Good health habits can help you avoid illness and improve your quality of life. The following steps will help you feel and live better.
- Get regular exercise and control your weight.
- No Smoking.
- DO NOT drink a lot of alcohol and avoid it completely if you have a history of alcoholism.
- Use medications prescribed by your health care provider as instructed.
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet.
- Taking care of teeth.
- Control high blood pressure.
- Follow good security practices.
Exercise is a key factor in staying healthy. Exercise strengthens your bones, heart, and lungs, tones muscles, improves vitality, relieves depression, and helps you sleep better.
Talk to your provider before starting an exercise program if you have health problems like obesity, high blood pressure, or diabetes. This helps ensure that exercise is safe and that you get the most out of it.
Cigarette use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. One in 5 deaths each year is the direct or indirect result of smoking.
Indirect exposure to cigarette smoke can cause lung cancer in people who don’t smoke. Indirect exposure to this smoke is also linked to heart disease.
It’s never too late to quit smoking. Talk to your provider about medications and programs that can help you quit.
Drinking alcohol changes many brain functions. It primarily affects emotions, thinking, and judgment. With continued ingestion of alcohol, motor control is affected, leading to slurred speech, slower reactions, and loss of balance. Having a higher amount of body fat and drinking on an empty stomach speed up the effects of alcohol.
Alcoholism can lead to diseases such as:
- Diseases of the liver and pancreas
- Cancer and other diseases of the esophagus and digestive tract
- myocardial damage
- Brain damage
- DO NOT drink alcohol during pregnancy. Alcohol can seriously harm a fetus and lead to fetal alcohol syndrome .
Parents should talk to their children about the dangerous effects of alcohol. Check with your provider if you or someone close to you has a problem with alcohol. Many people whose lives have been affected by alcohol benefit from joining an alcoholism support group .
DRUG AND MEDICATION CONSUMPTION
Drugs and medications affect people in different ways. Always tell your provider about all drugs you are taking, including over-the-counter drugs and vitamins.
- Drug interactions can be dangerous.
- Older people need to be very careful about interactions when taking many medications.
- All of your health care providers should know about all of the medications you are taking. Take the list with you when you go for checkups and treatments.
- Avoid drinking alcohol while taking medication, as this can cause serious problems. The combination of alcohol and tranquilizers or pain relievers can be deadly.
Pregnant women should not take any drugs or medications without consulting a doctor, including over-the-counter medications. The fetus is most sensitive to drug damage during the first 3 months. Tell your provider if you have been taking any drugs before you became pregnant.
Always take medications as prescribed. Taking any drug in a form other than prescribed or taking too much can cause serious health problems and is considered drug addiction . Abuse and addiction are not just associated with “illicit” drugs.
Legal drugs such as laxatives, pain relievers, nasal sprays, diet pills, and cough medicines can also be misused.
Addiction is defined as continuing to use a substance even though you are experiencing problems related to your use. Simply needing a drug (such as a pain reliever or antidepressant) and taking it as prescribed is not an addiction.
Stress is normal . It can be a great motivator and it works in some cases. However, too much stress can lead to health problems such as insomnia, upset stomach, anxiety, and mood swings.
- Learn to recognize the factors that are most likely to cause stress in your life.
- You may not be able to avoid all stress, but knowing the source can help you feel in control.
- The more control you feel you have over your life, the less damaging stress will be in your life.
Obesity is a serious health concern. Excess body fat can put a strain on your heart, bones, and muscles. It can also increase the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, varicose veins, breast cancer, and gallbladder disease.
Obesity can be caused by eating too much and consuming unhealthy foods. Lack of exercise also plays a role. Family history can also be a risk for some people.
Following a balanced diet is important for good health.
- Choose foods that are low in saturated and trans fats, as well as low in cholesterol.
- Reduce your intake of sugar, salt (sodium), and alcohol.
- Eat more fiber, which can be found in fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grain products, and nuts.
Good dental hygiene can help keep your teeth and gums healthy for a lifetime. It is important for children to acquire good dental habits from an early age. For proper dental hygiene:
- Brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily.
- Use a fluoride toothpaste.
- Get regular dental checkups.
- Limit your sugar intake.
- Use a toothbrush with soft bristles. Replace the toothbrush when the bristles begin to bend.
- Ask your dentist to show you the proper ways to brush and floss.