You know the story: Somebody's 99-year-old aunt never exercised, smoked her whole life, and lived on a diet of red meat and ice cream. So why bother with healthy living, right?
"For every one person who lives a long life of unhealthy choices, there are countless others who die prematurely because of them," says Robert Schreiber, MD. He's a doctor at Hebrew SeniorLife, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School.
No one is guaranteed a healthy life. But following certain guidelines -- namely, eating...
Long-term maintenance of heart disease is also expensive. The costs include:
Indirect costs. The largest indirect costs are lost productivity and income, though many people may be able to return to work a few months after having a heart attack.
Protecting Yourself From the Medical Costs of Heart Disease
Here's what you can do to protect yourself and your family from the financial costs of heart disease:
Look into cheaper medication. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if there are generic substitutes that might work as well but cost less. Many drug companies also offer assistance programs that will get you discounted medication.
Check your health insurance policy. "The most important thing you can do to protect yourself is make sure that you have adequate health insurance," says cardiologist Paul A. Heidenreich, MD, associate professor of medicine at Stanford University. Learn exactly what your policy covers.
Consider disability insurance. If you're healthy now, getting disability insurance could be a smart idea. It will replace some of your lost income if you ever become disabled by heart disease or another condition and can't work.
If you've already had a heart attack or heart disease diagnosis, getting disability insurance will be more difficult and cost more. Some policies could still be available but they might exclude any health problems related to heart disease.