A keen observer and thinker, Pareto found that more than 80% of Italy’s arable land is under the control of only 20% of its Citizens. This 80:20 split, uncannily, finds echo across domains and is probably best exemplified in healthcare. If we take active charge of 20% of diseases, 80% of the world’s healthcare burden and humongous expenditure could be saved. To be precise, 87% of the world’s morbidity is controlled by hardly 5 chronic diseases.
Since 1600s, the basic premise of healthcare is getting treated for the disease by parting with our hard earned money, opportunity costs and time. Instead, why don’t we analyze risk factors, the associated illnesses and then vigorously mitigate those risk factors? This highly efficient preventive paradigm hasn’t evolved so far in healthcare, unlike many other domains.
We are in charge of our finances, our automobiles, our jobs, our children; but don’t have a clue of probably the most important theme, our health, that would impact everything else when you are down and on your way out. Preventive Mindset as an overarching theme across myriad Health Care operations, personnel, policies, and organizations would turn the current healthcare inefficiencies on their head.
For instance, look at the entirely avoidable and overwhelming “CHRONIC DISEASE” burden in the USA:
- 133 million Americans (1 in 2 adults) live with at least one chronic PREVENTABLE illness (Heart disease, Cancer, Stroke etc)
- More than 75% of the total health care costs are due to chronic PREVENTABLE conditions.
- 7 out of 10 deaths each year in the US are due to Chronic PREVENTABLE diseases (Heart disease, Cancer, Stroke – top three causes)
Now take a look at the power of active prevention mode, in just one case of heart disease:
- 4 out of 5 heart attacks can be prevented.
- Low-risk diet and alcohol in moderation can prevent 35% of Heart attacks.
- Combine even more behaviors and the risk of Heart attack reduces by a whopping 86% –
- No smoking,
- Walk or Cycle for more than 40 minutes a day,
- Exercise for more than 1 hour each week,
- Waist circumference less than 37.4 inches.
However, only 1% of men in the U.S. population keeps this kind of heart-healthy regime. Even if this fraction goes up by a few basis points, the savings run into Billions.
Its fairly easy to track and prevent these, only if you know what to track, how to track and when to track. This website profiles some of the most common preventable conditions and helps you in taking charge of your health with a firm preventative outlook.
Ref: Low-Risk Diet and Lifestyle Habits in the Primary Prevention of Myocardial Infarction in Men: A Population-Based Prospective Cohort Study. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2014;64(13):1299-1306.