Can chronic diseases be avoided?

Can chronic diseases be avoided? Often, yes! The key is prevention.

Date: 10/02/2019

Can chronic diseases be avoided?

Preventative healthcare is so important to our long term wellbeing. Did you know that 60 percent of Americans have chronic diseases? And many of those are preventable. So why don’t more of us take steps to prevent our ill health? Well, there are lots of reasons–some of us don’t know what to do or how to do it, we might lack motivation, we don’t know what we need, we’re concerned about costs, or we can’t find the right healthcare professional. 

 

There are also barriers to preventative healthcare. 

  • Healthcare professionals who specialize in preventative care aren’t always easy to find
  • If we do find one, their costs are often confusing and ambiguous, and fear of unknown costs can be a significant barrier
  • Even if you already have insurance coverage, you may not be covered for preventative treatments. With the average American switching insurance provider every 2.7 years, most providers do not invest in preventative care – it doesn’t make financial sense for them to do so. Sure, you’ll cost a provider thousands of dollars more in the future if you get a preventable chronic disease, but, based on the frequency with which we tend to switch insurers, you won’t be with your current one then, so it won’t cost them anything – it’ll be down to your new provider to cover your chronic disease

Getting a chronic disease isn’t inevitable – we can take control and reduce our risk. In fact, according to the NRC, 48% of premature deaths are preventable! But not everybody knows how – or even that they should. A survey by Cigna in 2015 found that 45% of Americans don’t know that they should have an annual checkup. Cigna’s utilizaton management medical director,  Isaac Martinez, M.D. said that even many of those who do know they need an annual checkup forget or simply choose not to go. He also reiterated the importance and benefit of an annual checkup as a way to monitor your overall wellbeing and as part of a strong preventative health management protocol. 

Reuters survey found that only 8% of people over 35 received all 15 of the high-priority preventative healthcare services, including blood pressure, cholesterol, and osteoporosis checks along with various cancer screenings, vaccinations, and mental health support. Amanda Borsky, a member of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality indicated that some of the common reasons for people not receiving appropriate care are issues with health service delivery and lengthy wait times.

What Can You Do?

Get away from the tired, old model of reactive sickcare, and make the shift to preventive healthcare. 

If you don’t know where to start with taking control of your health and practicing preventative healthcare, go to your primary care physician. Ask them what checks or services they recommend for preventative healthcare based on your age, gender, fitness level, and medical history. 

Make sure you go for your annual checkup. Remember, an annual checkup will give you a snapshot of your current health status. You’ll know your BMI, cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure, which are all key indicators of health. Although some insurers don’t invest heavily in preventative therapies, many do pay for your annual physical, so check with your insurance provider to see if you’re covered. Paying attention to the results of your physical can help you improve your overall health and play a crucial role in preventing chronic disease.

Have preventive and diagnostic screenings on a regular basis. These tests offer you peace of mind if they’re all clear, but if they’re not, you’ll have caught the problem early – or before it’s an actual problem. For example, during a routine colonoscopy, if the doctor encounters any intestinal polyps, they can be removed before they turn cancerous or, if they are malignant, before they spread, reducing the risk of colorectal cancers by 65%. 

It’s not rocket science – early detection, aka preventative healthcare, saves lives.

It’s time to take control, stop just reacting, and start being proactive. Lots of us lack the motivation to properly engage in preventative healthcare. We tell ourselves we’re ok and that we’ll get to it later. If we really feel unwell, we’ll eventually go to a doctor as a reactionary measure, but we tend to avoid thinking proactively about our health – we put it out of our minds because it’s scary, possibly expensive, and not easy to understand. 

Want to live a long and healthy life? Of course you do! To do that, you’ve got to be informed and take real steps towards keeping yourself healthy. Enter Healthdom. We help you help yourself. Healthdom helps deliver a personalized preventative healthcare plan and schedule that works for your unique circumstances. You’re unique, so your healthcare should be, too. Our managed healthcare app puts your health data right at your fingertips. We’ll walk you through an initial assessment, show you genetic and lifestyle factors that increase your risk of specific diseases, and provide individualized healthcare management. Our app provides recommendations for preventative action that will keep you motivated and help you make healthier choices, and we help you book appointments with local healthcare providers who accept your insurance. We take all the mystery and complexity out of preventative healthcare management, putting you in control and helping you make positive choices.