The economy and my health
Steven Brown, MD, is a family physician at the Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix Family Medicine Center.
Question: During this time of economic uncertainty, how can I improve my health without increasing my expenses?
Answer: It is important for people to live well by exercising more, eating less and stopping the use of tobacco products. People should identify their barriers and make healthy lifestyle changes. One way to improve your health without jeopardizing your wallet is to find a good primary care doctor who is available, knows you and can take care of most of your health issues. A primary care doctor decreases costs and leads to better health outcomes. Family doctors are trained in the art of making complexity simpler. Use the Emergency department only for emergencies and don’t wait until you get really sick to see a physician.
When you visit your primary care physician it is essential to set an agenda and make sure that your most important questions get answered.
An ounce of proven prevention is worth a pound of cure. Being proactive about your health can save your life. Appropriate preventive health measures can also help you avoid costly tests and even hospitalizations.
When it comes to health care, more is not always better. Talk to your primary care physician to determine if a costly test or visit to a specialist is necessary. When it comes to medications, newer is not necessarily better. Ask your doctor for time-honored medications, not medications new to the market. Generics are often available for older, proven medications. Avoid the use of sample drugs; these will increase your overall medication costs over time.