Cutting down the cost of heart disease
MANILA, Philippines – Paying for medical bills is no easy feat.
When dealing with a loved one with heart disease, or being a heart disease patient yourself, the last thing you’d want to do is to sacrifice quality treatment and medicines for low-quality alternatives.
Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide? According to a study by the World Health Organization, coronary heart disease deaths in the Philippines reached 16.86% of the country’s total deaths in 2014.
The inconvenient truth is that heart disease does not discriminate and can affect a person at any age. Family history and genetics play a big role, but other factors are caused by a person’s lifestyle. Some of these include lack of exercise, high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol, alcohol intake, stress and poor diet.
Steep medical costs may be inevitable, but there are modest ways to cope with heart disease that are easy on the mind and easy on the wallet.
Go for payment-free exercises
According to the American Heart Association, people are recommended to have at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity at least 5 times a week, or at least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise thrice a week.
Aerobic exercises include:
- Jumping rope
Stay fit and frugal by exercising in a park or doing workouts at home. With the rise of fitness video bloggers on the Internet, people may now get their workouts free and in the comfort of their home.
While there's no shortage of fitness studios that provide a variety of exercises, only a handful of these places are considered low-priced. So save up and stay fit by simply getting into step inside (or outside) your home!
Prioritize de-stressing activities
Our mental health has a lot to do with what our body manifests physiologically. Allocate a portion of your daily routine to de-stressing activities that let you unwind and enjoy the moment.
Ways to unwind:
- Listen to soothing music
- Read a thought-provoking book
- Immerse in the stress-relieving patterns of adult coloring books
- Keep a journal with positive thoughts
- Practice meditation
Instead of spending too much money on leisurely activities, preoccupy yourself with meditative past times that are good for your mind, body, and soul.
Whatever it is that touches your heart, finding a gentle way to de-stress and stay happy is paramount to your overall well-being.
Eat right with a budget
For someone with heart disease, proper diet is essential. Coupled with a healthy lifestyle, eating nutritious food can potentially slow down or partially reverse further complications, such as the narrowing of the heart's arteries.
A heart-healthy diet means getting a good balance of all the food groups, and staying away from salty and fatty foods.
Top food choices for heart disease:
- Fiber-rich whole grains
- Lean meat
- Skinless poultry and fish
Most healthy ways to cook food:
Opt for fresh food in your local market instead of buying expensive pre-packaged items. Also, be wary of how you make your meals and be creative in cooking them in a healthy way!
Join support groups
Having a community that provides encouragement and emotional help makes hardships more bearable. Join support groups to share your experiences, gain insights, and exchange advice with people going through the same journey.
Local heart disease supports groups:
International heart disease support groups:
- American Heart Association Support Network
- American College of Cardiology
- Women’s Heart Foundation
Opt for high-quality generic medicine
A common misconception is That branded drugs are more effective than generic drugs. This has been disproven by scientific research.
Generally, generic drugs are also more affordable than branded medicine due to less promotion and marketing efforts compared to their innovator brands.
When your budget is tight, don’t hesitate to buy affordable generic drugs, so as long as they are sold from reputable drugstores and are approved by the FDA. For example, a common drug for heart disease, Clopidogrel, is now only priced at Php 19.00 from P19.50. It costs less than a third of the average price of its branded counterparts.
The next time you’re feeling hopeless about coping with the disease, know that there are simple, cost-effective ways to manage it that are healthy for the mind, wallet, and heart. – Rappler.com
 Manzoli, L., Flacco, M.E., Boccia, S. et al. Eur J Epidemiol (2016) 31: 351. doi:10.1007/s10654-015-0104-8 Generic versus brand-name drugs used in cardiovascular diseases. Lamberto Manzoli, et al Arpil 2016 Vol 31, Issue 4 pp 351-368