Food vs disease, diabetes, $ waste stroke, heart attack

Good diet is essential for health.
Click on link to read the whole article or listen to the program

http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2017/05/08/526952657/fresh-food-by-prescription-this-health-care-firm-is-trimming-costs-and-waistline

Fresh Food By Prescription: This Health Care Firm Is Trimming Costs — And Waistlines

The advice to eat a healthy diet is not new. Back around 400 B.C., Hippocrates, the Greek doctor, had this missive: Let food be thy medicine.

But as a society, we’ve got a long way to go.

About 1 out of every 2 deaths from heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes in the U.S. is linked to a poor diet. That’s about 1,000 deaths a day.

There are lots of places to lay the blame. Calories are cheap, and indulgent foods full of salt, sugar and fat are usually within our reach 24/7.

So, how best to turn this around? Consider Tom Shicowich’s story. It begins with a toe. His left pinky toe.

“One day I looked down and it was a different color … kind of blue,” Shicowich says. And he began to feel sick. “I thought I was coming down with the flu.”

The next day he was on the operating table. A surgeon amputated his toe, and it took two weeks of intravenous antibiotics to fend off the infection.

All told, he spent a month in the hospital and a rehab facility. “Oh, I tell you, it was a bad year,” Shicowich recalls.

But this wasn’t just bad luck. His toe emergency was somewhat predictable.
Foot infections are a common complication of Type 2 diabetes — often due to nerve damage and poor blood flow, especially when the disease isn’t well-controlled.

He racked up about $200,000 in medical charges from his toe emergency. The portion he had to pay out of pocket drained his savings account.
“I did shell out $23,000 to the hospital, so that was a kick in the head,” Shicowich tells us.

It was also a wake-up call.

Shicowich was more than 100 pounds overweight. He was was fighting nerve damage, high blood pressure and kidney problems — all complications of diabetes.

“So I knew it was time for a change,” he told me.

And last year, he found the help — and the motivation — he was looking for: a new food pharmacy program that has helped him overhaul how he eats.

Welcome to the food pharmacy

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