Sometimes I do several blogs in one day and post them throughout the week. Sometimes I have no idea what I’m going to write about so I have to come up with something “off the cuff”. This is one of those “off the cuff” weeks.
We have several inches of snow on the ground and as inconvenient as it is, I enjoy a couple snows each year. It’s nice to see everything covered in a blanket of white, the snow seems to add sparkle to the drab of winter. If you’ve spent your life in Missouri as I have, you recognize that the snow rarely lasts very long.
This is a health care blog so I’m going to relate the snow to health care. Every year the snow brings with it injuries. I’m guessing the injuries that come to mind are those related to automobile accidents on slick roads or broken bones due to falls on icy sidewalks but the snow brings with it other injuries.
Every year the first significant snow is followed by back strains and heart attacks. Shoveling snow is hard work and the exertion required to scoop snow tends to land several victims a visit to their friendly community hospital.
Back strains and heart attacks can happen to anyone regardless of fitness level but your chances of experiencing either, or both, increases with every pound you’re overweight.
Missouri ranks in the top 10 states for adult obesity and top 5 for tobacco use http://www.statehealthfacts.org/comparemaptable.jsp?typ=2&ind=89&cat=2&sub=26&sortc=1&o=a. Throw in a little snow and unplanned exertion and you’ve got the recipe for disaster.
Missouri hospitals provide over $1 billion in uncompensated care annually and it seems that many of these expenditures might be related to poor lifestyle choices. What’s the cost of weight related uncontrolled diabetes or coronary artery disease treated in the ED to Missouri hospital’s or lung cancer and COPD from tobacco use – The cost is whatever value you place on a life.
It’s a new year and an opportunity for all of us to commit to making better lifestyle choices that will help us be healthier every day and be better prepared to shovel the drive the next time it snows.