price of your health

The Price of your Health

by | May 13, 2011 | Health

Living with a homeopath and with kids with severe allergies health is a big topic for us.  Since we discovered that our kids have anaphylactic allergies we’ve worked very hard to build their immune system so they have the best possible chance to handle any allergic reaction.  For people who do not have kids with allergies, this has meant a continual battle between trying different health modalities and making lifestyle changes.

For example, people with severe allergies need to keep away products that affect them so when our kids started to go to parties they could not have the usual treats that are present at most parties such as cakes, chocolates, some sweets, etc because according to the manufacturers of those products they “may have traces of nuts“. At that point in time there were not many products made that were free from nut contamination which meant that we had to make most of those party treats ourselves from “scratch” so our kids did not feel like they were missing out.  This is only a small sample of the type of changes we had to make in order to build their immune system.

As a consequence of these choices, it forced me to look at my own health and lifestyle as I need to be congruent with what we were espousing to our kids. I have to say that at some level they also saved my health because when I compare myself to some of my peers I can honestly say that I am better off than they are. Reflecting further, I found myself asking “what would have happened if we did not made those decisions”, ”what is the price of maintaining your health?”, ”How much does it cost be healthy?” and ”what are the implication of not being conscious about your health?”

From our experience most people don’t realise the real cost of not looking after their health.  We did a some a bit of research and looked at some of the trends and you will be surprise at the implications.  One trend that we noticed over the years is that our health insurance has been increasing steadily with the rebates we slowly our ability to claim has become more restrictive or limiting. In the US insurance premiums are also rising, since 2000 they have doubled with one California provider increasing premiums by 39%.

If you think this is scary this some of the other stats we found from the US:

  • 62.1% of bankruptcies in the US are medically-related
  • 50% of all home foreclosure are caused by medical problems
  • 37% of Americans pay more than $2,000 for medical bills out of pocket each year
  • 30% of workers lose two or more weeks of work because of illness annually
  • 46.6 million Americans have no health insurance
  • 14,000 workers are losing insurance coverage every day because of unemployment

Meanwhile, Type 2 diabetes is an epidemic (with nearly 30 million Americans already diagnosed and perhaps 10 million walking around not knowing they have it). Cancer is now the nation’s leading killer, striking 1-out-of-2 sometime in our lives. And heart attacks still claim 500,000 of us every year. These are not good survival odds.

These are some seriously scary stats and whilst they maybe US based I would be surprised if this was not reflected in other countries around the globe.  What is tragic about the stats is that it is avoidable and more cost-effective by simply taking better care of ourselves.  Most studies around the globe have clearly shown that prevention is the most cost-effective way to manage health but for many of us we ignore those studies.

When was the last time you looked at yourself in the mirror, if you haven’t done it for a while then ask you to please stand up and take 5 minutes, have a good look at yourself and can you honestly say to yourself that you are at the best or at the health point that you really want – not the “I am OK – except for that ….” We often compromise our own health because of financial, social and/or family pressures so we end up having a list excuses and don’t take time to take stock. So grab five minutes now and be honest with yourself – do you have the health that you want?

If you are not and let’s face most of us are you can do something about it now – it is never too late to take action. He are some of the things you can do to avoid those health problems that send us to the doctor and the hospital.

Quit smoking

Not only is it the number one cause of lung cancer, but smoking robs your body of vitamins and nutrients that keep your immune system strong so you can resist illness and disease. Smoking also inflames your arteries and organs, setting you up for heart disease and Alzheimer”s.

Fast food – a silent killer…

Sure, it looks like a bargain — but it’s just plain bad for your health. It”s full of bad fats, empty calories and devoid of the nutrition your body needs to prevent illness, colds, and infections. Trans fat in fast food is responsible for as many as 30,000 premature coronary deaths per year (82 each day). If you add in the long-term health cost of fast foods, it’s certainly not a “happy meal” nor is is cheap or affordable in the long term.

Give up sodas

Excessive sugar consumption is the leading cause of diabetes and weight gain. And cancer tumours just love sugar. Sodas are the top source of calories in the Western diet. These are empty calories that immediately get converted into blood fats (called triglycerides) that are stored around your belly and on your hips and butt. Simple solution: Replace sodas with iced tea or carbonated water with a slice of lemon and you can lose 7-20 pounds a year. these drinks are expensive and they dehydrate you. Dehydration is so common. Most people do not have a clue they are dehydrated!

Eat more fresh veggies and less red meat

Ounce-for-ounce, fresh vegetables provide more health-protecting nutrition and weight-reducing fibre than packaged foods that are advertised as “convenience” items (the health problems they can cause down the road are no convenience at all). Red meat is expensive and — because of the unhealthy way it’s raised in the US — its filled with hormones, antibiotics, and pesticide residues that do nothing but bad things for your health and your weight.

Those who eat a Mediterranean-style diet characterised by more fresh veggies and less red meat have a 22% less chance of dying from any cause, a 14% reduction in cancer risk, and a 21% lower chance of dying from heart disease.

Become more physically active

Exercise is good medicine. Every cell and organ in your body works better when you’re active. Our bodies were designed to move, which is how life-giving oxygen and nutrients get delivered from head to toe. Studies show that people who are physically active — even if it’s just a 30-minute stroll around the block a few times a week — get sick less often, feel better, and live longer.

Reduce the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, colon cancer, depression, and anxiety. It also reduces the risk of dying prematurely from all causes.

Lose weight

Not only do those extra pounds look bad in the mirror, they”re a breeding ground for cancer, heart disease, and diabetes — the top three killers of Western world today. Remember: simply drinking one less soda a day, reducing the size of your servings and walking 30 minutes four times a week can achieve consistent weight loss. You don’t need to go on a diet or even join a gym to achieve this. Simply following the first 6 tips here can achieve this easily.

Losing as little as 10% of your current body weight will cut your risk of these major diseases by 50-80%. It also can reduce the duration of hospitalisation and the incidence of postoperative complications. Hospitalisation costs $3,000 to $5,000 per day — with extra tests and services, it can add up to $50,000 per week!

I Know, I Know … You’ve Heard It All Before

Accomplishing these steps is easy … unless you’re addicted to cigarettes and fast food, hate vegetables, and are a confirmed “couch potato” who hates exercise. Then, these simple steps may seem far beyond you but it does not stop you from taking action and to start making a difference to your health.  So some take action on each of steps today such as cut back on by 1 cigarettes, start eating fruits and vegetables, change some of your sodas to water, take a walk with a friend and enjoy the day. Over time you will see results and by taking action each day you will feel better, be in control of your health and you will avoid those horrific costs.

We leave you with one of my favourite quotes from Hippocrates (the Father of medicine – 460 BC Year of Death: 357 BC). Note Hippocrates lived till 97 yrs with no western medicine:

If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.

You’ve got the Power!

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