Make that a double – if it doesn’t improve our fitness and health, it might blur the surgery stats

A report at Stuff about death rates of people from surgery (here) was almost sobering. It seems Alf is fast headed to join folk in an age bracket where the odds of coming out of hospital alive are much too short for comfort.

Mind you, the odds are even shorter for unhealthy elderly people, which has driven your hard-working member down to the Eketahuna Club for a stiffener.

He has taken that course on medical advice (here).

In addition for serving as an excellent antiseptic during cleaning wounds (this was one of the primary uses of potent alcoholic beverages during the dark and middle ages), here are some of the most notable benefits of whisky:

No Fat -Whisky does not contain any fat, and therefore it can be used in any number of healthy low-fat diets.

Low Carbohydrates – Standard shot of whisky contains only 0.04g of carbohydrates in form of sugar. They are immediately transformed into energy as soon they enter our digestive system.

Stroke and dementiaprevention – According to some studies, moderate daily use of whisky can lower the risk of stroke and dementia for a 50% in the old age.

Diabetes – Chances of developing diabetes lower by 30 to 40 percent with moderate use of whisky.

Cholesterol – Whisky decrease blood clots and increase of good cholesterol.

Lower Risk of Cancer – According to several studies, whisky contains much more ellagic acid in its structure, which is one of the important antioxidant compounds that destroy cancerous cells.

The Stuff report that prompted a demand for Mrs Grumble to look up the health benefits of whisky was based on data in a new medical study.

It is described as the first in-depth New Zealand research into death rates related to surgery and anaesthesia.

The researchers are saying unhealthy elderly Kiwis undergoing emergency surgery have a one-in-five chance of death.

More positively, fit and healthy Kiwis undergoing elective surgery are the least likely to die.

The Perioperative Mortality Review Committee’s (POMRC) second report into post-surgery mortality, released yesterday, analysed the number of post-surgery deaths related to gall bladder removal, pulmonary embolism, patients aged 80 or over, and low-risk elective patients.

POMRC chairwoman and Wellington Hospital specialist anaesthetist Dr Leona Wilson said New Zealand’s health sector normally relied on international data, but the new report provided the first relevant local figures on post-operation death rates.

Patients dying within 30 days of an operation was “rare” but Wilson said it was still important to analyse the data and find out why.

Dunno if Alf should regard himself as fit, in a way intended by the researchers.

He is fit enough to stroll down to the club.

He hopes this is sufficient, because Wilson said the “major message” of the report was that a fit and healthy patient undergoing elective surgery had a “very low” chance of death post-operation.

However, an unhealthy patient over the age of 80 having emergency surgery was most at-risk and had a one in five chance of dying, she said.

Christchurch-based surgeon Scott Stevenson, chair of the New Zealand National Board of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, said the report’s findings may seem obvious.

Come to think of it, probably it is.

Nevertheless, he said, it was important to be reminded of the potential risks involved with surgery.

Dunno if Alf would necessarily agree. There are some things about his mortality he would prefer not to brood upon.

But here are some heartening figures-

Dr Long, New Zealand committee chair of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA), said anaesthesia-related deaths had dropped by more than 90 per cent in the last 50 years, but the report would help further improve patient safety.

Alf’s immediate aim, of course, is to take another nip of the stuff that imparts good health.

His only concern is a caveat to the advice about whisky and other grain-derived alcohol beverages being beneficial to the human metabolism.

The wide variety of positive effects claimed for whisky can be gained only if the user is drinking whisky responsibly in moderate doses.

The medical community is said to prescribe daily amounts of 25-30ml of alcohol for women and 35-40 for men.

Irresponsible use of whisky – apparently – can negatively impact the health of the drinker, with increased risk of liver and heart problems.

There are some things it’s best not to know.

Another double might blur the mind enough to ensure the knowledge gleaned here is soon obliterated.

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