Tips to Stay Well – To Your Health Article by Lori Stambaugh, RN BSN, Community Health Educator

Taking care of yourself has never been more important. Chronic diseases such as heart diseasecancer, and diabetes are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States, and make you more vulnerable to other health concerns. Taking action by partnering with your primary care physician on staying well is about feeling healthier now—to defend yourself against disease and illness in the future. With flu season and worries of COVID-19, now is the time to be in the best health you can be!

Top 5 Things You Can Do Today to Stay Well

  1. Eat Healthy

Eating healthfully and choosing alcohol in moderation (1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men) helps you get all the essential nutrients, boosts your energy, and can help you to prevent disease.

Poor nutrition can increase your risk of obesity, heart disease and cancer among other things. Studies have shown that only 10% of children and adults eat the recommended daily amount of vegetables. More than 90% of Americans eat more sodium than is recommended and 50% of Americans will be considered obese by 2030 if we stay on the track we are on now.

  1. Don’t Smoke

Smoking is the leading causes of preventable death. It increases your risk of serious health problems, including heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, lung disease and premature death. Over 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking. There are over 480,000 deaths caused by smoking annually and smokers’ lives are reduced by 10 years compared to nonsmokers.

  1. Exercise Regularly

Everyone benefits from exercise, regardless of age or physical ability. Your goal should be to exercise at least 150 minutes per week. You should also do strength training two days per week. Exercise keeps you healthier by fighting disease, controlling weight, improving mood, boosting energy and helping you sleep better.

  1. See Your Doctor Regularly

The consistency of having a primary care provider who knows you, your potential health risks, and your family medical history will help you stay well. A family medical history is a record of health information about your close relatives. Knowing your family health history is an important way to protect your health. A complete record includes information from three generations of relatives.

Health screenings allow your healthcare provider to detect a specific disease or condition early, even when there have been no symptoms or signs of the disease. When a health problem is detected early, you can get the right treatment at the right time, and it gives you better control over your health.  Ask your healthcare provider which of these screenings may be right for you, based on your personal health history, age, sex, and genetics:

  • Certain types of cancer
  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis or weak bones
  • STDs
  • Mental health conditions, like depression
  1. Get Enough Sleep

Sleep affects your mental and physical health. Sleeping less than seven hours per day can increase your risk of developing the chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and frequent mental distress. Sleep deprivation is common and afflicts almost a quarter of the U.S. population.

Fortunately, you can take charge of your health to keep yourself well. By making healthy choices, you can reduce your risk of chronic disease and improve your quality of life. Have a discussion with your healthcare provider about what you can do to stay well. At Henry County Medical Center, we have a chronic disease management program that offers FREE screenings and one-on-one nurse consultations to help you fight your chronic diseases. For more information about the Chronic Disease Management program, call Tina Umstead, Community Health Specialist at 731-644-8215.