February is Heart Month
The month of February is best known for Valentine’s Day and Presidents Day, but more importantly, it’s American Heart Month. I think that, more appropriately, it should be labeled American Cardiovascular Month, which would then take into account not only heart attacks but also strokes, both of which are major cardiovascular events.
The risks of developing a heart attack prematurely (or a stroke, for that matter) are well known. They are divided into modifiable and non-modifiable risks.
Modifiable risks include smoking, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity and lack of physical activity.
Non-modifiable risks include your age, gender and genetic makeup (blame this one on your parents…).
The important thing is to identify your cardiovascular risks, and then do whatever is necessary to minimize or eliminate your risks.
You can get a risk estimate by using one of the many risk calculators available on the internet. Here are two examples:
- A very simple risk calculator, takes into account very few risk factors, but will give you the general idea, at http://cvdrisk.nhlbi.nih.gov/
- A more inclusive calculator, at http://www.cvriskcalculator.com/
Want to better identify your cardiovascular risks? We can help (I’ve only been doing it for 35 years…). Don’t hesitate to call.
High deductibles are frequently used in order to decrease the medical insurance premium. A recent study of patients with high deductibles was conducted at the University of Southern California. The study found that high-deductible patients spend less on medical care, and are perhaps denying themselves of some medical care in order to decrease spending.
From our own experience, we have seen that patients with high deductibles often try to “bundle” their care into a single year, in which they would meet their deductible, and have the insurance pay for the remainder.
If you have a high deductible, I urge you to not deny yourself medical care; it would be false economy to do so, and may affect your health. At our practice, we try to keep your out of pocket cost at a minimum, even if you have a high deductible, or have no insurance at all.
Keep safe on your snowy walks, and in bad weather walk the mall.
Igal Staw, PhD, MD