Why does it seem like our financial status influences how long we live? How are these old-timers still playing golf so happily?

From our previous articles, we have seen how our Genetics and Home Pollutants have a direct effect on our healthspan, the part of our lives where we are considered in good health. But there are external factors that contribute to our healthspan as well. One of those is our financial stability.

Let’s talk plainly here. The better our financial situation the more likely we are to live longer and healthier lives. The reason for this is twofold:

Access to healthcare:

This refers to the availability, affordability, and quality of medical services. Limited access to healthcare can result in delayed or inadequate treatment for illnesses and chronic conditions, leading to poorer health outcomes and shorter lifespans. Lack of preventative care and screenings can also contribute to undiagnosed or unmanaged health conditions.

Socioeconomic status:

People with a higher social and economic positions (including factors such as income, education, neighbourhood and occupation) are generally associated with better access to healthcare, healthier living conditions, and resources for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It is this access - or lack of - that can significantly influence health and longevity.

Because not everyone is in the same social and economic position let’s chat about decisions that everyone can make in their personal lives to ensure that we all have the same opportunities to live a healthy life for longer. Just prioritise these 3 key areas:

Timely and preventative care

I understand that life is busy and your health can often take a back seat to your immediate priorities. I also understand that sometimes you don’t want to know if something is wrong. Or it seems like you are tempting fate to check. This is all normal behaviour. However, and this is a big HOWEVER, the single best action you can take is to do regular health screenings. Especially for the most common ailments and diseases. So don’t delay. Book that blood test or that pap smear. Ensure your vaccines are up to date. Do not let that worrisome skin mole bother you for another minute. Not only will you beat most diseases through early detection, but you will also have peace of mind simply by knowing where you stand and what needs to be done.

Health education and awareness

Access to healthcare often comes with health education and awareness initiatives.
We live in the information age so we all need to ensure we are informed about the best healthy lifestyle choices, disease prevention, and self-care practices. This knowledge empowers them to make informed decisions about their health and adopt healthier behaviours. And the great news is that this Information about healthy eating, exercise routines and stress management are so much more easily accessible to all of us than it used to be thanks to the internet. Take the time to level up on self-care because once you know what you want it is easier to achieve it.

Emergency care and interventions

South Africa is a beautiful and life-affirming place filled with incredible hope and opportunity. It also has some dangers. Access to emergency care facilities is crucial for timely response to acute medical emergencies or accidents. Understand the location and availability of emergency services in your area, including hospitals, urgent care centres, or helplines. Knowing how to access emergency care promptly and efficiently can make a significant difference in critical situations. This means that you have to be proactive and aware at all times. Always have a plan for emergency situations. Sit down and work on scenarios with your family so your decisions are quick and easy in the moment.

Making the right choices to prioritise your health and your well-being does not have to be so closely linked to your financial position. So choose life. Choose to be proactive. And always remember: Health IS Wealth.

This is the fifth post in our series on Longevity. Over the coming weeks, we will dive into what living a life with a longer healthspan means to you. We will look at factors in our everyday lives that impact our longevity and small (and big) changes we can incorporate into our lives to lengthen our healthspan. Look out for our emails and blog posts so you can start the journey to a life well lived.

Next up: Getting from A to Zzzzzzzzzzz!

June 30, 2023