Preventative healthcare is a great way to save yourself time and money, even though it might not seem that way in the short term. Regular checkups and good habits prevent costly problems that require expensive solutions. This article will go over some preventive behaviors to help you stay healthy without spending too much money.
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Tip #1: Preventing Oral Decay
Montgomery Dental Care states that “It’s estimated that more than half of U.S. adults have gingivitis. Gingivitis, in some cases, can lead to periodontitis (gum disease) and host of other health problems.” But oral diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis can be easily prevented from good dental hygiene. All that is required to keep your mouth healthy is a dental cleaning every six months, combined with daily brushing and flossing.
Preventative oral care is easy and cheap compared to the painful and expensive diseases that happen from neglecting your oral hygiene. Establish a routine of flossing once a day, brushing twice a day, and seeing the dentist once every six months. Doing this will make sure you keep your teeth in good condition for the future; it will help you avoid gingivitis, cavities, root canals, and other painful oral conditions which will definitely cost you more than some toothpaste and floss.
If you have dental care, the copay for a dental cleaning should be fairly cheap. If you don’t have dental care, ask your dentist about discounts for paying out-of-pocket on the same day as treatment, or ask about setting up a monthly payment plan to cover the bill.
Tip #2: Fighting Germs
Right up there with dental care, you need to make sure you take good care of your body. You should regularly wash your body to prevent illness. Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, razors, and other hygienic products add up in the short term, but they save you money in the long term by helping you stay healthy and clean. It’s more about health than it is about beauty; being dirty increases your exposure to germs and diseases, and decreases the quality of social relationships.
In addition to bathing, washing your hands is one of the most important things you can do to prevent yourself from catching an illness. It is recommended that you should wash your hands when you come home, before you cook, before you eat, after you eat, and after using a bathroom. Hand soap and hand sanitizer are cheap products that very effectively reduce germs and potential pathogens. Frequent handwashing is especially important if you spend a significant time around young children or if you are already sick and don’t want to spread your illness to others.
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If you are not covered by medical insurance, ask your doctor about discounts for paying your bill on the day of your appointment in cash; also, you could ask your doctor about setting up a payment schedule for your visit.
Tip #3: Staying Fit
According to the CDC, “More than one-third (36.5%) of U.S. adults have obesity. Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death.” All of these deadly conditions are preventable.
The best path to lasting health and fitness throughout your lifetime is consistent exercise combined with a healthy diet. But this can be a definite challenge when you have limited time to exercise and a tight grocery budget. This doesn’t mean you are doomed to an unhealthy life, however. There is lots that you can do to preserve you health and your body. You don’t need an expensive toy like a fitbit or the latest trendy supplement to stay healthy.
One of the first steps you can take to keep your physical fitness on track is to count your calories. There are free apps such as Lose It and My Fitness Pal that help you calculate and count your daily calorie intake; they also help you set weight goals and track exercise. Free tools such as this, combined with tracking your weight and your BMI, will help you stay on top of your fitness so that you can alter your habits to stay in shape. They key is consistent effort over a sustained period of time.
The Harvard School of Public Health recommends that healthy adults “should get a minimum of 2-1/2 hours per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, or a minimum of 1-1/4 hours per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or a combination of the two….Adults should also aim to do muscle-strengthening activities at least two days a week.” Using this as a guideline, plan activities into your week that get your heart pumping and your muscles moving. Pick exercises that you love to do, and it will feel less intimidating and more fun.
To stay in the best shape, it is recommended that you should go to a doctor’s office once a year every year for a wellness exam, or a yearly physical. This should be done even if you aren’t sick and you don’t have any noticeable health issues. This yearly exam helps your doctor establish a baseline of health, like a control group in an experiment. This baseline allows them to compare your current health with your past health, and it helps them to catch problems before they get out of hand. It also helps them to notice abnormalities that might signal the development of a disease or condition, for example, cancer. The earlier your doctor can catch an illness or a disease, usually the faster and cheaper it is to treat.
Many yearly wellness exams are covered by your insurance, so the cost of this exam should be minimal if you have good insurance. Again, if you do not have insurance, you should call your doctor beforehand and ask them about your options. Many doctors are understanding; they have systems to help set you up on a payment program, and they might give you discounts if you come to the doctor’s office prepared to pay on the same day.
Don’t let the initial costs of receiving medical care scare you away from getting preventative treatments and exams. In the long term, it’s better for your body and your wallet to prioritize healthy habits and consistent visits with your medical professionals.
Remember, Medicaid exists to help low income individuals get free health care! Check with your state agency to see if you’re eligible. Generally, the same office that manages food stamps also administers Medicaid benefits.