And You Thought This Was A GFC! Welcome to a Global Health Crisis.
In approximately 20 years from now, the financial consequences of chronic diseases could reach $47 trillion!
Let me repeat that number for dramatic effect – $47 trillion! It is a staggering figure.
By comparison, the estimated cost of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan currently causing outrage is a mere $3.2 – 4 trillion. Small change!
A recent study released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) provided the alarming news of the global economic impact of the five leading chronic diseases – cancer, diabetes, mental illness, heart disease and respiratory disease.
All are diseases that are linked to diet, tobacco, alcohol, and exercise.
Factors that we can control.
Mental health will itself account for $16 trillion – a third of the $47 trillion anticipated cost.
That’s a lot of prescriptions.
These non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are expected to reach epidemic levels so that the world-wide number of deaths could reach 52 million a year.
“This is not a health issue, this is an economic issue – it touches on all sectors of society”, Eva Jane Llopis, WEF’s head of chronic disease and wellness has stated.
It is deemed an economic issue because it means that globally we are losing people in their most productive years.
So in a one-two punch, these NCDs cause premature death that slows the global economy while also bankrupting health systems.
We quite literally cannot afford to take our health for granted.
WEFs executive chairman Klaus Schwab has stated “Think of what could be achieved if these resources were productively invested in an area like education”.
An Integrative Approach
It is possible therefore to extrapolate from these remarkable forecasts that the traditional Western medicine approach does not have all the answers for managing health.
To be fair to the Western approach, it has traditionally had the difficult task of trying to remedy the impact of poor health choices and practices.
Most prescription medications are aimed at mere symptom relief.
It can really be a case of shutting the gate after the horse has bolted.
In 2009, the Evidence-based Guide to Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), published by the American College of Physicians, concluded that combining scientific medicine with CAM strategies is “a more effective as well as compassionate approach to healthcare”.
This is clearly no longer the time for arguments about which approach is better than the other. Rather, the focus needs to be on how these health paradigms can work together to improve health.
It is astounding how many people still do not value their health. We have all either heard or made the excuses that we’re time poor, not financially able, are attending to our family’s needs or are lacking in motivation or knowledge.
Excuses yes but not justifications for ignoring our own health.
At the risk of beating a well-worn drum, health is more than just being free of an illness. We hear the term “wellness” used a lot in Integrative Medicine circles and can dismiss it as a vague concept.
Wellness is however, our insurance against debilitating chronic diseases and even premature death.
The Concept of Wellness
It does not have to be inevitable that as we age we deteriorate. In fact, by being actively engaged in a Wellness program we can do much to extend our healthspan.
The Wellness Curve is a good illustration of the potential difference between those committed to their health versus those who are not.
If you continue along the path of poor dietary choices, little exercise, excessive stress and damaging excesses (ie tobacco and alcohol), you can see how quickly the average life curve declines over the decades.
It is likely then that you will spend much of your middle age to retirement age experiencing health issues.
The Wellness Curve indicates the difference between merely living from living in health. While not necessarily a guarantee of longevity, the practice of Wellness can improve your quality of life.
Embracing the idea of Wellness does require commitment as the onus is on YOU! This is no quick fix solution – It is no longer enough to pop a pill or be sporadic in your intentions.
While you cannot abdicate responsibility for your health, the good news is that there are plenty of resources available to assist you in being well.
The motivation is certainly there – do you really want to be part of the $47 trillion problem?
Wellness as a Preventative Treatment
Our current health model does not admittedly make it easy for us to prioritise our health.
To date, the cost of Integrative Medicine consultations and remedies are often borne by ourselves and are therefore largely dependant upon our disposable income.
So if we make the investment, we understandably want professional and accurate information and achievable health recommendations.
As the forecasts indicate however, we can no longer regard our investment in health as a luxury.
There are a number of tools that can point you in the direction of Wellness and fend off the 5 chronic diseases.
The Wellness Pyramid
This is a good creed to live by as it advocates balance – dietary, exercise and even regarding supplements. While it may appear very simplistic, these general guidelines can be the very foundation for good health.
An exciting development in health care is the emergence of Genetic Testing.
Where once it was used to determine the odds for developing chronic or debilitating conditions, Genetic testing can now provide our unique health prescription.
Awareness of your DNA blueprint can enable a more efficient approach to health. Genetic testing can identify those specific nutrients that will profoundly improve your health.
To find out more about Emed Genetic Testing click here
Quality Naturopathic and Integrative Medicine advice may not always be easily accessible.
Factors such as time, finances and even location can be the difference between quality health advice and treatment and battling away on our own.
Emed has created the E-Consults as a way to promote health on a wide scale. These consultations are affordable and can be arranged at a time that suits you.
Furthermore, you are communicating directly with a qualified Integrative Medicine Practitioner so will be receiving reliable, ethical and professional advice.
To find out more about Emed E-Consults, click here.
Practitioner Only supplements
It can be a difficult task trying to identify which supplements will provide the best health outcome.
It is understandable to also be suspicious of health advice given when sales targets are the goal rather than your specific health needs.
Unlike pharmacies and warehouses, Emed recommends products to you based on your health rather than on what is gathering dust on the shelves.
You also have access to the wide range of Practitioner Only products.