Tips for Staying Healthy
It is hard to name just one “most important thing” that a person can do to maintain his or her health. That’s because staying healthy requires changes or upkeep in several aspects of one’s life. It involves not having unhealthy habits, eating a well-balanced diet, and getting regular sleep and exercise. In addition, it is also just as important to receive regular preventive care from one’s primary care physician.
Unhealthy habits include smoking, excessive alcohol use, or drug use. Smoking causes about 440,000 deaths per year in just the United States alone. Causes of death from smoking include emphysema, heart disease and malignancies.
No more than two alcoholic drinks per day for a man and no more than one alcoholic drink per day for a woman are recommended. Too much alcohol can damage a person’s liver and contribute to some cancers.
Many Americans are overweight. Obesity increases the risks of diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Obesity can also increase pain in a person’s back, hips and knees. Therefore it is extremely important that people stick to eating a high-ﬁber, low-fat and low-carbohydrate diet.
To get ﬁt and stay healthy, people ideally should try to exercise four to six times per week, for 30 minutes to 60 minutes at a time. However, people should always remember that any amount of exercise is better than not exercising at all.
Finally, people should make sure that they are up to date with all of their routine exams and with their preventive exams. Examples include colonoscopies, which should start at age 50 for men and women. Mammograms are recommended to begin at age 40 for women and should be repeated yearly. Every woman should also self-examine her breasts each month. If a woman is not sure how to do that, her physician will show her.
Bone density tests should start for most women at age 50 and then be repeated every two years. Annual Pap smears should be done on all women above age 21. If a young lady becomes sexually active before age 21, then Pap exams should start sooner. Women older than age 65 should talk with their physician about the need for Pap smears.
Staying healthy requires changes or upkeep in several aspects of one’s life.
It is not easy staying healthy in our world—with so much stress and so many temptations. But try hard and dedicate some time to yourself. You will feel better and will be able to be a better father, mother, son, daughter or caregiver. And—lastly— you are worth it!
D.O., is a family medicine
physician in the Cape Coral oﬀice of Physicians’ Primary Care
of Southwest Florida, 1255 Viscaya Parkway. Call 239-574-1988 or visit online