Preventative Medicine: 5 Ways to Practice to Cut Health Care Costs

February 2, 2018
Preventative medicine - Dr. Axe

In 2009, Harvard Researchers found that 62 percent of all 2007 bankruptcies were a direct result of medical debt. (1) While this is already almost a decade ago, not much has changed. Medical costs continue to be a leading reason why even people with health insurance experience debt, deplete their life savings or have to take on a second job. (2)

It’s no secret the state of our health – as well as health care – is an ominous picture. With the outrageous costs of health care, taking preventative action with your health is more important than ever.

Why Consider Preventative Medicine?

Between the government, health insurance companies, conventional doctors, and practitioners of preventative medicine, there is a lot debate over what should be considered “preventative.”

But even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website tells us: “Preventing disease is key to improving America’s health and keeping rising health costs under control. When we invest in prevention, the benefits are broadly shared. Children grow up in communities, homes, and families that nurture their healthy development, and adults are productive and healthy, both inside and outside the workplace.” (3) I couldn’t agree more!

Today, we live in a world in which we are constantly bombarding our bodies with dangerous (and often deadly) toxins. From the highly processed ‘fake’ foods we eat to the pharmaceutical-laden tap water we drink, our bodies are dealing with a daily assault that they are battling against. Is your body winning?

Or better yet, are you doing anything to prevent the common negative health effects of daily life?

Preventing Major Problems Down the Road

Some of us haven’t started suffering from these daily toxins, many of us have and are living with disease, and still many are suffering from the negative impact of toxins but don’t even know it. Aches and pains, obesity, digestive issues (like leaky gut), headaches and other health complaints are all symptoms of potentially bigger health problems lurking inside of your body.

Many times these minor symptoms are the first signals from the body to do something immediately before you’re dealing with a major and chronic disease such as diabetes, cancer and metabolic syndrome, just to name a few. But much too often we simply tune out in denial. We figure, oh that stomach problem will pass – it always does eventually, my headaches aren’t that bad, they’ll go away, and I’ll lose that weight – some day.

What happens is that ‘some day’ never comes and we wait until one day we find ourselves in the doctor’s office – again, or the emergency room, or on the operating table. Now I don’t want to preach doom and gloom. Fact is, even when you reach these stages of health, it’s not too late to make changes that can and often will work.

But I’m urging you to take preventative steps now so you don’t have to back track. So that your precious, God-given body is in the best shape it can be now, not years from now. Not only will you avoid pain and disease, you’ll also end up saving money.

Health really is wealth, just as disease really equates to expense. Take smoking for example — diseases linked to smoking cost the world $422 billion in health-related expenses. (4) Now, right there is a clear example of how prevention in the form of a cigarette-free healthy lifestyle can really go a long way and literally save billions of dollars.

Obesity is another prime example since it is one of the top causes of preventable chronic diseases and healthcare costs in the U.S. How much is being spent? It’s estimated that we’re now spending somewhere between $147 billion to $210 billion per year. (5) Examples like this are plentiful. It is really, really expensive when we don’t take care of ourselves and prevent the health problems we are capable of preventing in our lives.

But the good news is that when you adapt certain lifestyle habits, you could end up healthier, happier, and your pockets may be fuller.

5 Easy Ways Preventative Medicine Can Benefit Your Health and Your Wallet

Here’s a look at five ways to get healthy:

1. Lifestyle

One of the most important and proactive ways to change your health (both now and into tomorrow) is by addressing your lifestyle. Getting healthy involves making some serious decisions when it comes to how you’re living.

Do an honest evaluation of the following areas of your life:

  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Spiritual Life
  • Volunteering

Do you eat healthy, real foods instead of highly processed foods? Are you exercising at least four times a week? Do you have a relationship with God? Are you actively involved in the community by contributing your time and energy to those in need?

These are all vitally important to being healthy. Health is holistic encompassing body, mind and spirit. Leave out any one of these and you’ll feel it now or down the road.

If you’re looking to improve your diet, a great place to start is with a healing diet. If you start stocking your home with healthy whole foods, then a healthy diet can quickly fall into place. Looking for healthy recipes? Of course, my website is filled with them in the recipes section.

In terms of exercise, your option are plentiful. Find something you enjoy so that you’re more likely to stick with it. Aim for at least four times per week. Your spiritual life is also key, and I can tell you that prayer and meditation are crucial to my personal health and happiness. I also love keeping a gratitude journal to focus on what I am thankful for on a daily basis.

Volunteering and giving back to your loved ones and your community are also helpful parts of a healthy lifestyle. In addition, recent research shows that when you volunteer, it boosts your physical as well as your mental health and even your perception of pain can be positively affected. (6)

2. Heredity

It’s essential that you get to know your family health history. Heredity sets you up to be more susceptible for certain diseases – in both the mind and body. If your father had heart disease, it doesn’t mean you will get it, but your risk factors can increase so you must be proactive. First ask WHY did my father have heart disease – was it from poor diet, lack of exercise, high amounts of emotional stress?

If you see your heading down the same path with some of the same bad habits then it’s time to change and start making healthy lifestyle choices. Once you realize you are continuing the pattern of a family health weakness, you can take preventative steps to prevent the worst case scenario. For example, if heart disease is the concern, there are various heart disease tests that could save your life.

3. Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care is one of my favorite forms of preventative healthcare. There are so many researched benefits of chiropractic adjustments.

For example, consider the results of a study of patients whose primary care physicians were exclusively doctors of chiropractic published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics.

Over a seven-year period, the patients of chiropractic care experienced: (7)

  • 60.2 percent fewer hospital admissions
  • 59 percent fewer days hospitalized
  • 62 percent fewer outpatient surgeries
  • 85 percent fewer pharmaceutical costs

Chiropractic care hasn’t only been proven to help reduce back pain, it’s also been shown to help improve the function of your body and can save you thousands of dollars in health care costs.

4. Stress Reduction

Did you know that that 75 percent to 90 percent of all doctors office visits are related to conditions caused by stress? (8) Sadly, it’s not hard to believe in today’s fast paced world. There are a lot of things causing us stress today. Of course, some stress is normal and our body’s can handle it, but when stress becomes chronic that’s when it can really destroy your quality of life as well as your health.

Thankfully, there are so many great natural stress relievers that you can start practicing today and continue for the rest of your life. There are so many people who live a generally healthy lifestyle, but don’t address the stress in their lives. I highly encourage you to find ways to cut stress out of your life and if you can’t cut it out then prevent stress from ruining your health by practicing stress reduction regularly.

5. Other Alternative Treatments

When you do fall ill or find yourself feeling the need to seek medical advice, you may want to consider alternative health care practitioners first. Many times the treatments they recommend are more affordable, easier on the body and can be healthier for you in the long run. When you choose conventional health care treatments (such as antibiotics), you set your body up to suffer even more from side effects (short and long term) as well as possibly creating a drug resistance in your body for these treatments.

If you have a health problem you need help addressing, you may want to look into holistic care givers, chiropractors, nutritionists, massage therapists, and other non-traditional approaches to health and healing.

Final Thoughts About Preventative Medicine

If you are healthy now, then you’re at the perfect place to begin – before anything bad happens. Take the time to learn how to eat right, find an exercise routine you enjoy, feed your soul, connect with God, reduce stress and look for health practitioners that practice holistic and preventative medicine.

Preventative medicine can really boost your body, mind, and spirit. These simple tips may seem like common sense, but it’s so easy to overlook or forget the basic and obvious things that will propel us into optimal health.

In addition, when you understand your body – with all of its strengths and weaknesses – you’ll know what to be on the look out for which is crucial to staying healthy for the long haul. Investing in yourself now will save you money – a whole lot of money – in the short term and for many years to come.

Read Next: The Benefits of Ayurvedic Medicine

Josh Axe

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