Thursday, January 22, 2015

Improving Your Health and Well-Being

For many of us, the first month of the new year allows us to re-focus our goals and set resolutions going forward. Improving our health and exercise regiment are usually at the top of this list. While a great deal of our nation's debate around health continues to center around the Affordable Care Act and the broken healthcare system, there is one area that each of us can directly improve upon: Personal health maintenance.

Each of us have the ability to control what we do to our bodies. How we eat. How we sleep. How we exercise. Change is in our power.  And while there's still some cost associated with preventive care, it's still much less than treatment on things we could have easily avoided or at least, lessened our risk factor.

In 2011 the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services released a "National Prevention Strategy" which "envisions a prevention-oriented society where all sectors recognize the value of health for individuals, families, and society and work together to achieve better health for Americans." 

The report identifies 7 priorities:
Some of the findings are eye opening. We know tobacco products are bad for your health, but did you know tobacco is the leading cause of premature and preventable death in the Unites States? Most people identify weight gain with eating too much, but the reality is food is a factor in far more than just weight. The food you eat effects your heart, your blood pressure, your bones and many forms of cancer. Reproduction and sexual health are immeasurably tied to preventive care. Knowing how to prevent potential diseases and pregnancy issues are critical to your well-being.

Former President Bill Clinton's Global Initiative is an organization that recognizes the vital importance of "systematic health improvement throughout the United States." CGI holds its annual Health Matters Summit beginning Monday. You can live stream many of the sessions, including Clinton's opening remarks by going to their website.

The point of all this discussion and prevention is two-fold. One, if you take care of your body and your health, you're going to live longer and your day-to-day life will simply be easier and more satisfying. That's a fact.  And two, the financial burden of getting sick, which strains not only your bank account, but the overall economy is decreased. Medical expenses are the number one reason for personal bankruptcy filings in this country. The fact is a lot of health related debt could have been prevented.

Bottom line. As medical costs continue to spiral out of control, it's imperative we take care of ourselves now more than ever. Know what you can do to minimize your health risks - and do it!
The health of a nation depends on it.

Stay Informed. Stay Positive. Stay Healthy.
The Patient's Advocate
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