Take Control of Your Finances by Taking Control of Your Health

High Blood Pressure

 

I am 30 years old and I was diagnosed with high blood pressure (hypertension) at the age of 29.

 

I was beyond shocked shock when I was diagnosed. I thought I was too young to develop a chronic medical condition.

 

I thought I was healthy. I thought I was eating healthy. I thought I was active and physically fit. I have never been overweight – my BMI is 21.

 

Yet, I still developed hypertension.

 

Related Post: I am a Millennial, and I have High Blood Pressure.

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Fortunately, I discovered it early, went to see my doctor and started medicine to control it. Now, with changes made to my diet and lifestyle, I am hoping to discontinue my medicine (with the direction of my doctor) by the end of this year.

 

Truthfully, this past year has been a major wake up call in terms of taking control of my health and living a healthy lifestyle.

 

I am an experienced cardiac nurse. I have been a nurse for almost 6 years. I see on a daily basis what can happen if you don’t take care of your health. I take care of people who have had heart attacks (myocardial infarctions), strokes, heart failure, diabetes, kidney failure, COPD and much more. And, my patients are getting younger and younger. I am taking care of people with THESE conditions in their 30s, 40s and 50s.

 

These aren’t diseases of the “old” anymore.

 

Healthy finances and a healthy lifestyle should go hand in hand.

 

A healthy lifestyle saves you sick days and extra trips to the doctor and hospital.

A healthy lifestyle will pay off in dividends in the long run. If you eat healthy, stay active and work out regularly, odds are that you won’t get sick as often. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain essential vitamins and minerals that help boost your immune system so it can better fight off viruses and bacterial infections.

Eating healthy and exercising can also help reduce your risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. As a result, you’ll save big money on preventing sick days and avoiding extra doctor visits, hospitalizations and prescription medications. Throw in skyrocketing healthcare costs, you should be doing everything you can to keep your body, mind and soul happy and healthy.

Several studies conducted over the past 20 years have shown that plant-based and Mediterranean diets increase both longevity and health, allowing you to work longer (if you wish), save more money, and hopefully spend less on healthcare, allowing you to live a healthier, more enjoyable retirement.

 

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It’s so important to see your primary care doctor annually (sometimes bi-annually). 

The yearly check up with your doctor can be helpful in preventing and detecting illness and diseases. Certain diseases like high blood pressure can be diagnosed early and managed more effectively when diagnosed early enough.

 

Healthy finances = Less stress. 

If you have a strong financial sense and stick to a budget, you’re going to be less stressed about money overall than someone who doesn’t. Stress can be a killer. Excessive stress has been linked to several medical conditions like obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, depression, gastrointestinal problems, and asthma.

Quit unhealthy habits.

Vices like alcohol and cigarettes really add up, especially over the long-term. Limiting your alcohol intake (or eliminating it completely) can save you a lot of money, especially when you’re used to paying $10 for a drink at the bar. The same holds true for the heavily taxed cigarettes. Imagine what you could do with all the money you could save by giving up these unhealthy, unnecessary habits. In addition, your body and health will thank you.

Cigarettes cause lung disease such as COPD, strokes, coronary artery disease, and cancer. Smoking is linked to not only lung cancer, but bladder, kidney, leukemia, cervical, colorectal, stomach, esophageal, liver and pancreatic cancers. All leading to over 480,000 deaths per year in the U.S. alone.

Excessive alcohol can lead to malnutrition, chronic pancreatitis, alcoholic liver disease, and cancer. In addition, damage to the central and peripheral nervous systems can occur from chronic alcohol abuse.

Healthier foods keep you fuller and more satisfied.

By eating foods high in fiber, you will curb hunger and avoid spending money on snacks and junk food to satisfy hunger in-between meals. Fiber is a powerful nutrient that fills you up and provides a number of benefits for both your digestive and cardiovascular systems, including controlling blood sugar, cholesterol and preventing constipation. Fiber is not found in heavily processed foods. Eating fiber-rich foods, such as beans, broccoli, peas and whole grains, is a simple way to improve your health, control hunger and stop spending money on unnecessary, unhealthy snacks.

 

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Open a FSA or HSA.

 Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and Health Savings Accounts (HSA) are great savings vehicles offered by employers to use pre-tax dollars to manage the costs of healthcare. You put money into these accounts pre-tax, so you are also reducing your income tax bill. You are then able to use your savings to pay for various tax-deductible medical expenses as they occur throughout the year.

You can contribute up to $2,550 (per year) to a FSA, but depending on your employer, there’s only a $500 carryover to next year (usually a use it or lose it). With a HSA, the limits have been raised to $3,400 for single coverage and $6,750 for family coverage, and any unused funds are yours to keep and rollover year after year. 

I think HSAs are the best option of the two. HSAs are only available in conjuction with high-deductible insurance plans. For 2017, a single deductible needs to be at least $1,300 and a family deductible needs to be at least $2,600. 

 

Preparing dinners at home and taking lunch to work is good for your wallet (and your waistline).

Not only are home-cooked meals cheaper than take-out or eating out a restuarant, but they are usually healthier. Meals cooked at home usually have fewer calories, less fat, less sugar and less processed ingredients overall.

In addition, preparing and taking lunch and snacks to work is a healthy and cost-effective strategy as well. I usually end up taking breakfast, lunch and snacks to work since I work 12-hr shifts. Otherwise, I end up buying unhealthy snacks like muffins from the little coffee shop.

 

Some Employers and Insurance companies will pay you to eat healthy.

These companies are giving discounts on food you should be eating anyway. Harvard Pilgrim is rewarding workers for buying healthier food (up to $20 a month). Blue Cross Blue Shield is offering discounts at Jenny Craig weight-loss centers. Humana is giving its members a 10% discount on healthy groceries purchased at Wal-Mart.

 

Healthy finances open up new options for better quality food. 

Incorporating all the steps above will leave you with extra money in your bank account. This extra money could be used to upgrade your groceries to more fresh and organic fruits, vegetables, and fish, which is healthier and better tasting overall.

Disclaimer:
You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or healthcare provider. If you have any specific questions about any medical conditions, you should consult your doctor or professional healthcare provider.
If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, please seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.
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About The Author

Lara

Lara is a registered nurse, living near Denver, Colorado. She has a passion for personal finance and strives to find financial security and independence while integrating minimalism and green living.

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