Do you automatically put on your seatbelt, and your children’s seatbelts before you drive? What risk or risks are influencing your seatbelt wearing habits?
Our biggest fear may be fear itself, specifically fear of the unknown. However, as we get accustomed to risks the fear seems to subside. Let’s look at what we know about various risks (that we accept) versus new risks like COVID-19.
Leading causes of deaths in Australia (2017)
Women make up 29,683 of the totals above.
Deaths from suicide (male and female) are over 3,000 per year. Source.
However some studies suggest that women fear breast cancer more than any from the list above. Although approximately 19,535 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019 the 5 year survival rate is 90.1%. Deaths were about 1,900 – far less than the numbers above.
The flu kills between 1,500 to 3,000 of us every year. (source). Studies support the claim that influenza vaccine can be expected to provide somewhere between 50% and at best, 70% protection. If we do get a vaccine for COVID19 within the next 12 months, it is unrealistic to expect it will offer any better protection, especially if the development and testing are rushed. Hopefully there won’t be any long term side effects.
While there has been a recent focus on the COVID-19 pandemic, common seasonal influenza currently poses a far greater danger to Australians. In fact, in the last century, more people died from seasonal influenza than in the three influenza pandemics.
In 2019 the number of Australians that died from car accidents was 1,146.
We could reduce car accidents and car deaths by reducing the speed limit on highways to 60 kph, the speed limit in suburbs to 40 kph and in CBDs to 20 kph. But societies make trade-offs when it comes to the benefits of getting somewhere faster, or getting parcels delivered faster versus the risk of becoming a statistic. We’ve learnt to live with the risk.
Back to the seat belt. It does not prevent an accident. Together with airbags, seatbelts simply improve your chances of survival.
How to avoid being killed a car accident? Stop travelling be car and walk everywhere. But pedestrians get run over too.
What about COVID-19? In 3 months Australia has had 102 deaths. (As at 25.5.2020) The medium age of deaths is 80 years. Mostly male. There have been less than 6 deaths under the age of 60. (source)
Luckily we’ve learnt a few things about this new Corona virus COVID-19 from two perspectives: minimising infection and increasing survivability.
1. Minimising Infection
The number one strategy is social distancing. Although supermarkets and bottle shops were never closed, eventually operational practices were adopted to limit people per square metre, and to provide hand gels. However it seems that few (typically young) cashiers who stand there for up to 8 hours, have been affected.
What protects them? Youth? This is especially interesting as they (theoretically) have a longer exposure time in the presence of potentially infectious people. All hospital staff know that increased exposure time increases risk.
When your Healthy Inspirations centre re-opens (NZ centres have already), short 30 minute sessions are a good idea. If you’d prefer not to come into the centre, all weight loss coaching is offered online as well.
By the way, excess alcohol consumption is an immune function negative.
The number two strategy is regular hand washing or disinfectant.
As the community gets comfortable with risk, more will return to their workplace and travel there by public transport. Should they all be encouraged to wear facial cover and avoid talking? (Talking increases droplets.) Unless the mask is hospital grade, it offers marginal protection to the wearer, but any facial covering certainly helps protect those around the wearer. It says “I care about others.”
2. Increasing Survivability
Recent reports suggest that 17% of Londoners have, or have had COVID-19. Most don’t even know it. What gives them protection?
What factors, increase risk of poor outcome: having to be hospitalised, intensive care, respirator or death? Why did the UK PM Boris Johnson suffer so badly?
You can do nothing about your age. Are there other modifiable risk factors that you can do something about? Yes!
Your Vitamin D status may make a huge difference. In Indonesia, 98.9% of patients with vitamin D deficiency died, 88% of patients with vitamin D insufficiency died but only 4% of patients with sufficient vitamin D died. (source). People of black ethnicity are at double the risk compared to fair skinned people. They need to spend more time outdoors to get the same Vitamin D boosting effect.
Want to know if your Vitamin D levels are deficient? Read more HERE. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin found naturally in only a few foods, liver and fatty fish such as salmon (both on all Healthy Inspirations food plans), and so the major non-food source of the vitamin is from sunlight skin exposure.
If you’re carrying extra weight, especially around the waist, you should start losing weight today if you want to decrease your risk. Although excess weight may put extra strain on your lungs, it might be a condition that is associated with excess weight that most likely weakens your immune function. It’s insulin resistance (pre-diabetes).
Obese individuals have greater than 50% less bioavailability of vitamin D compared to non-obese individuals. (Do you hate the words “obese” and “obesity”? Don’t worry as it is a technical reference called BMI used by health authorities around the world. To assess your BMI click HERE.)
Diabetes and insulin resistance (pre-diabetes) significantly increase risks of worse outcomes following COVID-19 infection.
Many researchers are looking into the reasons why. It may be fluctuations and spikes in blood sugar. It may be high insulin levels. Insulin is the hormone your body produces to stabilise your body’s blood sugar after consuming foods and drinks. It may be insulin resistance, where your cells respond less to the signalling from insulin. The result? Even higher insulin levels.
Insulin and insulin resistance are typically omitted from standard GP-ordered tests. At best you might have a fasting blood sugar test, but it is possible to have normal blood sugar but your body is over-producing insulin to keep your blood sugar normal.
If you are carrying extra weight around the waist, or have high insulin levels or insulin resistance, there are two lifestyle things you can do to quickly bring down your levels and reduce your risks.
It’s like putting on a seatbelt. These two things offer you (almost) immediate COVID-19 risk reduction within weeks, and continued reduced risk if you stick with them. They may make a difference within days and certainly within weeks.
1. A carbohydrate modified eating plan, structured around your body’s individual carbohydrate tolerance. Have you noticed that two people can eat the same foods and one stays slim and the other puts on weight? Their body’s have different carbohydrate tolerance levels.
With the right eating plan, elevated insulin and insulin resistance can be reduced within 2 weeks. Vitamin D levels may be increased as well. Of course, sticking to the eating plan is crucial and that’s where support, education and ongoing coaching can make all the difference. Most members are having their coaching sessions online.
There are no drugs that can have the same effect as a well-formulated carbohydrate-modified eating plan.
2. An effective resistance training program and interval training. As your muscles are the sugar sinks of your body, maintaining good muscle strength and fitness can help. Although low-level physical activity like walking is beneficial, and especially outdoors in the sunshine (Vit D), it does not have the same adaptive effect on the muscles as resistance training.
Again, there are no drugs that can have the same effect as an effective resistance training program. Exercise is medicine and resistance exercise is the best medicine. Exercising at Healthy Inspirations helps your:
And… when you combine both a low carb eating plan and resistance exercise you get extra protection.
But what if you’re slim? Be aware that slim people can have insulin resistance too. It’s called ‘TOFI’ or Thin Outside Fat Inside. The key is if you’re carrying extra weight around the waist. A simple measure is if your waist if more than 50% of your height. Waist to height over 50% is highly correlated with insulin resistance.
Stay Healthy and Live Your Life
If your local centre is not yet open, call them as all programs are available now online. Click HERE.
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