According to the CDC, the cost of heart disease and stroke in the US is projected to be greater than $448 billion in 2008. This figure includes the health care expenses and lost productivity from death and disability.
As our population ages, the economic impact of cardiovascular diseases on our healthcare system will only get worse. Staggering as that sounds, heart disease is largely preventable!
My background includes working as a cardiovascular nurse specialist for more than 20 something years. I have worked with many heart disease patients in a variety of settings. I've seen people's lives impacted by this deadly disease and I spent many hours teaching them how to prevent future problems. And yes, that's actually me in this picture (many moons ago).
Healthcare has changed so much over the years. It seems that doctors are seeing more patients in less time partly due to decreasing reimbursement. A concern for many people is the rising cost of healthcare and whether they will be able to afford health insurance in the future. In this election year, these are concerns that the Presidential candidates must address.
Although I can't solve all of these problems, I believe I can help in some way. The focus of this blog is how your day to day choices will determine what your tomorrows will become. Making healthier choices and sticking with them will positively affect your health, which should decrease your future healthcare costs.
I distributed a survey to patients in a cardiology practice to find out what people were most anxious about regarding their heart health. The overwhelming response was that people were less afraid of dying of a heart attack than they were of surviving one and being left in a condition where they were dependent on others and unable to take care of themselves. They wanted to continue to enjoy the things that brought them pleasure; whether that was work, golf, travel or simply playing with their children or grandchildren. They wanted a good quality of life, no matter how old they were. I can certainly understand and identify with this. I've seen too many people look forward to the "golden years" and retire but find themselves too weak and tired to enjoy life.
I want to write a series of blog posts that address ways to make healthier choices so we can have a healthier tomorrow. A few of the topics I will address include:
- How to develop habits that promote better health
- How to motivate yourself to change (and why it's hard)
- What you need to do to make successful changes
If you struggle in specific areas, I welcome your comments. After all, I want this to be a two way communication tool and not a lecture. Let's make the choice to take better care of ourselves, which impacts body, mind and even spirit.