, then you are covered nutritionally.
Omega-3 fats. Go for high quality animal-based fats like krill oil or flaxseed oil. It is an anti-inflammatory and combats internal inflammation (which is the start of disease).
Avoid all chemicals. Replace any toxic substances from your household and bathroom (like personal products—soaps, shampoos, hair dyes). Choose non-toxic alternatives.
If you have an infection, no matter how mild, consult your doctor.