Preventive Care & the Future of Medicine
This is not a new subject. Actually, I blogged about it back in 2007 in my article: Healthcare? Or is it Really Sickcare? Today we have guest blogger, Jessica Socheski, who shares more about preventative medicine and how hot of a discussion it is these days. Please read and add your opinions in the comment section!
Preventive medicine seems like a buzzword in the ongoing healthcare discussion. It is how legislatures and educators want to bring change to the health and well-being of the general U.S. population. So what exactly does prevention look like? And how can it save the healthcare system? Here is an overview of what it all means.
Preventive care focuses on the group as a whole rather than the individual. For example, it is much cheaper to spend money campaigning against smoking and reaching a wide audience than it is to fight lung cancer in one patient. In essence preventive care gives “more bang for your buck” by working wholesale to prevent serious diseases, writes Dr. Donald Bucklin for USHealthWorks.com.
So for public health care supporters who want to see change on a large sweeping scale, prevention is a fantastic model. In fact, 73 percent of Americans already support investment in preventive care. Medical professionals and policy makers are perhaps so passionate about prevention because studies have demonstrated for years that if health care continues at the current pace, spending will skyrocket and hospitals will not be able to handle the load.
Chronic Disease Is Costing Us
In America today, 75 percent of all healthcare costs come from managing chronic diseases. So if preventive screening and health education can reduce chronic disease, healthcare spending should drop as well. In a speech, President Obama explained that “Five of the costliest illnesses and conditions—cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, lung disease and strokes—can be prevented. And yet only a fraction of every health care dollar goes to prevention or public health.”
Preventive care is something that happens at the community level with corporate healthcare plans from work and local initiatives to improve wellness in the general population. Education is a major tenant. To pick up with the original smoking illustration, since coordinated efforts from advertising, taxes and laws began to discourage the habit, smoking rates have dropped from 42 percent of the population to 20 percent in the past 40 years. So educating people about the dangers essentially helped cut the problem in half. Similarly, the past decade has seen a fight on obesity with education put in place, healthy options introduced and mandatory calorie and ingredient lists posted at some restaurants.
Starting with Exercise and Diet
The fact that workout clothes are now a style trend shows that the media and other resources have been doing their jobs to teach us all about the importance of exercise and diet for preventing disease and providing a quality life. In a sense, these two areas keep us alive. And how well we do both can determine how well we live.
Exercise is responsible for everything from maintaining healthy blood vessels to reducing anxiety and depression. It can help your body release and cope with stress. It can boost immunity and cut down cancer. “If a pill did all this,” writes Dr. Bucklin, “they would sell it for $100 apiece and we would all stand in line to buy it.”
Similarly, diet plays a huge role in preventive medicine and quality of life. Choosing whole foods, lean proteins and plenty of green vegetables can radically improve your body. Cleaning out toxins and providing necessary nutrients to fight disease and drop excess weight. Special diets can be used for avoiding and fighting cancer, strengthening the immune system, reversing atherosclerosis, lengthening lifespan and more.
With simple solutions that can result in dramatic changes, it seems apparent why proponents of prevention are confident about the potential of bolstering preventive care.
About the Author
Jessica Socheski is a writer and healthcare nut who enjoys researching smart ways to stay healthy and fit. You can find her on Google+.
Do you support preventative healthcare?