According to the CDC, in 2016 as many as 60 percent of Americans had a chronic disease or condition (most of which are preventable). Yet, the CDC found that only 8 percent of adults 35 and older received all of their recommended preventative medical care despite the fact that chronic conditions are the leading cause of poor health, disability, and death in the U.S.
We all seem to be aware of the relatively easy preventative measures available, and yet we don’t always make time for them not to mention the other things we may not even know about that could keep us healthy. Check out these five preventative measures you can take to stay healthy:
1) Get Regular Check-Ups
According to the CDC, getting a regular check-up helps you stay healthy by finding problems before they start. Following your doctor’s guidelines for your individual needs for treatments, screenings, and other health care services will help you increase your chances of “living a longer and healthier life.” The CDC recommends asking your doctor when it is time for you to receive the following recommended screenings:
· Breast and cervical cancer screenings
· Prostate cancer screenings
· Colorectal cancer screenings
· Cholesterol and blood-pressure checks
· HIV screenings
· Skin cancer screenings
· Oral health screenings
· Immunization schedules
2) Get Your Hearing Checked
According to the Mayo Clinic, the majority of health care providers recommend starting to get regular hearing tests at age 50, and then following up as recommended due to the fact that age-related hearing loss is a concern for older adults. If you’ve been frequently exposed to loud noises, you may need more frequent hearing care.
Getting a hearing test by an audiologist can detect ear infections, hearing loss, wax buildup, and issues in the eardrum or ear canal. After a routine hearing test, you can find out if you might benefit from treatment options for tinnitus, getting fitted for hearing aids, or whether you should start using headphones.
3) Get Plenty of Exercise
According to the CDC, physical activity prevents chronic conditions, improves mental function, improves mental health, and can prevent high blood pressure and stroke. They estimate that getting enough physical activity has the potential to prevent as many as one in ten premature deaths.
The CDC, recommends that adults get 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic exercise (such as riding a bike) and muscle-strengthening exercise at least 2 days a week. Admittedly, it can be difficult to get this amount of exercise in every week, but the CDC notes that some physical activity is better than none (so, don’t give up!).
Tip: instead of driving everywhere, consider utilizing services like those offered by bike sharing stations in Weehawken, NJ. This way you’ll get all the awesome health benefits of riding a bike while helping the environment through the next generation of bike share technology.
4) Be Aware of Your Diet
In a “diet culture” world, it can be easy to get carried away when thinking about your diet (especially if you’re trying to lose weight); however, this common pitfall tends to lead to more unhealthy habits and weight gain. According to the CDC, “fad diets” are often unhealthy due to limiting nutritional intake and generally they fail anyway. Instead of falling into this trap, they recommend lifestyle changes that you can stick to for eating healthier and balancing calories for weight management.
Generally, the recommendation is to make changes based on the Choose My Plate system from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which focuses on limiting sodium, added sugars, and fat in your diet while adding fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains. Again, little changes make a way bigger difference than no changes at all.
5) Be Aware of Your Body and Mind
Staying healthy isn’t always as simple as eating right and exercising, you also need to be aware of what your “normal” is to prevent future health problems. For example, certain types of cancer (like breast or skin cancer) are often first detected by a lump in the breast or a change in the skin. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S., according to the National Cancer Institute. To prevent skin cancer, they recommend knowing your risk factors, wearing sunscreen, avoiding excessive sun exposure, avoiding tanning beds and sun lamps, and regularly checking your moles for any changes.
Another thing to always be aware of for staying healthy is your mental health. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five adults in the U.S. experiences mental illness each year, and people with depression are 40 percent more likely to develop cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, and 19.3 percent of adults with a mental illness also reported experiencing issues with substance abuse as of 2018.