As out-of-pocket medical costs continue to rise, it’s more important than ever for consumers to take control of their health. One of the best ways to stay healthy is to prevent poor health in the first place. While it’s impossible to plan for every scenario, here are seven simple steps you can take to mitigate your health risks and significantly reduce the chances you’ll get hit with costly medical bills.
1: See your doctor regularly.
If it’s been a few years since you’ve seen your doctor, call him or her immediately and schedule a checkup right now (and don’t leave that appointment without scheduling your next one). Your doctor will have the opportunity to evaluate your health and catch any potential problems before they become dangerous.
2: Manage your stress.
Studies show that chronic stress can make you more prone to certain diseases or conditions, like cancer, lung disease, mental illness and even cirrhosis of the liver (many people turn to alcohol in stressful situations). Perhaps you grind their teeth when under a great deal of stress, which can do serious damage to your jaw. Ease your stress by exercising regularly, eating well, going to bed early and making time in your busy schedule for the people you love and hobbies you enjoy most.
3: Stay out of the sun.
While some exposure to the sun is critical to get that precious vitamin D (which helps our bodies absorb calcium), staying in the sun unprotected for too long can wreak havoc on your skin, eyes and even your immune system. Find a shady spot, wear a hat and sunglasses, and slather your face with mineral-based sunscreen to stay safe during those scorching hot summer days.
4: Wear Bug Spray.
According to the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA), “mosquitoes cause more human suffering than any other organism – over one million people worldwide die from mosquito-borne diseases every year.” Scary diseases like malaria, yellow fever, West Nile Virus and even Zika can be transferred via mosquito bite. Luckily, mosquito bites are easily preventable with insect repellent. Find one with a high concentration of DEET, or diethyltoluamide, and follow the instructions carefully for the best protection against mosquitoes and other bugs that bite.
Countless lives have been saved thanks to vaccines, which prepare our bodies for future attacks by tricking the immune system into thinking an infection has already occurred. Stay up-to-date on your vaccines (and your children’s!) to keep yourself healthy and contribute to herd immunity. Planning to leave the country? Talk with your doctor about any necessary vaccines 4-6 weeks prior to your trip to ensure the vaccines have enough time to take effect.
6: Know your family's medical history.
Your genetic profile can tell quite the story about your future health. While it can’t predict what will happen to you with 100% accuracy, you can use your family’s medical history to screen for genetic conditions like cancer, heart disease, high cholesterol, stroke, and more. Some of these diseases are heritable, while others are a result of lifestyle and environmental factors.
The U.S. Surgeon General has created a free online tool called My Family Health Portrait to help individuals understand their family’s health history, assess their risk, and save and share information with their doctors and close relatives.
7: Forego traditional health insurance.
Opt instead for private health management, like Patronus Medical. With custom healthcare solutions, on-demand access to the best medical professionals 24 hours a day, and a focus on preventative health care and risk management, it’s hard to argue that there’s anything better you can do for your physical and mental health than private health management.
It’s impossible to prevent anything bad from ever happening to you. However, follow the seven steps above to significantly lower the risks that you will experience scary – and costly – health crises in the future.
Interested in learning more about private health management? Contact Patronus Medical today.