There are many business people out there who have or are heading for heart disease, or may already have had a heart attack. It is always interesting for me, when talking to the business community about heart disease because everyone has a story about ‘so-and-so’ who just had a heart attack or just had bypass surgery, or just had 3 stents put in at Waikato Hospital. I get the feeling it is quite normal to have heart disease and/or know someone who’s had a heart attack. What gets me up on my soap box though is this…heart disease, surgeries to intervene against heart disease and the medications that are prescribed to people with the condition cost this country tens of millions of dollars every year. This is part of the unsustainability of the current health funding approach. We cannot continue to fund illness. We cannot continue to fund bypass surgery for every person who is about to have a heart attack or has had one and we’re trying to delay the next. We need to fund prevention. We need to fund lifestyle and education programmes (nutrition & activity) that prevent these things from happening in the first place. I can already hear the critics saying “yea but…” There is always a ‘but’ however it cannot be argued that we will be unable to fund health like we currently are, with our ageing population that is set to increase significantly over the next 40 years. Something has got to give and it’s likely to be people’s overworked hearts, and the taxpayers pocket. It costs on average $25,000 for a coronary artery bypass surgery in this country. Up to 1000 people have bypass surgery every year and that number is not looking like changing anytime soon. Coronary angioplasty is the other big heart intervention surgery at an average cost of $10,000 each for approximately 14,000 people a year.
Are you a business person in your 40s or older, concerned about your economic future (ability to earn a living), and concerned about New Zealand’s future economic position? Get your heart checked and become, in a small way, part of the solution. Even if you think you are fit and healthy and lead a fairly good lifestyle, if you are in business and under a certain amount of stress than you are a prime heart disease candidate. It costs significantly less to fund preventative measures against heart disease and heart attacks than to fund a person once they have it. Preventative medicine is the way of the future. We must fund wellness not illness. As with a good business we must be proactive, not reactive.