HealthPoints

Technology & Heart Health: Is being connected killing you?

We are in the concluding days of the month of February, designated as Heart Health Month. See Curus Healthpoints from Feb., 2018.Our knowledgeable cardiologists have told us to be more active; to maintain a healthy weight; to eat a healthy diet; to manage our high blood pressure; to manage our high cholesterol. We've also been told to manage our stress. In an article in Everyday Health author Mikel Theobold tells us, "Stress causes strain on the heart which creates a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.” Jeffrey Fisher, M.D., a cardiologist and clinical professor of medicine at the Weill Cornell Medical College and attending physician at New York – Presbyterian Hospital, recommends exercise for people experiencing mild to moderate stress. Fisher states when people start to exercise and feel the endorphins, they start to feel better both physically and mentally. Exercise has also been shown to reduce the risk of death after a heart attack. The article goes on to state, "In addition to exercise, a spiritual practice or meditation can help you keep stress in check. A study presented at an American Heart Association conference found that people with heart disease who meditated had nearly 50% less rates of stroke, heart attack and death compared to those who didn't meditate."

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One of the key stressors today is that we live in a profoundly connected world that expects us to be available 24/7/365. The pace of our communications moves at warp speed. The pressure to make immediate decisions about weighty matters has been geometrically increased by the spontaneity of the communications process. In the past there was time for thought, evaluation and then reaction. Today, it appears to be just the opposite; we react, then we evaluate, and then we rethink. We need to continue to evaluate the impact this phenomenon is having on our heart health. We see highly-skilled physicians in the prime of their careers walking away because of the stresses. They are but one example of a category of professionals for whom the constant accessibility and availability creates significant mental pressures that take their toll on our physical well-being. 

 

business man relaxing and use tablet computer at beautiful tropical beach

We tell our colleagues and our employees we want them to take vacations so that they can have quality time for themselves and their families. Yet, we fully expect them to continue to be "connected" through all of the devices we have provided them. We are very proud of the fact that work has become a mobile experience. We can provide our skills and talents almost anywhere that Wi-Fi is available. The detriment is that Wi-Fi is almost universally available which increases our accessibility. This translates into availability and results in deterioration of our health as we are always available. The fact is we have what could be described as an addiction to check our emails and texts on our smart phones without hesitation. If we are not constantly checking we experience the withdrawal syndrome as with any other addiction.

 

This constant pressure to be available weighs on us mentally and physically. It denies us both peace of mind and quiet time to recharge, reevaluate and review. I have watched people in prayer yet pulling out their smart phones to check messages. I've watched businesspeople out for a day of relaxation on the golf course delaying a shot so they can run over to their golf carts as they left their phone's ringer on.

 

Businessman stressed out at work in casual officeThe reality is if we want to significantly improve our heart health we need to establish a life balance that insulates us from the constant pressures associated with always being present. We need to tune out those "missed business opportunities" by creating time and space for quality-of-life experiences that are not part of our business life or the world of social media.

 

There is "extraordinary freedom through discipline." When you first think about it, you would define freedom as the lack of constraints; yet the reality is, it is the reverse. If you decide for your heart health that you are not going to be always available, you have taken the first step of declaring your freedom and peace of mind by determining you are not going to be always attached to your electronic communications devices.

 

As Heart Health Month comes to a close you can renew your commitment to a healthy heart through all of the recommended ideas of exercise, a healthy diet and weight control. We should further add freeing ourselves from the stresses of our accessibility through technology to our heart health regimen.

 

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Filed Under: Health Management, work-life balance, mental status affects health

Health vs Wealth: What do we value?

 

I have always been intrigued when presenting to group of educated healthcare consumers how much they know about the state of their economic wealth and how little they know about the state of their health care. On occasion I have asked the question, “Do you know your credit score?” I usually receive almost 100% affirmative answers. The follow-up question, “What do you know about your health records?” usually gets a series of questioning looks. Most of us know very little about the contents of our health records or their accuracy.

Conclusion health wealthWhen I talk with sophisticated business men and women the discussion often centers around this disparity. They are very knowledgeable on matters of finance, yet they employ a Wealth Manager to manage and preserve their hard earned resources. However, when you move the discussion to healthcare, their knowledge base about the nuances of care and making appropriate professional and clinical choices is much more limited. In spite of this, few, if any, have empowered someone to navigate or advise them on issues of their health. The likely response is, “My doctor (usually an internist acting as the Primary Care Physician) is my health manager!”

This is like saying your stockbroker is your Wealth Manager. That may have been true 30 years ago, but today wealth management has become a very sophisticated and nuanced business that takes into account age, socio-demographics, risk tolerance and a multitude of other factors in developing an investment portfolio that has both short-term and long-term considerations.

 8 minutes

Your doctor usually has allotted 8-minutes to spend with you before prescribing tests and prescriptions. A study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine indicates that less than 40% of primary care physicians inquire about the patient's problems, presumably relying on the notes at intake or in the chart from previous visits. The study further indicates only 10% of specialists engage the patient about their problems.

 

The average time before a doctor interrupts when you are communicating with them is approximately 11 seconds. 
A physician's time is too limited to be able to listen completely for the answer before initiating treatment. This leaves very little time for your doctor to listen, acquire information, diagnose and treat you.  In those same 8-minutes, a stockbroker only has to complete a transaction. That’s why wealth managers have proliferated and taken on increasingly important roles in the preservation wealth.

 


“If I have a wealth manager handling my wealth why don’t I have a health manager handling my health?” 

Health is Wealth sign with clouds and sky background

The most plausible answer is -  most people don’t think about their health in the same way they think about their wealth. We tend to wait for an emergency or crises to handle issues of healthcare.  Then in these stressful moments, we suddenly have to make the most critical decisions we will face.

This is where health managers of all our advisors and consultants show their true worth. In these circumstances, if we have been forward thinking, just like with our money, we will have our medical records in one place easily accessible and advisors who can tell us who are the most qualified physicians and health institutions to assure the best possible outcomes.  Just as our wealth managers have all of the information and data points to make urgent decisions, so too will our health managers if they have all of our medical records and risk scores. 

 

Let Curus tell you your risk score!Risk scoring is an evaluative process that allows a health manager to predict the likelihood their client will experience an unexpected health event based on the individual's unique data composite.

 

 

We at Curus established our business with the tagline, Because health is the greatest wealth there is.”

We have adhered to this concept as a part of our mission and purpose for those that we serve. We believe that the discerning healthcare consumer should have a health manager at their side to handle both the complicated and the mundane. The health manager, whether it be Curus or another qualified provider of these services, is an essential partner to sustaining the quality of life and enjoyment that can be realized utilizing the very resources that have been preserved and enhanced by our wealth managers.

 

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