Around the world, governments, and people, are in debt due to the rise in medical costs. However, in the blog, I will show you how you can take charge of your own health to save you, and your country, money.
Many Canadians pride themselves on the fact that we have essentially free health care. Of course, as compared to the United States we are every lucky. If you have a heart attack in Canada and need surgery you won’t need to file for bankruptcy to pay for it like many people have had to do in the US.
If you’re a new mom you can take up to 12 months of maternity leave in Canada as opposed to only 6 weeks in the US. This is pretty nice since little ones really need as much mom time as they can get when they are first born.
Even though there are many positive aspect of having a publicly funded system there are also many things that aren’t so nice.
A trip to the emergency room can take up to 16-hours wait before seeing a doctor, unless it is a dire emergency then you will likely get in quicker.
If you need to see s specialist such as an orthopedic surgeon for a hip or knee replacement you may be waiting anywhere between one and four years.
Or, need an MRI? You’ll be waiting at least a year to get that unless you’re willing to pay $700 for a private experience.
What if you need cancer treatment? Often patients are waiting longer than necessary, which places them at greater risk of losing their battle.
Despite our hefty investment on health care expenditures, it is still clear to see our system is not working.
Current Health Problems In Our Society
Some of the health issues that plague our society and place great stress on the health care system include:
1.Obesity: Obesity rates continue to rise. As of 2017, research done by the Public Health Agency of Canada has reported that 64% of Canadian adults over the age of 18 are overweight or obese, and 60% of children aged 5-17 are overweight or obese. Statistics show that this rate has doubled since the 1970’s. That’s astonishing, and in my opinion, unacceptable! Something needs to change.
2. Heart Disease: According to the Canadian Government heart disease is the second leading cause of death in Canada. About 1 in 12 (or 2.4 million) Canadian adults age 20 and over live with diagnosed heart disease and every hour, about 12 Canadian adults age 20 and over with diagnosed heart disease die.
Cancer. Statistics show that cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada and is the cause of over 30% of deaths each year.
What Can You Do To Enhance Your Personal Health?
We need to start looking at health care from a different perspective and be open to new thoughts about the delivery of care in order for our health, as a society, to improve.
Here are just a few of my own ideas:
- Take personal responsibility for our own health. This is by far the first thing we all must do. It’s not event really that hard. Simply eating whole real food, exercising, drinking enough water and getting enough sleep will completely transform your health. Funny, how these are all the things we intuitively know or were told to do by our grandmothers. Somehow we’ve lost this sense and are now more focused on self-destruction.
- Stop eating animal products. Research has proven that a diet high in animal products, which is high in saturated fat, is the most detrimental to our health and is one of the leading cause of many diseases, animal cruelty and suffering (which effects the humans that eat the flesh) and has massive negative effects on the environment. Choosing what you eat is the one thing you have the most control over and it is the one thing that will make one of the biggest differences to enhance your health, happiness and the world.
- Focus on prevention. Many of the most pervasive diseases are known to be very preventable; obesity, heart disease and cancers can be largely avoided with a healthy diet, regular exercise and reduction of stress. We spend the bulk of our dollars on sickness care when we should be investing in improving health and preventing disease.
- Cheap, processed food should be avoided or minimally eaten. Some even suggest this food should be taxed according to what it does to the health of the person eating it just as alcohol and cigarettes are. If chips were more expensive than fruit, more people would buy the fruit
- Educate yourself as much as possible. In a world where there is so much information knowing what is healthy, and what is not, can be very confusing. Seek out health care professionals you trust and learn from them. Be sure to understand where your education is coming from as many companies will give information that is skewed towards you purchasing their products. If we could get the entire medical community on board with promoting, and rewarding, true healthy living, rather than on pushing pharmaceuticals the health of our society would drastically change.
- Root out corruption. Here’s one I would like to see investigated: We good citizens raise millions for sickness causes like cancer and diabetes, much of which goes to drug companies for “research.” Those same companies then charge their customers exorbitant amounts for their medications, often $10 for a tablet that cost pennies to manufacture, have high paid jobs for top leaders in the organizations and then when there is a more natural cure to the disease they often won’t promote it for fear of losing their funding or donations. Due to this corruption I don’t ever donate to these causes. Choose to donate to local charities who are actually using the money to do good in your own community.
- Stand up against the monopoly of “western” medicine on health care. Perhaps we could redirect charitable donations to study the medicinal properties of some of the herbal remedies that have been used for thousands of years. Because there is no profit to be made, nobody currently conducts the double-blind tests that are needed to satisfy the skeptics and develop standard doses and practices. However, you can vote with your dollars and not give to charities that support pharmaceutical research.
Luckily, there are a variety of holistic health centres around the world including, Hippocrates Health Institute, who are doing research on natural methods and helping people gain better health without invasive procedures. The problem is, many people are unable to have access to this type of treatment because it is expensive and not covered under most health care plans.
There are many more things we could be doing differently. It’s time we stopped this charade. Health care is rationed in this province and in this country because the “free” system isn’t really free; it’s bankrupting us on many levels and it needs to change now.
That’s why the first step is taking charge of your own health and inspire others to do the same by leading with your example.
Rachel Joy Olsen, BSc. MBA
Author, Health & Wellness Coach