Prevention key in avoiding high health care costs

Prevention key in avoiding high health care costs

According to a publication of the Council of State Governments, chronic diseases are responsible for 70 percent of American deaths and 75 percent of health care spending. These diseases include heart –related illnesses, cancer and diabetes, which all carry possible long-term health care needs.

While you can’t control many of the risk factors contributing to chronic illnesses such as age, gender, race and genetics, you can control many of the daily habits that can contribute to the chronic disease.

Here are some tips to help you stay healthy and prevent high insurance costs:

Maintain a healthy diet. Processed foods, refined sugar and foods high in saturated fats cause obesity, which is one of the major contributing factors of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Make sure your diet largely consists of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and lean proteins. Follow the Food Guide Pyramid provided by the USDA, or seek the assistance of a certified nutritionist. A professional can help you determine an appropriate diet based on age, weight and height. Your insurance may even cover visits as this is a preventive approach.

Limit your alcohol intake. Excess alcohol consumption can lead to liver diseases.

Drink plenty of water. According to the Mayo Clinic, you should drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Water flushes toxins out of vital organs and transports nutrients to your cells.

Kick the bad habits. Quitting smoking will not only be a healthy choice, it will pay off with health benefits in the long run. Smoking increases the risk of heart disease, emphysema and lung cancer.

Create new, healthy habits. Working out even a few minutes a day can result in significant health benefits. About 30 minutes of moderate exercise five or more days a week can reduce weight, increase mobility, elevate your mood, strengthen bones and increase circulation. Not only will it improve your body, but it will also help your endorphins kick in, which will improve your mental state.

Undergo a yearly exam. Many insurance companies encourage their members to visit their doctor on a yearly basis. Some services that may be free include: blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol tests; many cancer screenings including mammograms and colonoscopies; counseling on smoking cessation; weight and diet management; mental health treatments; and routine vaccinations for the flu or pneumonia. Check with your insurance company to see what your plan includes.

If you’re in need of a new physician, check Angie’s List. Members have reported on 5,000 Los Angeles doctors in this area alone. See how members have reviewed physicians in your area.

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