One of the most important adjustments healthcare providers are trying to communicate via public education is the necessity of living a preventive lifestyle. The United States suffers more than any country from the healthcare costs associated with the “diseases of affluence:” high blood pressure, type-II (adult onset) diabetes, and cardiovascular complications. These afflictions typically result from a poor diet, sedentary working conditions, and lack of exercise. Fortunately for aging baby boomers, the very conditions which are most likely to cost them the most in terms of physical health and financial cost also happen to be the most preventable.
While many may recognize the importance of a preventive lifestyle, putting it into practice is a different story. What does it mean? What kinds of decisions are involved? A preventive lifestyle starts with monitoring caloric intake, but the kinds of calories that are being consumed for proper balance of carbohydrates, protein, fat, and essential vitamins and minerals. There are now several free online systems for calorie-counting and diet management, and many of these systems pair caloric measurements alongside cardiovascular exercises and weight training to reach specific weight goals. Building cardiovascular strength while implementing a healthy diet go hand-in-hand: without the aerobic exercise, circulation will not improve as quickly, nor will the heart muscle gain the strength necessary to perform routine activities as efficiently as it otherwise would.
A preventive lifestyle also extends to the various kinds of healthcare services a family seeks. Living preventively means keeping an eye on your health and actively seeking out preventive services (such as a colonoscopy or mammogram) when you reach the appropriate age. Utilizing these preventive services minimizes the chances that serious health conditions (such as cancer) will progress to incurable levels, in addition to eliminating the costs associated with treating advanced conditions. Engage your physician and disclose all aspects of your life that may impact your health, since the physician can only work with the information you provide.
Aging baby boomers pose a very real problem for the healthcare industry. As people age, they tend to utilize more healthcare services, particularly during end-of-life care. Baby boomers are set to hit retirement age in droves over the next few years, and they form a disproportionate part of the populace in the United States. Given the sharp increases in healthcare costs over the last few decades, healthcare providers are trying to find ways they can curb rising costs while still providing elderly citizens with the end-of-life care they need.
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