According to Statistics Canada, heart disease and stroke are the #2 and #3 leading causes of death for Canadians.
Every seven minutes, a Canadian will die from some form of cardio vascular complications and at an amazing cost to tax payers. The most recent figure I could find in my research was from 2000 and at that time it had a price tag of $22.2 Billion.
The cost of Canadian Healthcare is coming out of the pockets of Canadian taxpayers. It is a huge burden on our strained healthcare system and there is something that can be done about it.
Prevention is always the best medicine of which there is an amazing amount of research and resources available. This usually focuses on exercise and diet however, Statistics Canada reports that in 2004, 41% of Canadians are overweight and 29% over 18 years old are obese.
The treatment of cardiovascular disease is where the huge cost and risk factors come into play. For most Canadians, treatment is reactive medicine based on symptoms that have presented themselves in some way. Interestingly, the term “Silent Killer Disease” is coined around cardio vascular disease and sadly for many, the treatment comes too late.
WHAT WE ARE MISSING
Early diagnosis! The last time you went for a check up at your doctors office, did your doctor perform an A.B.I. exam (ankle:Brachial index)? I am guessing that that you have never heard of it if you live in Canada, while in other countries, it is an expectation at every physical exam. This is a very simple blood pressure taken at the four extremities of the body (ankles and brachial (upper arms)) that compares the reading and gives you a score that will identify any form of ischemia (restriction in blood flow). This exam can be performed with equipment that most doctor’s offices already own (Sphygmomanometer, exam table and a doppler) but due to reimbursements, is still very uncommon.
Early diagnosis means treatments are likely to be less invasive, less risk and faster recovery, all of which affect the total cost to Canadian Healthcare.
Next time you are at your doctor for a physical, ask if they know how to do an ABI exam. It could save your life.