Become CEO of Your Own Health and Health Care
February 18, 2009
Vol. 5, Issue 1
Take care of your own health, avoid hospitals, ask more questions, make your own decisions and take responsibility for your own healthcare. Your health will benefit, as will your bank accounts.
A New Era of Responsibility
At his inauguration, Obama declared that "What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility." That was about three weeks before signing a bill to spend a massive $800 billion in tax-payer money (plus interest that accumulates) that the government currently does not have. Interesting, if this is supposed to serve as an example...
As long-term readers know, I do believe in the importance of personal responsibility. People who have Health Savings Accounts are taking responsibility for some of their own medical expenses. They are taking responsibility for putting aside money to cover future medical expenses. They take responsibility for choosing medical services that offer the best price, convenience, and value. It may sound corny, but really the whole nation really owes you a debt of gratitude for what you do to better society.
Take Personal Responsibility for Your Health
At the National Consumer Driven Healthcare Summit, Elizabeth Bewley gave a fascinating talk titled "Consumers Need to Become CEOs of Their Own Health and Health Care". She explained how our modern healthcare system is set up to benefit interests other than you. For instance, she spoke of a condition called ICU Psychosis, that affects many patients after spending time in intensive care. This problem manifests as a form of delirium or psychotic episodes, and is caused by the typical conditions in ICU - bright lights, noise, sleep deprivation, confusion about night and day, etc.
The first step in being your own healthcare CEO is to take care of your health. Simply staying out of the hospital could save your life. The Institute of Medicine reports that medical errors cause about 100,000 deaths annually, making this the third leading cause of death. Hospital-contracted infections kill another 100,000 a year. Adverse drug events kill an additional 125,000. Thus, approximately 17% of total deaths in the U.S. may be attributable to medical care.
Up to one half of prescribed drugs do not work for patients as intended, and physicians rarely explain possible adverse side effects or how long the patient should take the drug. Bottom line, the system is not individual-centric, but rather built for the needs of the providers. To take more control, consumers need to ask more questions; create a personal health record; and realize that they, not the doctor, are in charge of their own health.
A new study was just published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, titled Metabolic and physiologic improvements from consuming a paleolithic, hunter-gatherer type diet. Humans evolved over millions of years as hunter-gatherers, and only very recently did humans begin eating grains, dairy, vegetable oil, sugar, and other modern foods. (10,000 years may seem like a lot of time, but it is nothing as far as evolution is concerned).
This was only the 4th human study to be done on the Paleolithic-type diet, and like the others it found dramatic results. Those who ate this way had lower blood pressure, better glucose tolerance, less insulin, greater insulin sensitivity, and better lipid profiles.
As you may know, I edit The Paleo Diet Newsletter (www.ThePaleoDiet.com), where we regularly discuss how this way of eating optimizes health and body composition. People lose weight, their digestion works well, their joints stop hurting, they have greater mental energy, and their risk of cardiovascular disease and autoimmune disease plummet. Diet is the single most important factor in your health, and we really are what we eat.
We're Here to Help!
If the current economy is affecting you, and your looking for ways to cut expenses, maybe we can help. If you're in good health and want to see if there is a less expensive health insurance plan you may want to switch to, just let us know. We'll see what options are available, and help you through the process.
Thanks as always for reading, and for letting us also help your friends and business associates.
To your health and wealth!
P.S. - Next month we'll talk about a new benefit we've negotiated for our readers, giving you phone and email access to doctors for a very low price.