No one really loves going to the doctor, but if you’re suffering from a health condition, it’s sometimes unavoidable.
But there are ways to proactively take care of yourself and save money in the long run. Procrastination doesn’t pay!
Focusing on preventive healthcare can help you avoid developing diseases and ailments down the road. Here are a few health appointments to make, measures to take, and procedures to consider:
Addiction is Expensive
There’s no doubt alcohol use is ingrained in our culture. For many, it’s a common occurence to have cocktails after work, with dinner, after dinner, and on the weekends. It’s part of everyday life. For those with alcohol or drug problems, it’s an overwhelming addiction that can ruin lives, finances and health.
“Even drinking $10 worth of alcohol a day can leave you with a $3,650 tab at the end of the year,” according to Renee Deveney of The Recovery Village. “Realistically, someone struggling with alcohol addiction could consume over $5,000 worth of booze over the course of a year, if not more.”
Those figures don’t take into account arrests for DUIs, jail time, lawyer costs, and medical bills. Eventually, alcoholism could cause cirrhosis of the liver, cardiovascular disease, cancer, gastroesophageal disease (GERD), and depression, among many other problems.
Many Americans don’t get treatment, in part because substance abuse and mental health disorders often go undiagnosed. Regular screenings for addiction can help catch the problem early. Talk to your doctor if you think you have a problem or think you may need to go to a treatment center. There are hundreds of different alcohol screening tests used by physicians to identify abuse and addiction. Find out what your insurance covers as far as preventive health exams.
Take Care of Your Teeth & Eyes
It may be hard to believe, but 45 million Americans do not have dental insurance, which means they probably aren’t going to the dentist until they have a throbbing tooth. Many people assume they can’t afford dental care, so they avoid going altogether.
Dentists commonly work with people who do not have insurance. One way for people to pay for dental care is with a healthcare credit card. You can pay the dentist at the time of service and then repay the loan off typically in 12-24 months interest free. There are times in life when it’s necessary to take out a loan, and this might be one of them.
If you do have insurance, be sure to take advantage of the free yearly cleanings, x-rays and oral exams that are often covered under your plan. The cleanings and x-rays can identify problems that need to be addressed. Preventive dental care not only could save you money but from painful procedures like a root canal.
As for vision loss, only half of 61 million adults classified as being at risk visited an eye doctor in the past year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. An eye exam can spot signs of glaucoma and cataracts — and determine if you’re a good candidate for corrective eye surgery.
If you’re considering fixing your eyesight permanently, you can expect LASIK surgery to pay for itself when you take into account how much you would spend over the course of 10- to 20- years on exams, contact lenses, supplies, frames or prescription sunglasses. You would need to schedule an initial consultation with a specialist to get a personalized quote.
Shed Some Pounds
It’s not an easy thing to do for many people, but losing weight is one of the best things you can do for your health. Carrying too much weight contributes to risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, various types of cancer, and gallbladder disease.
If you’re not currently exercising, aim for physical activity of 30 to 60 minutes about five times a week. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t do it every week, because some exercise is better than none. Make sure you’re choosing activities that are enjoyable to you and incorporating friends into the mix.
Your diet is closely related to weight. If you’re not sure how many calories you’re eating a day, download a calorie tracker app such as MapMyFitness to get a good idea of how many calories you’re actually consuming in a day. You’d be surprised how they add up. Cutting down sugar is a big step in the right direction. Make sure you’re eating a variety of food and maintaining portion control in relation to your body type.
The quest for good health is an attainable goal, especially if you take advantage of preventive care while pursuing affordable healthcare options or using what’s covered under your insurance plan. You’re worth the time and effort it takes to maintain a healthy and happy life.