Americans have been putting personal health on the back burner since the invention of fast food and the microwave oven. This has become a slow and silent pandemic. It’s grown into widespread obesity and chronic illness. High deductible health insurance has actually made things worse.
Compared to simply paying doctors with cash, paying with health insurance has been shown to increase a family’s overall cost of healthcare by as much as 40-60%. It’s no wonder people with health insurance put-off taking care of their health in fear that it will be too expensive.
To make matters worse when you use your health insurance, you’re limited to only accessing physicians within your network and are penalized when you use one outside of it. Meanwhile, every doctor now offers discounts for patients who pay with cash or credit. These insurance hurdles are the most hurtful to people with undiagnosed disease or chronically ill people who put off routine care.
It’s a tragedy that so much suffering and death from chronic illness can be reversed or managed with proper care. More people need to be more motivated to consider personal health as seriously as personal finances. Preferably, even more seriously, because if you don’t have your health, you have nothing.
Aside from car accidents, the biggest causes of death in America are heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and lung disease. All of these are linked primarily to lifestyle choices. It’s been proven time and again that motivated patients can actually reverse the course of some of these killers, like diabetes. Not surprisingly, these patients do much better with the regular involvement of an engaged physician. Like ones who offer membership-based Direct Primary Care, instead of fee-for-service care.
Every life is important. Each one of us plays an essential role in the function of society and the healthcare system. This comes with an implied personal responsibility to maintain your health to the best of your ability. This is why medical cost-sharing memberships work so much better than health insurance for most people and small businesses. These affordable membership plans encourage members to stay healthy and with their large medical bills. Because healthy people need to use their healthcare less. This reduces costs, which is good for everyone in the community, translating to much lower monthly rates than traditional health insurance.
Get Thy Self Healthy
There is a lot of information and misinformation about health, particularly online. Try to verify the advice you get by reading reliable sources or asking your doctor’s opinion. Here are some basic behavioral changes that we can all make to improve our overall health.
1. You Are What You Eat
There are so many fad diets and ‘health experts’ out there. One second you’re supposed to give up fat, the next day it’s all fats but no carbs. There is a lot of confusing and contradictory information on what a healthy diet is. Plus every person is different, but here are a few basic reminders:
There are a few things that the experts agree on:
- The food you consume has a direct effect on your health. Your diet should include regular servings of fruit and vegetables.
- Refined sugars are addictive and extremely bad for you. It’s been linked to insulin resistance, obesity, and diabetes. Avoid processed foods that are high in sugars, fructose, and corn syrup.
- High fiber foods help maintain gut health. Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of fiber (two birds, one stone).
- A diet with too much red meat has been linked to heart disease. Although there is some debate around this point, this view is currently accepted by the WHO (World Health Organization). You can still have your ribeye steak, just not every night.
- Limit the use of trans-fats like butter and oils when you cook. These are high in bad cholesterol. They can cause atherosclerosis, otherwise known as hardening of the arteries. This can lead to stroke, embolism, and even a heart attack.
- Choosing foods with ‘good cholesterol’, such as avocado and almonds, helps protect your arteries from bad cholesterol.
- Good news! Cooking on the grill is a good way to prepare your meat. This is because the bad fats drip off of the meat. Go easy on the “fixin’s” and the mayo!
We don’t recommend crash diets or restrictive eating. Evidence suggests that, when people cut out whole food groups, they tend to have severe cravings. This often results in rebound weight gain. A balanced diet incorporates all the food groups (even chocolate) in moderation produces the best long term results.
2. Get out of the House
The experts are unanimous on this. Exercise has physical and mental health benefits. You don’t need to be a gym addict, so don’t worry! You don’t have to run marathons. Just a thirty-minute moderate workout 3-4 times a week. Your heart rate up for 20 minutes is the magic stuff
Simple changes that stick are best. Can’t commit to walking to work, don’t. Maybe you could commit to taking the stairs instead. Step-by-step, be consistent. A lifetime of stairs is better than 1 week of intensive gym followed by sore muscles and the rest of the month on the couch.
3. Talk it Out
Stress is scientifically linked to many diseases. Mental health issues aside, stress can cause high blood pressure, decreased immunity, and chronic pain. These can fall like dominoes into more serious illnesses. Sometimes we humans need to talk about our problems to help you manage stress levels. It be with a professional but it does not have to be. Talking to a friend, family member, or spouse can also provide release. Remember, when you need help, ask for it. Ask a friend, a pastor, or anyone you trust, but don’t suffer in silence.
4. Stop Smoking
You smokers are so tired of hearing this. But Smoking has been linked to cardiovascular disease, lung disease, and cancer. Quitting smoking is really hard. There are some medical helps like nicotine patches or gum that can help. There is no shame in being a smoker, as Nicotine, the substance found in cigarettes, is extremely addictive. You can also ask your virtual doctor or your personal physician for prescription help with quitting. The cravings are strong but you are stronger.
5. Get Your Flu Shot!
The COVID virus should be a good reminder that people die from flu-related complications. The best way to avoid this is to get your flu shot every year. It’s not perfect but it can help you avoid more serious complications. Your next bout of flu could be more serious than chills and a sniffle.
6. Listen When Your Body is Talking to You
This seems obvious, but sometimes we need a little reminder – sometimes a shove – in the right direction. You are the caretaker of your own temple. Take good care of it and it will take care of you.
Health Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive
Cost is the single greatest major barrier to healthcare in America. None of us can simply afford the outrageous insurance prices on medical care. Instead of solving the problem, insurance often makes it worse. After paying a fortune in premiums people are still on the hook for fat deductibles and co-pays. This has got to stop!
Health is a personal choice and your right. Everyone needs to take back control of your health choices and costs! At Scoop Health, we are here to help others discover this amazing community-based approach to paying any large medical bills that may come up. Our members pay a monthly contribution to a shared community resource. These shared resources are used to pay each member’s large medical expenses when a need arises. It’s a very simple solution that’s logical and easy to understand. It’s focused on you, your family, and your health.