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Tuesday, June 18, 2013
We can't control some risk factors such as our age, gender (male or female), the genes we inherited from our parents, or our race or ethnic background. Age, for example, is a risk factor for heart disease, breast cancer, osteoporosis and many other things, but consider the alternative!
This makes our behavior regarding risk factors we CAN control even more important.
Some of us might choose to take an experimental drug that offers hope for an incurable disease even though there is a possibility it won't work or will cause bad side effects like a low platelet count, making our hair fall out, or causing constant diarrhea, etc. You may avoid flying because of a fear the plane will crash, although statistically the risk of dying in a plane crash is much smaller than the risk of driving your car every day.
Others may choose not to have their children immunized against certain childhood because of possible side effects, even though there is a higher chance their children will be killed in a car crash. How do you weigh the risks? Where do you draw the line?
Last Reviewed: Aug 21, 2009
Kenneth Davis, Jr, MD, FACS
Professor of Surgery and Clinical Anesthesia
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati