THE COST OF HEALTH
for your health
Good health is a savvy investment
CHARLIE ARCHAMBAULT, U. S. NE WS & WORLD REPOR T
By Philip Moeller
IF YOU HAVE some money to
invest, I would like you to seri-
ously consider setting aside a
wellness fund. Consisting of
$5,000 to $10,000, this well-
ness fund would be used to
support a health-club mem-
bership, improve your diet and
pay for what you need to develop and maintain a
Just as with financial investments, there are
no sure things. But if you invest in a healthier you,
odds are that you will save enormous amounts of
money in future healthcare expenses.
Healthcare is the largest uncontrollable
expense you likely will face over the rest of your
life. The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)
regularly looks at the retirement landscape. It said
in a 2009 study that a couple turning 65 that
year and retiring “will need about $250,000
in savings to cover what is not covered by
Medicare.” Those are averages, based on typical
life spans of people turning 65: 81 years for men
and 84 for women. But by definition, half of the
people will live longer, and many will live well
into their 90s.
FORTY-SIX YEARS AGO, a joint
resolution of Congress officially
requested the president to annually proclaim the month of
February as American Heart
Month in recognition of the
nationwide problem of heart and
blood vessel diseases, and in
support of all essential programs
required to solve the problem.
Heart disease remains the
leading cause of death in the
United States. According to the
American Heart Association, in
2009 an estimated 785,000 people had a new coronary attack,
and about 470,000 suffered a
recurrent attack. About every
25 seconds an American has a
coronary attack, causing death
for about one per minute.
Philip Moeller is a contributing editor to U.S.
News & World Report, where he writes “The
Best Life,” a column about aging and retirement.
Getting (multi) physical
IT’S A FACT that people running small businesses,
who are under exorbitant pressure, often do not take
the time to take proper care of themselves.
“It is this demographic that can benefit the most
from a multidisciplinary physical [as opposed to a
routine physical] that takes their lifestyles, habits
and family history, plus variables such as abdomi-nal-girth-to-hip ratio and body-mass index, into
consideration,” says Dr. Grace Keenan, founder and
director of Nova Medical Group (
medgroup.com), located in northern Virginia.
“The key to catching any
health problems is having the
physical in the first place, but a
primary-care physician may not
be able to check everything in
one place,” says Keenan, a
Costco member. “A routine
physical is more often looking
for a few key higher risk conditions,” she continues. “With a
detailed physical, the focus is on
whole health and looking for
patterns in illness or symptoms,
for prevention of future illness.
The physician is still looking for
those high-risk conditions in a
Heart attack warning signs
❑ Chest discomfort. A heart
attack often begins with discomfort in the center of the chest
that lasts for several minutes or
might be intermittent, going
away and coming back. The sensation has been described as
uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
❑ Upper-body pain. Symptoms
frequently include mild to
intense pain spreading to one
or both arms, the back, neck,
jaw or stomach.
❑ Shortness of breath.
Breathing may seem difficult, regardless of the presence of pain.
❑ Other symptoms.
Light-headedness, fainting, nausea,
vomiting, cold sweat, anxiety,
paleness and increased or irregular heart rate may be intermittently present.
Speed in response is vital.
If you notice chest discomfort
and one or more other signs,
seek emergency help immediately by calling 911.
detailed physical, but they are also able to identify
the small, unnoticed health issues that could later
become a larger issue.”
A detailed physical examination includes a rest-
ing electrocardiogram, medical-history review and
analysis of lab results. It should include a detailed
nutritional assessment with a registered dietitian,
including a procedure known as a resting metabolic
rate. This should be followed by a stress-management
evaluation with a cognitive behavioral therapist.
While the idea of integrative medicine in general is still new to the healthcare scene, more practices are
adding package options such
as these, says Keenan. “Many
hospital systems have offered
corporate wellness packages
and resorts have had medical
stays, but the idea of customizing the program and adding an integrative aspect is
your odds.”—T. Foster Jones
Says Keenan, “You can’t
buy a guarantee on living a
longer, better life, but there are
steps you can take to better
FEBRUARY 2010 ;e Costco Connection 49
For more information, go to
Home defibrillators are
available on Costco.com. ;