I mentioned in our last post that the way we structure our diets affects much more than just weight management. Our dietary intake can play a crucial role in our health and well being and serve as a key prevention method against many chronic diseases. It’s kind of like using the right building supplies for s foundation, to prevent the structure from collapsing. The issue is that many people don’t start paying attention to their diet until the preliminary signs of chronic disease begin to emerge, at which point it is often too late. And then, this burden of chronic disease begins following us around, gripped to our back, and only getting heavier and heavier with time. And so we end up paying for associated expenses that could have very well been avoided.
Our first expense is getting diagnosed. We finally start noticing that something is off, and that we are not feeling at our best. So, we take time off of our work and we go see a physician. The physician often refers us for some testing (blood work, CT, x-rays, etc.). We then take more time off of work to attend appointments for physical testing. Once the result comes in, the physician calls you in and either informs you of the lifelong treatment that should accompany your chronic disease, or refers you to a specialist, forcing you to take more time off for follow up appointments.
A study comparing health expenses in Australia, Sweden, Netherlands, Germany, and Canada noted that the issues costing the most are mental disorders (like depression), circulatory diseases (like high blood pressure), digestive, and musculoskeletal (like arthritis). The study showed that Canada spent the most on medications. But on top of the medications, we also spend money on assistive devices, procedures that aren’t covered by OHIP, and any services we seek from alternative medicine (naturopaths, acupuncture specialists, etc.).
The greatest expense related to the chronic illnesses that we may develop is the time that we would have to give up doing the things that we love. When our well-being is on the line, our ability to partake in certain activities tends to also decline. This may range from simply feeling too unwell to go out and see friends, or it can present itself in a more specific manner. For instance, people suffering from high blood pressure often may not be able to handle long flights (which limits their options of travelling places with friends and family). Heart diseases and respiratory illnesses may often impede on one’s ability to partake in active leisure time, like biking with their kids on a Sunday afternoon. The list may go on and on, but once a chronic illness sets in it then also begins to dictate the life of those who experience it.
These many tolling expenses can be avoided. And you do not have to allow a chronic illness to dictate your life, if you start with prevention instead of waiting to step in once it has already settled in. As cliché as it may sound, our life is in our hands, and in the upcoming posts you will learn more about how our dietary intake can prevent the onset of various chronic illnesses, system by system.