The truth about the cost of your health and your healthcare

Here’s what you should know about the price of your health

It gets expensive

You probably think I’m talking about the high cost of health food. Or how ridiculous gyms are for making you want to pay more than $10 a month. Or how the cost of workout clothes can add up.

Well friend, that is not what I’m here to talk about.

Does caring for your own personal health get expensive? Hell-freaking-yes. Do you only have one body to live in? Hell-freaking-yes. There’s a common phrase we’ve all heard; “your body is a temple.” What do all of the temples in the world have in common? They are highly regarded, highly thought of and in most cases highly guarded

So you think I’m talking about how eating healthy, paying for gym memberships, etc. gets expensive? I mean, that’s what stops us from getting healthy in the first place right? The fact that it’s so expensive? 

Wrong, it’s the:

  • Blood pressure medicine because well, you’ve gained weight, your insides are screaming at you for some tender love & care, but you don’t hear. There’s medicine to cover that cry!
  • Diabetes medicine because well, you’ve gained weight, your insides are screaming at you for some tender love & care, but you don’t hear. There’s medicine to cover that cry! (Okay, I realize that in some cases diabetes is hereditary and can’t be avoided)
  • Osteoarthritis medicine because well, you’ve gained weight, your insides are screaming at you for some tender love & care, but you don’t hear. There’s medicine to cover that cry!
  • Sleep medicine because your overall health has impacted your ability to sleep
  • The costs of visiting multiple doctors, multiple times a year, or month

Let me clump society together for a second here and pretend that society as a whole has one collective head. We have this ridiculous thought in our head that being healthy is the expensive way. When in fact, our attempt at healing debilitating diseases, fighting disease, fighting to live, fighting to regain your healththat is what is expensive.

America has taught us to believe…

That because you can get a $2 meal at McDonalds, anything other than that is simply preposterous. We look at an $8 salad from the local grocery store salad bar and pass on that for the $3 slice of pizza (let alone, completely ignore the fact that we could make that same salad for a family of four for $8 ourselves). We are so blind to what we are actually doing to our bodies that we think saving those $5 for this meal is going to save us big time in the long run. 

FALSE. Your wallet might be temporarily saved, but your body is NOT.

America needs to be educated.

America needs to get its’ priorities straight.

What is the main goal of all fast food chains? To market to you and to sell to you in a way that makes you want to buy their products. Like OMG MCRIBS ARE BACK AND THEY’RE ONLY A DOLLAR! GET EM WHILE YOU CAN BECAUSE THEY’LL BE GONE BEFORE YOU KNOW IT! (oh they’ll be back. Never mind the fact that they suck). Your brain sees that the beloved McRib is back and thinks “I must stop at McDonalds, right now, even though I am not hungry”.

So we eat the bad stuff. We eat the cheap stuff. We put crap into our body as if it were a garbage disposal. Do you know that garbage disposal even needs to be cleaned and cared for regularly? Why don’t you do that to your body?

Then there comes a point where the waistline has expanded and you’ve already had to buy new clothes (newsflash, all of those “$5 you saved” are now being spent on a new wardrobe). So we’re at this point where it, and by IT I mean the WEIGHT (of our actions), has crept up on us. We might not necessarily be at the point of needing any sort of medicine, because we haven’t been diagnosed with anything, yet. Instead, we fall into further marketing bullshit and try to do the “quick fixes” to “save our bodies”. We invest in pills, wraps, teas, diets, shakes, this & that, and the list goes on. Remember those $5 you saved when you chose to not buy the healthier option because “healthy is expensive”? Yeah, well you’ve already spent that on your new, fat pants wardrobe. Now, in a desperate effort to turn things around QUICK, you spend more money (money that you might not even have in the first place) on these quick fixes.

You’re already in the hole and we’re not even to the “needing medicine part”.

Have you ever tried those quick fixes before? I’m willing to bet that you have. Most of America has. If you haven’t, I guarantee you know at least 3 people who have. 

What’s the common trend with those quick fixes? That’s right, they don’t work! “But Sally Sue’s cousins best friend said that THIS was the product that would change it all. It’s THE FIX. It will cure above all. Hands down, case closed”

BAHA-HAHAHAHAHAH.

They don’t work. Congratulations, you just spend $30-$100 on each “quick fix”. You were desperate for 6 months all while buying into these things that didn’t work, and likely, you didn’t change your diet or your exercise routine. So here you are, still in your fat guy pants. A larger waistline and a smaller wallet to show. 

As if that wasn’t the icing on the cake, you go to your annual doctor’s appointment.

You tell her that you are having trouble sleeping. She does a stress test. Sleep apnea. Let’s get you set up with all the things to fix that. Please make sure to write a check for $500 and we’ll get you set up and on your way.

Or she takes your blood pressure and WOAH where did those numbers come from?! We totally missed the stage of pre-hypertension. You my friend, are in full blown hypertension. Time to medicate. Please go write a check for $400 and we’ll send you on your way.

Or you tell her that you’ve been having a lot of joint and knee problems. You don’t know where or when it started but you’ll be damned if you can’t walk from the couch to the fridge without those knees creaking. You’ve developed osteoarthritis. Let’s forget the fact that the pain is being made worse from being overweight, let’s just take your $300 and send you on your way.

Or you, you unfortunate poor soul, you have problems with all 3. And your insurance is not going to cover your sleep apnea machine, and only a portion of your blood pressure and osteoarthritis medicine. You’re looking at spending $400-1,000- just this month. Remember when you saved $5 back in the day though?!

Okay, I may have embellished those dollar amounts a bit, and I do know damn well that in each scenario the doctor would have mentioned the need to lose weight and exercise. But would you have gotten the point as well if not?

Let me throw some stats at you:

(if you’re not interested in these stats, please skip to the end for final points)

1. High blood pressure:

According to CDC.GOV:

How many Americans have high blood pressure?

About 75 million American adults (29%) have high blood pressure—that’s 1 in every 3 American adults (!!!!!!!). Anyone, including children, can develop high blood pressure.

Do you know that high blood pressure greatly increases the risk for heart disease and stroke? Did you know that those are the first and third leading causes of death in the United States.

How much does high blood pressure cost the United States?

Total costs associated with high blood pressure in 2011 (a little outdated, but sometimes these stats are only fully updated every 10 years. So let’s assume this number is actually higher) in the US were $46 billion in health care services, medications, and missed days of work.

  • Not covered by health insurance? Well then you’re looking at spending between $740 and $1,200 or more per year
  • Annual average cost for doctor’s visits? You’re looking at $454 per year
  • Oh and that prescription medication? I mean you need it. $407

according to a report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

  • Adults with hypertension accounted for 40.8 percent of all healthcare spending despite comprising only 18 percent of the study sample.
  • The greatest disparity in annual healthcare spending between hypertensive and non-hypertensive peers existed among 19- to 26-year-olds ($15,812 versus $2,927).

For more info on hypertension from CDC.GOV, click here for more info

2. Sleeplesness

In 2015, Americans spent an estimated $41 billion on sleep aids and remedies. With sleep issues continuing to rise, that number is expected to grow to $52 billion by 2020.

If you are one of the 164 million Americans who have sleep issues (and medication) or are falling into the black whole of sleeplessness, let me suggest you read this article by Harvard Health.

3. Diabetes:

According to CDC.Gov

The average cost for people with diagnosed diabetes is about $16,750 per year. People with diabetes spend 2.3 TIMES AS MUCH per year in medical cost compared to those without.

For America as a whole, the total estimated cost of diagnosed diabetes in 2017 was $327 billion. The breakdown of this cost includes (direct link to this info here) :

Direct medical costs:

$237 billion

  • Hospital inpatient care ($69.7 billion).
  • Prescription medications to treat the complications of diabetes ($71.2 billion).
  • Antidiabetic agents and diabetes supplies ($34.6 billion).
  • Physician office visits ($30.0 billion).
  • Nursing/residential facility stays ($6.4 billion).

Indirect costs:

$90 billion

  • Increased absenteeism ($3.3 billion).
  • Reduced productivity while at work ($26.9 billion) for the employed population.
  • Reduced productivity for those not employed ($2.3 billion).
  • Inability to work as a result of disease related disability ($37.5 billion).
  • Lost productive capacity due to early mortality ($19.9 billion).

4. Osteoarthritis 

According to CDC.Gov

Osteoarthritis, is the most common type of arthritis and affects more than 30 million adults in the United States. It is also among the most expensive conditions to treat when joint replacement surgery is required. Osteoarthritis, which is degeneration of the joint cartilage and underlying bone, costs $185 billion dollars a year. Of which, insurance generally accounts for $149 billion, and patients pay $36 billion. For more info on the costs, click here.

Alright let’s break those stats down

  • American population (as of 2018 census): 327.2 million
  • Total blood pressure cost in the U.S: $46 billion
  • Total sleeplessness cost in the U.S: $41 billion
  • Total diabetes cost in the U.S: $327 billion
  • Total osteoarthritis cost in the U.S: $36 billion

If we were to average the cost for each medical issue across the entire U.S. population, here’s what it would look like for EACH PERSON

  • Blood pressure: $140.5
  • Sleeplessness: $125
  • Diabetes: $999
  • Osteoarthritis: $110

Again, that’s the cost per year if we could average it across the entire U.S. population, which we can’t. Meaning that cost per person actually living with the disease is staggeringly higher.

I bet you’re wishing you had spent $8 on that Salad 5 years ago, huh Johnny?

You have one body to live in.

One body to protect.

One body to nourish.

I’m not sure why people put so much care into the upkeep and looks of their cars, their houses, their lawns, their boats or “grown up toys”, and quite literally anything along those lines, but cannot get themselves to take care of THEIR OWN BODIES?!

Wake up America. Wake the F up.

And while you’re up, go grab those sneakers, go for a walk, or a run. And when you’re done have a nutritional breakfast.

And then repeat those efforts daily.

Just WAKE THE F UP

 

 

 

Further resources:

 https://consumer.healthday.com/senior-citizen-information-31/misc-arthritis-news-41/osteoarthritis-costs-u-s-over-185-billion-a-year-633410.html

https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2017/p0718-diabetes-report.html

https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/diabetesatwork/plan/costs.html

https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/faqs.htm

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