- Costs related to heart disease can be tens of thousands of dollars.
- 80% of heart disease is preventable.
- Healthy lifestyle changes, even small ones, can save your clients a lot of money.
Talking to your clients about their personal health can be awkward. But it can be an important conversation given the financial implications of being unhealthy. This is especially true when it comes to heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the U.S. and disproportionately affects people living in the Southeast. The average hospital charge for a heart operation or procedure is $85,000, and a study in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that annual healthcare costs were $5,000 lower annually for people with the most heart-healthy habits.
Regardless of whether you feel it’s your place to discuss health issues with your clients, consider sharing some of these findings. They can help minimize their risk and save on healthcare costs, which can be vital to their long-term financial health.
In addition to saving $5,000 per year in healthcare costs, the World Health Organization estimates reducing heart disease risk factors can prevent about 80% of heart disease. The American Heart Association has identified seven habits, Life’s Simple 7 , that are most influential in preventing heart disease:
- Stop smoking.
- Maintain fasting blood glucose under 100 mg/dL.
- Keep total cholesterol under 200 mg/dL.
- Have blood pressure in the normal range, or 120/80 mmHg or lower.
- Lose weight (a healthy body mass index (BMI) is between 18.5 and 25).
- Spend at least two-and-a-half hours per week getting moderate exercise.
- Clean up your diet.
Some of your clients may be doing well with most of these habits, while others might need improvement. Focusing on even one or two can make a big difference, particularly if it’s diet and exercise, as both of these influence cholesterol levels, blood pressure, blood glucose, and BMI.
The financial implications of heart disease can be significant. To help your clients understand what’s at stake, share our Knowledge Place article on the costs of heart disease and ways to minimize risk, or the Wealth + Health community blog post on what to ask your doctor about heart disease prevention.
Things to Consider:
- Heart disease can be costly; share these costs.
- Encourage your clients to work with their doctors and other health professionals on Life’s Simple 7 habits as a way to reduce healthcare costs.
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