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Healthy Lifestyle

Many factors affect your health. Some you cannot control, such as your genetic makeup or your age. Others, like lifestyle changes, can be very beneficial to your health. By taking steps toward healthy living, you can help reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and other serious disease.

Healthy Habits

  • Get the screening test you need
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat a variety of health foods – limit calories and saturated fats
  • Be physically active
  • Control you blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Don’t smoke
  • Protect yourself from too much sun
  • Drink alcohol in moderation – or not at all
  • Get enough sleep every day
  • Get recommended vaccinations

Screenings are test that look for diseases before you have symptoms. They can find diseases early, when it’s easier to treat. You can get some screenings in your doctor’s office. Some conditions that doctors commonly screen include:

  • Breast cancer and cervical cancer in women
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Osteoporosis
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Prostate cancer in men

Which test you need depends on age, gender, family history, and whether you have risk factors for certain diseases.

What you eat is closely linked to your health. Balanced nutrition has many benefits. By making healthier food choices, you can prevent or treat some conditions. A healthy diet can help you lose weight and lower your cholesterol.

Many Americans are overweight. Carrying too much weight increases your risk over several health conditions, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Some cancers
  • Gall bladder disease

Sun exposure is linked to skin cancer. This is the most common type of cancer in the United States. It is important to limit your time in the sun. Be sure to wear protective clothing and hats when you are in the sun, especially if you work outside for your job. Use sunscreen year-around on exposed skin, like your face and hands – don’t forget your ears, which may not get covered by a hat. It protects your skin and helps prevent skin cancer. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that block both UVA and UVB rays. It should be at least an SPF 15. Do not sunbathe or use tanning beds

Exercise can help prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and colon cancer. It can help treat depression, osteoporosis, and high blood pressure. People who exercise also get injured less often. Routine exercise can make you feel better and keep your weight under control. Try to be active for 30 to 60 minutes about 5 times a week. Remember, any amount of exercise is better than none. Being overweight also can lead to weight-related injuries. A common problem is arthritis in the weight-bearing joints, such as your spine, hips, and knees. There are several things you can try to help you lose weight and keep it off, including nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle changes. Talk with your doctor about eating habits that are best for you. 

Alcohol abuse contributes to deaths from car wreaks, murders, and suicides. Too much alcohol can damage your liver. It can cause some cancers, such as throat, liver, or pancreas cancer. Men should have no more than 2 drinks a day. Women should have no more the 1 drink a day. One drink is equal to 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor.

Safe sex is good for your emotional and physical health. The safest form of sex is between 2 people who only have sex with each other. Use protection to prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Condoms are the most effective form of prevention . Talk to your doctor if you need to be tested for STDs.

Smoking and tobacco use are harmful habits. They cause heart disease and mouth, throat, and lung cancer. They also are leading factors of emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The sooner you quit, the better your health. Speak with you doctor about ways to help you quit and smoking cessation medications. 


Source: MedlinePlus.gov


Links to various resources on the topics discuss on this page. 

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