(DGIwire) – People who pay for their health insurance and other healthcare related costs are well aware that they continue to rise sharply. Reasons for these costs are often discussed with blame widespread. The underlying reason however falls squarely on us as individuals.
Did you know that just twenty conditions are responsible for more than half of all healthcare related costs in the United States?
In 2013, diabetes was at the top of the list and totaled around $101 billion in diagnosis and treatment costs annually. Heart disease, low back and neck pain are next in line followed by hypertension. These four conditions account for a whopping $361 billion every year and the costs continue to increase. Diabetes costs alone have increased by $64.4 billion over the preceding 18-year timeframe.
Others that made the top 20 include musculoskeletal disorders like tendinitis, carpel tunnel syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis. Among the 155 conditions observed, the top 20 were responsible for $1.2 trillion or 57.6 percent of total healthcare spending.
An interesting note is that usually Americans do not go to the doctor unless they are ill. Just 6 percent of personal health care spending was on prevention and of that, nearly a third of the spending was on pregnancy and postpartum care.
Now back to us. How are we responsible?
“The top four conditions; diabetes, ischemic heart disease, low back and neck pain and hypertension are not natural occurrences or diseases you catch, they are something you create over time by improper diet and lifestyle choices. Our collective mindset is that these conditions are unavoidable and this forms the basis of the problem,” according to Tom Griesel, co-author of TurboCharged: Accelerate Your Fat Burning Metabolism, Get Lean Fast and leave Diet and Exercise Rules in the Dust.
Diet and lifestyle related studies continue to show that not only are these conditions avoidable in most cases, they are also reversible when the underlying causes are removed. Our modern world of processed foods, ready-to-eat meals and fast-food restaurants may be convenient, but they are not harmless. Research shows that people following a whole food, mostly plant-based diets have much lower risk of these conditions than those eating any version of the standard American diet.
Drugs for treating these conditions are not the answer. They may provide relief in some cases but do not cure. Yet, spending on retail pharmaceuticals is increasing at one of the fastest rates overall across all disease conditions.
Griesel adds, “Once we change our mindset that these conditions cannot be avoided or reversed, we are free to expand our understanding of what is possible and how we can achieve optimal health through our own personal diet and lifestyle choices.”