I believe most people assume that adopting a healthy lifestyle would be too costly. I have learned that whether that is your case or not, it is too costly (on many levels) NOT to. As a matter of fact, from a dollars and cents standpoint, it is often cheaper to live a healthy lifestyle than it is to live an unhealthy one. Here are some of the facts about the economic impact of unhealthy living habits.
Unpaid medical bills are the biggest cause of bankruptcy in the country today.
About 70% of deaths in the USA each year are due to chronic diseases. Three of the most common ones are cardiovascular disease (which includes diseases of the heart, hypertension, stroke and peripheral vascular disease), cancer and diabetes. These diseases plus obesity, arthritis, lung and Alzheimer’s disease can undermine health, shorten life expectancy and cause enormous suffering, disability and economic costs.
In June 2004, a joint statement was issued by the American Cancer Society, The American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association. Here is a quote from that statement. “Despite the incontrovertible evidence supporting the medical and economic benefits of prevention and early detection, current disease control efforts are underfunded and fragmented. While healthcare costs skyrocket, the national investment in prevention was estimated at less than 3 % of total annual healthcare expenditures”. I have put this statement in here because this was made about fourteen years ago and not much has changed in the amount of dollars spent on prevention while the incidence of these chronic diseases continues to rise at alarming rates. Chronic diseases account for at least 75% of healthcare costs which were about $3.5 trillion last year.
It is estimated that about 70% of these diseases/conditions can be prevented by early detection and modifying some of our lifestyle choices. Think of the money we could save as a nation (hundreds of billions of dollars), if a concerted effort were placed on prevention. The financial impact of the costs associated with being unhealthy can also affect you on a more personal level. They can lead to higher premiums, co-pays and more out-of-pocket expenses for treatments, tests, procedures, prescription and nonprescription medications. You may even see a reduction or loss in wages due to uncovered sick days.
There are also emotional costs to illnesses; stress and anxiety levels can increase due to concerns over ill family members and/or fear of job loss or the cancellation of insurance coverage. If we could reduce the incidence of illness, then these costs would be dramatically reduced as well.
Your body is constantly changing and repairing itself. It actually generates and replaces ten million cells every second (white blood cells are replaced every ten days, muscles every three months and the entire liver every seven years). Therefore, if you start giving the cells of the body what they really need for optimal functioning, you should be able to improve your health and well-being. The healthier you are, the more likely your body is able to function at optimal efficiency to begin with. In addition, the better your chances should be to overcome diseases and/or recover form a traumatic injury, a surgical procedure or some other radical treatment.
Health Is Normal
The good news is that it is normal for the human body to be healthy. The human body if taken care of properly; would most likely not get sick or breakdown that often, function as efficiently as it could and would have more energy. Though at some point it will wear out, it could last and feel better longer with some TLC.
Breathed clean, non-polluted air as much as possible
Ate three well-balanced meals and a healthy snack or two per day
Drank sufficient quantities of clean, healthy water
Had a sufficient amount of quality sleep most nights
Did not smoke cigarettes
Did not abuse alcohol or illegal drugs
Practiced good personal hygiene
Tried to get outside in the sun a few minutes, most days of the year
Stayed socially involved and mentally active
How sick do you think we would be?
Life Expectancy Rate in USA Declined Again In 2017
For the second year in a row, the life expectancy rate in the United States has declined. Though deaths from opioid addiction have played a major role in this unfortunate national statistic, chronic diseases such as heart, stroke, diabetes and cancer still are the number causes of death in our country. While opioid addiction is 100% preventable, we also know that about 70% of serious, chronic diseases such as those mentioned above and others as well are preventable by early detection and making healthy lifestyle choices.
Give the Body What It Needs
I think many of us think that good health is something you are blessed with. I know years ago I used to think that way. However, I now know that for most of us good health is a choice and that good health (for the most part), has to do with how each of us chooses to live. It really comes down to this, if you give the body what it needs to function as it efficiently as it can, it will be better able to defend itself from illness and disease. In the event that the body does become diseased or is injured, it will be in a better position to expedite the healing process and restore itself to normal functioning.
Start the New Year Choosing Healthy Living
I believe that a major reason why so many of us are getting sick at younger ages with serious, chronic diseases such as those mentioned above, is that many people do not realize how much control they have over their own health. The beginning of a new year is a time when many people make “New Year’s Resolutions” to do things that can improve their lives. So why not resolve to learn as much as you can about how to be as healthy as you can be. There are many resources available such as: books, videos, DVDS and websites like ChooseMyPlate.gov. You should also see your primary healthcare provider at least once a year and consult with him or her about what lifestyle choices or changes they recommend you do to improve your health and wellbeing.
I wish for everyone to have wonderful, happy and healthy New Year. I also implore you to choose good health in 2018.
Even though we spend more money per person on healthcare than any other industrialized nation in the world… even though our healthcare professionals are the best trained and best equipped in the world… even though the United States is where everyone wants to be for a life-threatening medical emergency or surgical intervention or long-term care… why are we the unhealthiest of all these countries?
We know that more and more people are getting sicker and sicker at younger and younger ages with chronic diseases such as: heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer which accounts for at least 75% of all healthcare spending. That means more and more people needing more medical visits, tests, procedures, nonprescription and prescription medications and in many cases for the rest of their lives. How is this going to affect healthcare costs?
With more and more people getting sicker and sicker and everyone wanting and deserving access to the best medical technology and care they can get and expecting insurance companies to pay for all if not most of it, how can insurance rates not keep going up?
Healthcare costs have been rising every year for almost sixty years now. We continue to think we can solve this serious problem by putting more and more money into the system or by cutting reimbursements to healthcare professionals and facilities and/or cutting services. Why do we keep doing the same things which seem to always give us the same results?
We need to start to deal with the real cause of the problem and that is too many of us are getting sick often with serious, chronic diseases. Unless we do that, we will always be burdened with escalating healthcare costs.
Restoring “Health” To Healthcare offers the only path to ending this seemingly never ending problem.
One thing we know for sure with or without the inclusion of mandated health insurance in the new tax bill, our insurance premiums are going to go up just as they do every year, and that is bad news for all of us.
I believe that the Congress should revisit the need to do something about the state of healthcare in our country sometime during 2018.
In this regard, the first half of my book; Restoring “Health” To Healthcare -The Only Path To Ending Our Healthcare Crisis, deals with what the government needs to do with the help of the insurance companies and our healthcare professionals to lead us out of this crisis.
In the meantime, we need to start doing somethings about this problem ourselves as I have put forth in the second half of my book.
If each of us started to make a concerted effort to make healthier lifestyle choices in how we choose to live, many of us would become healthier, would not get sick as often and would not have to seek medical care, treatments or need medications as often.
This would lead to many of us having less co-pays and less and out of pocket expenses for healthcare. The bottom line is we will not only be healthier but a little wealthier as well.
Our Insurance companies would not have to pay out as many dollars for healthcare costs and ultimately premiums and co-pays can be decreased.
As President Kennedy said in his inaugural address in 1961; “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
The only way the healthcare problems facing our nation today can be resolved is to significantly reduce the number of people contracting diseases and conditions, especially chronic ones (such as: heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, obesity, high cholesterol and high blood pressure) In order to accomplish this, we have to change the basic foundation upon which our healthcare system functions. This means we need to change from one which focuses almost all of its resources and energy on combating illness (“sick care”) to one which places much more emphasis on prevention of diseases in the first place (“preventative care”).
This starts with the government providing significant financial incentives (up to $5000 per year) and the insurance companies rewarding healthy living as well. The government needs to also spearhead a major education program about the importance of early detection and making healthy life style choices in how we choose to live. In addition, the health insurance companies and our healthcare providers need to support and guide us in this endeavor.
Each of us needs to make living healthy a priority in our lives and accept the fact that WE are ultimately responsible for our own health, that the first person we should hold accountable for our health is ourselves, not our doctors, hospitals or health insurance companies. If enough people started to do this, the number of us contracting diseases would be dramatically reduced, the demand for healthcare services would be reduced, the amount of co-pays and out of pocket expenses would be reduced and the amount of dollars the insurance companies would have to pay out would be reduced. All this would result in a significant reduction in our nation’s healthcare costs which is huge (about $3.5 trillion dollars in 2017) and ultimately the end of the healthcare crisis once and for all.