Taking charge of your health has never been so important. While scientific advances are booming, health insurance costs are not far behind. As a matter of fact, more and more companies are being forced to drop health insurance coverage just to keep their doors open for business. Many have closed down shop altogether and moved their operations to other countries mainly due to the unbearable cost of health insurance. Those who try to pay for health insurance without the assistance of their employer often find they must make a choice between putting food on the table or buying health insurance.

Roughly 46 million Americans are without health insurance. A recent report by the Institute of Medicine estimated that in America, approximately 18,000 deaths each year are the direct result of lack of health insurance. While you may have health insurance today there is no guarantee about what the future may bring.

Some believe that one day we will reach a state in which only the rich can afford quality health insurance. Coupled with the impending shortage of physicians (some experts estimate there will be a shortage of up to 200,000 physicians in America by the year 2020) the outlook for the average citizen is certainly cause for concern.

Many areas are already demonstrating a shortage of physicians. Obstetricians in many places have been forced to close their doors or limit the procedures they do because of the high cost of malpractice. This unfortunate situation has left many pregnant women in a very scary predicament. Some have to travel tremendous distances just for routine obstetrics care. Others have to forego crucial care because they can not find a doctor, cannot afford a doctor, or cannot travel far to see a doctor.

Many people are forced to forego life-saving preventive medicine check ups for financial reasons. Naturally, if you have to pay out of pocket for medical expenses you are not as likely to see a doctor for minor issues. Unfortunately, issues that start out minor, if unaddressed can become major, potentially catastrophic issues.

While there is no way to completely prevent disease, there are many ways in which you can significantly decrease your chance of developing some very important diseases. You guessed it…a healthful lifestyle.

Drink at least 8 glasses of water daily, preferably filtered or bottled water. Water helps flush your kidneys and helps you eliminate harmful wastes that can be toxic to your body.

Eat at least 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables each day, preferably organic produce. Many, many potentially harmful pesticides are found on a lot of fresh produce in the grocery store. Even though you may not be able to smell or taste these manmade chemicals, your body knows they are there. Produce was not meant to contain potentially harmful chemicals so why not spend a little extra money and get the health benefits you really need.

Take a multivitamin each day. The American Medical Association now recognizes that we do not get enough nutrients in our daily diet. Furthermore, our soil has been depleted of many of the nutrients it once had. A daily multivitamin can go a long way in helping you stay healthy.

Regular exercise can literally mean the difference between health and long life and sickness and premature death. If you are not currently on an exercise routine it is safest to check with your doctor before starting any strenuous routine.

Do not even think about smoking. If you smoke, stop, immediately. Smoking is the number one cause of unnecessary death in America. Obesity is the number two cause. If you are overweight, get serious about your diet and exercise patterns. No food tastes good enough to risk your vitality and longevity over.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Ann Hester is a board certified internal medicine specialist, author, founder of PatientSchool.net and creator of the Patient Whiz. She can be reached at Dr.Hester@ThePatientWhiz.com.

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