Category Archives: Health and Wellness

Everyone Needs a Coach

I strongly believe that everyone needs a coach; someone who instructs, trains and directs you to achieve a specific goal. Coaches can come in many forms such as parents, athletic coaches, financial advisers, health coaches or spiritual leaders.
I can’t deny the enormous benefits I’ve received from having several coaches in my life. As an entrepreneur, our business coach has helped us navigate the ups and downs of business ownership. Our pastor, who is our spiritual coach teaches, encourages and guides us along our faith walk. As a Chiropractic Physician, I coach my patients along their health journey; not only helping them through their pain crisis, but also providing them with the tools they need to express optimal health.

Recently I decided to utilize the services of another coach, but first, here’s why. About 12 years ago I completed my first race; the Disney Marathon (26.2 miles). I literally went from couch to marathon with very little training. To make a long story short, I ran most of the race in excruciating pain.  (Notice the huge “ice pack” bulge on my right knee in the picture below.) The recovery was also long and brutal. After I foolishly signed up for and completed a half marathon (13.1) the next year, I made the decision that I didn’t like running. In fact, I stopped running completely.

disney-mara-2005-collage

Fast forward to 2012, three years after relocating to a new area, I decided to give running another shot. I joined two running clubs as a way to stay active and meet new people. Starting slowly with low mileage seemed to be a better fit for me. I eventually ran my first 5K. Since then, I’ve run a variety of races including 7 half marathons. Although over the years I’ve grown to enjoy running, one prevailing thought remained; I had no desire to ever run a marathon again…even after watching many of my friends train for and run their first marathon.

At the beginning of this year, however, I started thinking about the possibility of attempting the marathon distance again (long story). The thought persisted and I gradually convinced myself to take on the challenge. I registered for the Disney Marathon again…why Disney?… I have something to prove :-).  Plus I hope to replace the negative memories associated with my painful  first race with  more positive ones.

coaching2

Having had success with coaches in other areas of my life, I knew that if I wanted to also succeed at training and completing a marathon, I needed a coach. I sought the services of Coach Tia from Training In Action. The experience so far has been nothing short of amazing. I’ve been running consistently under her guidance and direction since July. I decided that during this process, I was going to be coach-able. Although I understand the anatomy, bio-mechanics and physiology of the body, I also understood that I needed to rely on her experience and expertise regarding running (and boy! is she an experienced expert having run several marathons and over 100 half marathons!!). I decided beforehand that I was going to follow her recommendations and stick to the plan.

She’s challenged my perspective on what I thought I could or couldn’t do… It turns out, I could do ‘it’ . So far, I’ve met or exceeded most of the goals that she’s set for me and have been injury free throughout the process. In fact, I’ve run my fastest 3 miler, 5 miler and half marathon…ever.  Although I still have about a month before completing this marathon, I’m becoming more excited and confident with each passing week. Having the right coach does that for you. All of a sudden something that once seemed difficult or unattainable, now seems possible and within reach.

Coaches are experts in their field. They have a wealth of experience and knowledge; and more importantly, they desire to help you to succeed. Set your goal and get a coach to help you achieve it.

  • Be coach-able
  • Follow the plan
  • Be flexible and open to change

If you’re already living your dream, become a mentor to someone and coach them through to accomplishing their goal.

In what area have you utilized the services of a coach? What was your experience?

When are you at your best?

I love the beginning of the New Year. Despite my short lived post Christmas blues, the new year typically brings about a renewed sense of purpose and passion. For me, it’s a time to reflect on the goals and plans made last year and evaluate whether or not they were accomplished. More important than the progress made is the process involved.

For example, one of my goals last year was to take our business to the next level. Although we experienced record growth (progress), the process involved left me extremely fatigue and weary. As the demand for my time increased, I began sacrificing more and more of my personal “me” time. Soon I was depleted. The result was a stress-induced health scare which set me back a few months.

give best.be best

With the stress of running a business, caring for children and meeting everyday demands, it was sometimes easy to give so much more than I received. But this experience is a constant reminder that in order to GIVE my best, I have to BE my best.

I am my best when:

  • I spend time in prayer and devotion
  • I run with my running group weekly/exercise
  • I eat relatively clean
  • I get biweekly alone time (to get a massage/pedi-mani/ shopping/ bookstore etc.)

When I am CONSISTENTLY my best, I able to be a better employer, wife, mother, sister and friend. No doubt it takes commitment and hard work to achieve goals, but as you make plans and set goals this year, please remember that it’s important to always invest in yourself first. Invest the time needed to make sure that you are functioning at your best. It’s just not worth the sacrifice to your spiritual, physical, emotional or mental well being.

  1. Have you ever put yourself last in order to achieve your goals?
  2. How do you invest in yourself? When are you at your best?

Hello February!

I can’t believe that January has already come and gone. It’s as if I blinked and February showed up… So I have no choice but to embrace my 2nd busiest month of the year. Although February is the shortest month of the year, for me and my family it is jam-packed with events and activities culminating with my hubby’s birthday on March 2… Hello February!

Yesterday we celebrated my son’s 4th birthday with a very small and simple Spider-man themed party. I thought about a super bowl theme because it was Super Bowl Sunday, but he WAS NOT having it.

josiah superman

Anyway, on Wednesday, I will be turning 40… then there’s Ragnar...which will be my biggest race so far. By the way, If your on FaceBook, please “like” our HeartandSole Ragnar team page where you can follow our progress throughout the 2-day, 200-mile adventure…and while you’re there, also follow Defining Hope please :)

And who can forget Valentines day (full with school parties and all). The family will also be going on a brief weekend trip for V-day. The following weekend, I’ll be running the Gasparilla Classic 15K, then there’s my daughter’s birthday…which also happens to be my 2nd year blogging anniversary, followed by my husband’s birthday the next day. Whew!!

You see, I had big dreams for celebrating my Big 4-0 and Blogaversary on the blog, but it’s not gonna happen…at least not the way I originally planned.

Instead, I’ve decided to celebrate my big 4-0 by kicking off my birthday with a 40 Days of Wellness theme that will incorporate both my business and my blog.

40daywellness

Over the next 40 days (during my regular Mon/Thurs posting schedule), you can expect specific wellness posts focused on Defining Health, Defining Happiness and Defining Hope (which is kinda the theme of my blog anyway :) ) except there will be a few giveaways and a couple of surprises…and by surprises, I mean…I haven’t thought of it yet.

I hope you’ll join me for my short, sweet and spicy February Celebration.

Stay Tuned…

  • What is your busiest month of the year?
  • Do you have family members whose birthdays are very close to yours?

 

Stinky morning breath…WHY?

When I first started blogging, I posted 3 times a week. My favorite posts for a while were my “Winning Words Wednesday”, kind of a spin off from Wordless Wednesday except most of the Wordless Wednesdays post I read was all but wordless. I decided to chose a positive, word or phrase to help bring hope and encouragement to my readers…thus the birth of Winning Words Wednesday. There were some Wednesdays when my winning words were all about my kids and how they were winning in my eyes, but the majority were general posts.

I actually miss doing the series and wanted to resurrect it, but I no longer post on Wednesdays and I prefer my Monday/Thursday schedule.  I can’t think of a catchy title to change it to a Thursday post ;).  I also had an idea for “Ask WHY Wednesdays” based on questions, mainly about health that I’ve been asked or wondered about. But again,  Wednesday is my issue…So having said that, I decided to just drop the “Wednesday” and post anyway…alternating between Winning Words and Asking Why based on how I feel :)

So today, I’m jumping right into my first “WHY” because my baby boy asked…

morning-breath

After a night of sleeping, snoring and sucking his thumb, my 3 yo hugged me and said he was ready for breakfast. When he spoke, I got a waft of an unusually “salty” breath. Instinctively, I flinched and immediately respond “Oh baby boy, lets go brush your teeth.”  He knew what the deal was because he said “Mommy does something smell stinky?” I said yes. Then he asked ….

The Question: “Why does my breath smell stinky when I wake up?”

The Answer: Because there is a lot of bacteria in your mouth. The flow of spit (saliva) helps to wash away some of the bacteria. But at night, however, when you sleep, there is less saliva flowing. This creates a dry environment that leads to the growth and spread of oral bacteria. Oral bacteria is smelly, thus the stinky morning breath.

Of course, the obvious solution is proper oral hygiene. You know… brushing teeth and tongue and flossing twice a day. Mouth wash, gum or mints can also get saliva flowing to help freshen breath.

I won’t ask if you have morning breath :) But I’d like to know how do you tell someone that their breath smells stinky?

 

From Wogging to Jogging

On my last post I mentioned that one of my goals was to run my best and my fastest at Ragnar next month by maintaining the 11 min/mile required for our team. I realize that for some folks, an 11min/mile isn’t that fast. But for me that pace is achievable only for a 3 miles or less, but anything longer than that is a “kick butt”  pace for me. iRUN collage

Somewhat recently (about 9 months ago), I set a goal  to become a faster runner. Of course, the word “faster” is relative. When I began training for my first and last marathon (26.2 miles) 10 years ago, the goal was to get moving. Speed was never an important factor for me. So I took it slow… and by slow I mean molasses slow…like a turtle in peanut butter slow.. you get my drift. Slow got me across the finish line in 6hrs 28min and I was happy with that.

Two years ago when I started running again consistently (after giving it up for nearly 8 years), “slow” was still ingrained in my running DNA. I enjoyed running wogging (jogging so slow I might have well be walking) 5 miles at a 13+ pace. I could laugh and talk and not get too winded. In the end I burned a few hundred calories, broke a nice sweat and felt accomplished.

It wasn’t until about 9 months ago after signing up for Ragnar Key West  (200 mile overnight relay race) that I realized my kind of slow was not going to cut it. The team is required to have an overall 11 minute pace. I was in trouble! So I enlisted the help of a running coach and signed up for several races to keep me motivated. The coach, in addition to giving me a running plan, monitored my progress weekly and made modifications and suggestions as needed.Two of the most important lessons he taught me was 1. Run Faster 2: Don’t take walk breaks just because you’re tired. That was foreign to me. Why would I want to run faster and ruin my fun? Being tired seemed like the perfect reason for a walk break. My coach advised that brief walk breaks should be predetermined…such as for water stations. Ok, I get it… I think.

Anyway, once I began applying those two principles, running changed for me. The conversations and laughter pretty much was exchanged for regular  breathlessness and side stitches. Leisure runs became the exception, not the norm. Running was no longer as fun for me, but it became so much more rewarding. My 13+ pace for longer miles is now a low 11 and sub 10 when I push. It wasn’t easy, but I’m excited with the progress I’ve made from “wogging” to actually jogging :) Hopefully next stop: Running…fast!

So I’m excited that next month I’ll have an opportunity to put all my training to the test when I complete my 3 legs (about 16 miles total) running with an overall 11 minute/mile pace.

This year I want to maintain a sub 11 running pace, diversify my workouts by adding more strength training (which I’ve recently fallen in love <3 with BODYPUMP) and fun classes like spinning and Zumba.

Ragnar was my motivation for achieving a faster running pace. It was a constant physical reminder of the goal I wanted to achieve.

  • What’s your motivator for achieving your goal? It doesn’t have to be fitness related…
  • Are you a wogger, a jogger or a runner?

New Year, New goals.

Every new year many of us are inspired to make resolutions and set new goals. I stopped making “New Years Resolutions” several years ago, but each year I’m inspired to set new goals and work on plans to achieve them. This year I’ve decided to set 12 clear and distinct goals…one for each month. Having a goal for each month will help me remain focused on my specific plans to achieve each goal…although there are some goals that may require several months to accomplish and/or maintain. Not only have I made personal goals, we’ve set a few goals that involves the entire family. In this post, I’ve decided to share some of my personal and family goals as they relate to health and fitness.

JanuaryWeight Loss. Although I’m within my “healthy weight range” for my height, I can stand to lose some weight…20 lbs will put me at the lower range. I haven’t done much or focused my efforts to lose weight. But last year with the help of Joi and her weight loss challenge, I lost 10 lbs. in 90 days (with minimal to no effort). I didn’t follow the plan (for good reasons) so I didn’t even realize that I had lost 10 lbs in the 90-day time frame until I received an email. So I imagine if I put some real effort in, I can lose 10 more in 30 days… by January 31. So far, I’m down 2 3.5  :)

FebruaryRagnar. If you’ve been following this blog, you might be aware that I’m a part of a 12 member Ragnar team  “Heart and Sole” who will be running relay style from Miami to Key West. Yep. That’s about 200 miles. My goal is to “kick butt” and run my best and fastest while staying within the required 11 min/mile. I’m scheduled to run on a gravel road, canal path, run in the heat of the day (1pm-ish) and in the early morning (4am-ish). Our T-shirt was designed by one of our super talented team mates.

BGR Ragnar KEYs

And oh yeah, I’ll be celebrate turning the big 40 all month-long :)

MarchGluten Free. My family decided to go on a 3 month gluten-free diet beginning January 1st. March will conclude our 3 month goal so that we can evaluate the effects of a gluten-free diet on our overall health. It hasn’t been that easy because wheat is found in so many things, but we’re on track. Personally, I think it’s contributing to my weight loss so far.

AprilFamily 5K. We’ve decided to participate in more out-door activities as a family. Which means spending more time at the park, riding our bikes, playing sports and running together. Over the next several months, we’ll be working on building up endurance so that our soon to be 4 and 7-year-old children can participate in a 5K race along with me and my husband. Last year the kids got a taste of racing when they participated in the Gasparilla  Junior Classic kids fun race. They’ve been asking to run with me, so they’ll have plenty of opportunities to do just that. I’m super stoked about this one.

SAMSUNG

SAMSUNG

May – November is chucked full of those small, bite-sized goals with multiple check points along the way to make sure I’m on track to reaching them. Most of these goals are personal goals relating to spiritual, marital, business and financial matters. Maybe in the future I’ll share some as they are accomplished.

DecemberRun a marathon (26.2 miles). Wait! Before you get excited for me, this is NOT my goal. Been there. Done that. One and done! But I have to include this because my beloved husband has decided to run his first marathon. Whoot Whoot! It’s been a goal of his since I completed my first marathon 10 years ago. He supported me and saw the time and effort that I put in and said he wanted to do one too. I think after seeing how much pain I was in afterwards, he backed off.lol. But after I completed the Space Coast Half Marathon in December and bragged about what an awesome course and experience it was, he decided that he’d train to run the Space Coast Full Marathon in December.

These are some my/our health and fitness goals for this year. I made several small goals, wrote them down, developed a plan to accomplish each, have checkpoints along the way and once they’ve been accomplished I’ll either maintain or set new goals.

  • Do you make and keep resolutions?
  • What are your health and fitness goals?
  • Do you have a plan to accomplish them?

 

Got cold? Get solution…

Although we are well into the cold and flu season, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people, every where I go, big and small complaining of the same symptoms as I’ve seen in the last few weeks.There seems to be a violent respiratory infection that’s been going around. It starts out with a fever, congestion and a cough that lasts weeks after the fever is gone. Last week the bug finally made it’s way to our home. Suddenly, nothing was more important than my baby’s health.

Around this time last year,  both my children had a fever. We generally try to feed them foods with immune building properties, but this year we upped the ante as soon as the weather became slightly cooler in September. I made sure that they were eating a healthy variety of fruits and vegetables, I was supplementing their diet with an appropriate children’s multivitamin, emphasizing constant hand washing and encouraging them to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth. Also, at the first sign of illness, I gave them an immune protocol introduced by my kids pediatrician when they were babies.

cartoon cough cold

So last week when my 3 year old son woke up with a fever, I quickly transitioned from my prevention plan to my treatment plan. His teachers warned us that everyone in his class had a fever/cough and that our son was the only one that did not get it. We were hopeful that he wouldn’t get sick, but were also thankful that his immune system was able to withstand 15 other children with the same infection… even with him being a chronic thumb sucker.

On the first day of his fever, I initiated the following protocol. (There are specific recommended doses based on age)

  • Vitamin A – While vitamin A is shown to keep skin and mucous membrane healthy, it is also helpful in building immune function
  • Vitamin C – Research shows that taking Vitamin C will not prevent catching a cold, but it may be helpful in high doses to shorten the duration of a cold. It is also an important antioxidant that is used to maintain of bones, muscle, and blood vessels. It also assists in the formation of collagen and helps the body absorb iron.
  • Zinc –  Shown to shorten the symptoms of an upper respiratory infection for the first few days. This mineral may work by preventing the formation of proteins needed by a cold virus to reproduce
  • Echinacea– Also shown to reduce the length and severity of colds by 10-30% by activating chemicals in the body that decrease inflammation

There are tons of other herbs and supplement that can be given to help boost immune function such as garlic, ginger, honey and lemon, but this list, as stated earlier, is based on recommendation from my children’s pediatrician.

Watching our normally vibrant and rambunctious child become sleepy and lethargic was heart breaking, to say the least. Although we were familiar with the anticipated course of this particular virus, it didn’t make us feel any less sorry for our poor little guy. Because there’s no cure for a cold, we monitored his fever, reducing it if it got too high or if he was uncomfortable, kept him comfortable and hydrated as it ran its course.

I’m thankful that he’s back to his normal energetic self. Other than his residual throat tickle and cough, you wouldn’t even know he was sick’

Here’s to a fever free, cough free and sick free Thanksgiving.

  • Did the crazy cough and fever infection make it to your home yet?

 

The best sleep position.

I get about 5-10 email, text or Facebook  messages a month from family or close friends requesting information or tips about relieving back pain. One recent message inspired this post. People with low back and neck pain often complain that their pain is worse at night  robbing them of a restful night sleep or they generally wake up stiff and sore. Today, I’m sharing the three main sleeping positions and tips to help reduce back pain.

1. Align your spine: Of the three positions, side sleeping is the most common, especially with the knees slightly bent. While this position is considered “good” because it compliments the natural posture of the spine, it can also be very uncomfortable if you suffer from low back, hip or knee pain. It may, in addition, contribute to neck and shoulder discomfort, facial wrinkles and sagging breast tissue (who knew :) ). There are a few adjustments that can be made to help reduce or alleviate pain.

side sleep positionThe adjustment: Place a pillow between your knees to reduce stress and pressure on your hips and lower back. Also it’s important to use the correct pillow that properly supports your head and neck, allowing your head to remain in a neutral position (not too high, not too low). Sorry, no adjustments for wrinkles or sagging.

**High blood pressure? Try sleeping on the left side. Prone to kidney stones on one side? side-sleep on the opposite side.

I grew up sleeping on my stomach. It just always felt like a more secure and comfortable position to sleep in. As a child, I remember having terrible nightmares every time I slept on my back. It wasn’t until I was in my mid twenties that I made the switch to back sleeping and it wasn’t an easy task. Today, I am physically unable to sleep on my stomach because it’s so uncomfortable for me.

2. Flat on your back: So like a lot of people, I became a back sleeper. Sleeping flat on your back is also a good position for maintaining spinal alignment. It minimizes the risk of neck and low back pain if properly supported. But if you’re a snorer, this position can make snoring much worse (not good for your partner 😉 ). It may also induce episodes of sleep apnea (a life-threatening sleep disorder that causes brief episodes of breathlessness) and back pain for those who already have those conditions.

back sleep position

The adjustment: Placing a pillow or rolled up towel under your knees may facilitate the natural spinal curvature and alleviate low back pain. To reduce snoring, try to avoid this position.

3. Squeeze and strain: You guessed it! Stomach sleeping is actually not recommended at all. Sorry guys. This position causes the most strain to your back and neck. Your head is turned to one side, most likely propped up on a pillow and in a hyper-flexed position. This puts pressure on the nerves in your neck and arms often causing pins and needles. Your body weight also compresses (squeezes) your breast tissue and increases facial wrinkles.

The adjustment: Find a different position :) If not, Get rid of the neck pillow all together and exchange it for a body pillow. Try slightly raising the whole side of your body on the pillow for support.

So what’s the best sleep position? Aside from stomach sleeping, it depends on your condition and your goal for preventing or reducing pain. The best sleep position is the one that allows you to have a restful night’s sleep without compromising your health. Of course, your mattress also plays an important role…but that’s another post.

And for good measure, pictured below is my daughter at 6 month old demonstrating the “Combination” position. Please do not try this at home :)

baby raim stomach side sleep

  •  In what position do you sleep?
  • Do you modify your position using any of the “adjustments”?
  • Are you a “combination” sleeper?

A Day in the Life: My One (Wo)Man Show

YoureInvitedtoaBlogPartyAgain-RxFitnessLady_zps550097b7Welcome to day 4 of the 7 Days Mini Blog Challenge hosted by Joi from Rx Fitness Lady. If you’re just joining, please check out Day 1 Confession, Day 2 Controversy, Day 3 Humorous. I’ve actually really enjoyed reading other post and the comments on my post. I love how everyone is creeped out by the picture in Day 1 post. I can’t wait to respond to each and every one of you. This week has been crazy, but I’ll get it done :)

Today’s writing prompt is Throwback Thursday “Ten Years” or A Day in the Life.

I’ve decided to combine the two. Recently, I posted a throwback picture of me and my husband (friend at the time) graduating from Chiropractic School on my business Facebook page. It made me think about how chaotic things were when I opened my first practice in Miami, FL many moons ago.

Hope and Art garduation

So today, not only do you get a throwback, you get a day in the life – throwback.

6:00AM: Wake up (have devotion, go to the gym, head to the office)

Get to the office, perform opening procedures because I don’t have an assistant and I have to get the office ready.

8:00: First patient arrives (happens to be a new patient), sees me sitting at the front desk

I welcome the patient and provide paperwork. While they’re filling out the intake form, I answer a few phone calls, enter info into computer and attempt to verify insurance from the day before.

Patient hands me the completed paperwork, I walk patient back to exam room, put on my lab coat and officially greets the patient ( as if she didn’t just see me sitting at the front desk). **Crickets**

Patient: Oh, so you’re the doctor too? Me: (shame) Yes Ma’am, I’m in the process of hiring an assistant so if you know someone… Patient: I need a job.

Me: (thinking, Lord help!) Well, I have a few prospects, so if it doesn’t work out I’ll let you know…

I perform history, exam… while doing the exam, I excuse myself to attend to an unscheduled “walk-in” patient. (I know when the door opens from the door chime I had installed). Ask patient to have a seat, I’ll be with them shortly.

Goes back, completes exam, x-ray, therapy and give recommendations. Walks patient to the front, collects money. Patient: You’re wearing Auulll the hats huh? Me: (reschedules patient) Have a good one.

Welcomes “walk-in” and other returning patients (by now there are about 4 patients in the office), I go from room to room providing treatment, answering questions, answering the phone, collecting money, scheduling follow-up visits.

12:00PM FINALLY! The office closes for lunch: I complete progress notes, start initial reports, verify insurances, submit insurance charges (billing), return important phone calls, develop x-rays, do x-ray analysis and diagnosis.

1:30 leave to get a quick bite, pass out some business cards and brochures (depending on the day, I’d conduct a few interviews for an assistant or attend a chamber of commerce event, meet with local churches, attorney’s office or lunch meeting trying to make connections)

3:00 Evening shift begins. A repeat of the morning shift. Continue seeing patients and juggling it all.

6:00 Sees the last patient, make reminder phone calls (finish up notes, empty trash, clean office including bathroom)

7:30PM: heads home to eat (or to church if it’s Wednesday Night, or choir rehearsal if it’s Friday Night)

Surprisingly, the one man show didn’t seem to deter patients from coming back and referring their friends and family. Of course it didn’t hurt that my church was right across the street and many of the members supported my business.

Looking back makes me so grateful for where I am today. Although we’ve since relocated and essentially started over; it’s such a blessing to be able to share the responsibilities with my husband and our 4 staff members.

  • Did you ever have a one man show?
  • How many “hats” are you wearing?

The high price of health: paying more does not mean getting more

YoureInvitedtoaBlogPartyAgain-RxFitnessLady_zps550097b7We’re on day 2 of the 7 Day Mini Blog Challenge hosted by Joi of RxFitnessLady. If you missed yesterday’s post, please click to check out my CONFESSION. Today’s prompt is to write a controversial post. I’m gonna touch on the topic of the astronomically high price of health care. (I’ll keep it simple…Promise 😉 )

Most of us would agree that we need health care reform in this country. The controversy comes in as to how we go about achieving it.  As a health care provider, I’m already beginning to feel the effects of the health reform.  The cost of health care is way too high, the “for-profit” private insurance companies are putting profits before health, and there is entirely too much waste spending. All of this (in addition to other things) is costing the U.S. a price tag of $2.7 trillion in health care spending…almost $800 billion of that is total waste.

  • According to the U.S Census 49.9 million Americans are uninsured.
  • Approximately 48,000 unnecessary deaths that occurs each year is linked to lack of health insurance.
  • US spending on health care is the highest in the world, yet we are one of the sickest country and rank at the bottom in terms of our overall health (life expectancy, infant mortality and preventable diseases).

We pay more for almost every medical interaction, yet we are not necessarily getting better care than other wealthy industrialized countries. The chart below is an example of the disparities in price for the same procedures in other countries. (Source: 2012 Comparative Price Report by the International Federation of Health Plans.) comparative medical prices As it turns out, we are notorious for our hundred thousand dollar drug costs and our impeccable end of life and crisis care, however, it seems a significant factor in our $2.7 trillion health care bill may not be the use of extraordinary services after all, but the high price tag of ordinary ones.

American insurance companies, unlike other industrialized nations, are allowed to operate at a profit for providing basic care. Our dependency on these for-profit private insurance companies have also contributed to the rising cost of health care. They are at the core of our healthcare crisis and why a need for reform is so important. Many of these insurance companies routinely deny coverage and refuse to pay for larger claims in order to increase their profits. Believe me, I know. I’ve seen first hand the “deny and delay” tactics of insurance companies. While insurance rates continue to skyrocket, the CEO’s of these large insurance companies pocket billions of dollars in profits. (Take a look at the profits for the first 6 months of last year.)

health-insurance-profits-2012Private health insurance companies would rather pass the higher costs to patients in the form of higher premiums than to ask providers/hospitals/pharmaceutical companies to contain their costs. Of course, you can’t talk about healthcare spending without addressing wasteful spending that throws away over $765 billion a year.

IOM-Health-Care-Waste-Pie-Chart-circled Let’s face it, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that there are many things terribly wrong with our current health care system. It’s unfortunate that at the end of the day, we, the consumers/tax payers are the ones holding the short end of the stick. My solution; cut the wasteful spending, limit the amount of profits that insurance companies can make on certain medical procedures and decrease the price of those procedures. How we do this remains a controversy. (This post is a-political. I’m not taking any political sides. I can just hope and pray that the Affordable Care Act is indeed affordable.)

Tomorrow’s prompt is to write a humorous post. I think we’ll need it after today’s controversies :)

  • What’s your solution for healthcare reform?
  • Are you a rocket scientist :) ?