Staying Healthy in Tough Times
Try these cheap ways to boost health in a bad economy.
Tempted to save money by skipping medications?
Don't. Talk to your doctor before you make any change in your medication
regimen. A 2009 survey found that almost 7% of brand-name prescriptions ordered
by doctors went unfilled in the last quarter of 2008. More than 4% of generic
drug prescriptions were never filled.
People are especially likely to stop taking medications for symptom-less
conditions, such as high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, or type 2
diabetes. Yet these are the very conditions which, uncontrolled, can be
debilitating and even deadly. Between one-third and two-thirds of
hospitalizations are blamed on the failure to take medicine as directed,
including not filling prescriptions. If you’re struggling to pay for your
- Talk to your doctor. Cheaper drugs may be available. "Or you may be
able to try a non-drug approach, such as changing your diet to bring your blood
pressure down,” says Stanford University preventive health expert Wes Alles,
- Ask your pharmacist or your local health department about
prescription drug assistance programs for low-income people.
- Check out on-line resources and low-cost prescription drug programs,
including NeedyMeds at www.needymeds.org,
RxAssist at www.rxassist.org,
and Partnership for Prescription Assistance at www.pparx.org.
Feeling stressed out by financial woes?
Recognize the symptoms of stress, which include sleeplessness, irritability,
and anxiety. Then find a way to let off steam. Proven stress busters include
meditation, breathing exercises, and progressive relaxation techniques.
If you're too stressed out to sit still, be active. Many studies show that
exercise is an effective way to relieve stress. Another option: watch a funny
movie. Research conducted by Lee Berk, PhD, a psychologist at Loma Linda
University in California, shows that laughing out loud lowers stress hormone
levels and boosts the immune system.
"We jokingly call it 'laughercise' because the benefits are so much like
exercise," he says.