10 Ways a Healthy Lifestyle Can Reduce Your Healthcare Costs
Living healthy is the best way to cut down on healthcare costs and keep your health insurance premiums as low as possible. Fortunately, health insurance companies are putting more emphasis on insurance plans that provide coverage for preventative care. However, prevention doesn’t start in the doctor’s office. It begins at home by living a healthy lifestyle.
The stigma of living healthy is that it is time-consuming and expensive. While it is true that living healthy does require discipline, effort, and some investment, there are several common-sense things you do to keep your mind and body healthy as you get older. Below are ten ways a healthy lifestyle can reduce our healthcare costs.
Take Advantage of Screenings and Vaccinations
Health screenings can save your life. They are designed to catch cancers and serious problems early for more successful treatment. There are screening recommendations for adults and women specifically and varied screenings depending on your family history. Vaccinations are safe, effective, and can reduce your chances of contracting diseases or viruses. A simple vaccination can prevent costly medical conditions down the road.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Sleep restores the body and has a significant effect on how we feel. If you have trouble sleeping, try to establish a sleep routine. A good sleep routine includes going to bed and waking up at the same time every day and avoiding eating heavy meals and alcohol. Research shows that daily exercise and physical activity can improve sleep in patients with insomnia.
There is probably no other single choice you can make to prevent health problems than quitting smoking. According to the CDC, smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to develop heart disease, different types of cancer, stroke, and more. Smoking increases your risk of dying from cancer. Smokers lose at least ten years of life expectancy compared with people who never smoked. People who quit by age 40 reduce their risk of smoking-related death by 90%.
Manage Blood Sugar Levels
American Heart Association recommends eating smart, managing your weight, quitting smoking, and moving more as measures to manage your blood sugar. Cut back on soda, candy, and sugary desserts, which can cause blood sugar to rise. If you have diabetes, too much sugar can damage your heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves over time. Maintaining your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol in a normal range decreases your risk for heart disease or being diagnosed with cancer.
Watch Body Mass
If you are overweight or obese, you are at higher risk of developing serious health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, breathing problems, and certain cancers. If you are overweight or obese, your doctor or nutritionist will be able to help you get on the right path towards your ideal body mass.
When it comes to activity, frequency, intensity, and duration of movement are what matter the most. Start where you are, and gradually increase your physical activity. Research has shown that increased movement can lead to a decrease in chronic illnesses like diabetes, metabolic syndromes, and heart disease. To start, try to walk for 30 to 60 minutes once a day, or you can do activities two to three times a day in 10 to 20-minute increments.
Watch Your Blood Pressure
Based on data published from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 45% of adults in the United States have hypertension, defined as systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, or are taking medication for hypertension. Weight loss can help you manage or prevent high blood pressure. Normal blood pressure is defined as blood pressure <120/80 mmHg.
Check Your Cholesterol
When checking your cholesterol, your test results will show your cholesterol levels in milligrams per deciliter. It’s crucial to get your cholesterol checked because your doctor will be able to advise you on how to maintain healthy levels, which, in turn, lowers your chances of getting heart disease and stroke.
Perhaps the most basic thing you can do to prevent health problems is to eat healthy. Avoid ultra-processed foods and eat homemade meals prepared with basic ingredients. Healthy diets consist of fruits and vegetables, beans, lentils, whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, and steel-cut oats, nuts, and seeds, and healthy oils like extra-virgin olive oil.
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