Prevention: Better than a Cure!

“Health is not valued until sickness comes.”

It only takes a brief encounter with one of the viruses that constitute the “common” cold for a person to understand the truth of those words. When your head is aching, your throat sore, your nose running and your temperature hot enough to boil a kettle… most of us would be prepared to do anything to cut short our suffering!

If that is the case with an illness that the subject knows will pass in a few days, how much more must it be true for a person suffering a potentially fatal disease?

 

Yet 50% of deaths in Australia are avoidable.

Yes, you read that correctly: Half the deaths in Australia need not have happened!

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) collects data that includes the number, age and “underlying cause”, of deaths in this country. By identifying the main causes of mortality this information allows health practitioners to make targeted interventions using the various types of patient care that are available. This suite runs from simple changes in lifestyle to complex invasive hospital treatment.

AIHW’s July 2019 report “Deaths in Australia” analyses the 169,909 deaths that occurred during calendar 2017. As you would expect, about two-thirds of these were people aged 75 years or older (median: males 78; females 85).

Both men and women had the same five leading causes of death (but in slightly different orders):

  • Coronary Heart disease
  • Dementia/Alzheimers disease
  • Cerebrovascular disease (eg Stroke)
  • Lung Cancer
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease

 

2017 Leading underlying causes of death by sex

2017 Leading underlying causes of death by sex

Source: AIHW National Mortality Database

 

So, how do we turn “potentially avoidable” deaths into “avoided” deaths?

 

Primary health care plays a key role.

Easy access to general practitioners for preventative advice and/or early identification of health issues is critical. It is also the least costly in terms of money, time and trauma.

The earlier, the better!

The good news is that this message appears to be getting through, as the rate of potentially avoidable death has fallen appreciably – even over the last 20 years.

 

Age-standardised death rates of potentially avoidable deaths – People under 75 years, 1997-2017

Age-standardised death rates of potentially avoidable deaths – People under 75 years, 1997-2017

Source: AIHW National Mortality Database

 

The rate of potentially avoidable death fell 46% over this period (from 193 to 104 deaths per 100,000 population). The declines were nearly the same for men and women (Males 47% – from 253 to 134 / 100,000; Females 46% – from 136 to 74 / 100,000).

That is a lot of lives, a lot of pain that was avoided and a lot of tears that were not shed!

 

Investments that can make a difference in your community.

 

Umbrella Health Bentleigh Clinic

 

There is still much work to be done to further reduce the numbers of unnecessary, preventable deaths. As the population of our major urban centres rise, the need for new healthcare facilities increases. This is particularly true in the rapidly growing new suburbs in and around our cities.

C2 Capital understands the critical need for facilities in these areas, incubating and being the primary investor in Umbrella Health. Umbrella Health is pioneering the future of primary care through several state-of-the-art medical centre developments. Umbrella’s unique approach to making patients lives easier leans more towards Silicon Valley than to your average family clinic. Through Umbrella Health, C2 Capital is doing their part to provide patients with easy access to primary health care professionals, helping reduce the number of preventable deaths in Australia.

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