Healthy Living Starts With Making Healthier Choices Every Day
Drinking more water, going to bed earlier—sometimes, even the smallest efforts we make to live a healthier lifestyle can make the most difference. The Cox Family Practice is here to provide you with practical tips and information to help you and your family live healthier, more rewarding lives.
Do My Habits Really Affect My Health?
Yes, very much. You can prevent many of the major causes of death (stroke, lung disease, cancer, etc.) in part by making healthier decisions about your lifestyle.
Don’t Smoke or Use Tobacco
Smoking and using tobacco can be very dangerous for you. Smoking and tobacco use cause more than 440,000 deaths every year in the United States. Don’t be a statistic. Avoid life-threatening conditions, such as emphysema, mouth, throat, and lung cancer, and heart disease by not using tobacco or quitting if you already smoke.
Beware of Alcohol Consumption
Too much alcohol consumption can lead to addiction and liver damage, and it can contribute to some cancers, such as throat and liver cancer. Alcohol also contributes to deaths from car wrecks and serious crimes.
Eating healthy has many benefits. You can prevent afflictions like heart disease, certain cancers, stroke, diabetes, and damage to your arteries if you choose to watch the things you eat every day. You also lower your cholesterol and lose weight, both of which help you live a longer, fuller life.
Lose Weight If You’re Overweight
If you are overweight, you increase your risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, gallbladder disease, and arthritis in the weight-bearing joints. To lose weight and prevent these health conditions, choose a diet that is high in fiber and low in fat, and combine it with a regular exercise regimen.
Exercise can help you steer clear of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, and depression. It can also help prevent colon cancer, stroke, and back injury.
You’ll feel better and keep your weight under control if you exercise regularly. A goal for exercise should be for 30 to 60 minutes, 4 to 6 times a week, but remember that any amount of exercise is better than none.
Don’t Sunbathe or Use Tanning Booths
Sun exposure is linked to skin cancer, the most common type of cancer in the United States. It’s best to limit sun exposure and wear protective clothing and hats when you are outside.
Sunscreen is also very important. It protects your skin and will help prevent skin cancer. Make sure you use sunscreen on exposed skin (such as your face and hands) year-round. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 and blocks both UVA and UVB light.
Practice Safe Sex
The safest sex is between 2 people who are only having sex with each other, don’t have a sexually transmitted infection (STI), or share needles to inject drugs. For more information on pregnancy prevention, speak with your doctor.
Keep Your Shots Up to Date
Adults need a tetanus-diphtheria (Td) booster every 10 years. Your doctor may substitute 1 Td booster with TDAP, which also protects you against pertussis (whooping cough). If you are pregnant and have not had a TDAP shot before, you should be vaccinated during the third trimester of your pregnancy or late in the second trimester.
Adults and teens who are in close contact with babies younger than 12 months and who have not yet received a TDAP shot should get vaccinated as well. Adults should also get a flu vaccine each year. Ask your doctor if you need other shots or vaccines, such as the pneumonia vaccine.
Make Time for Breast Health
Breast cancer is one of the most common causes of death for women. Women between the ages of 50 and 74 should have a mammogram every 2 years to screen for breast cancer.
Women who have risk factors for breast cancer, such as a family history of breast cancer, may need to have mammograms more often or start having them sooner. Speak with your doctor about a mammography plan for you based on your age and family/medical history.
Get Regular Pap Smears
Unless your doctor suggests that you need one more often, you should have a Pap smear every 3 years, beginning at 21 years of age and until 65 years of age.
Discuss a Pap smear plan with your doctor if you start having sex and are younger than 21 years of age.
If you are between 30 and 65 years of age and you want to have Pap smears less often, talk to your doctor about combining your Pap smear with human papillomavirus (HPV) testing every 5 years.
Certain things put you at higher or lower risk for cervical cancer. Your doctor will consider these when recommending how often you should have a Pap smear.
If you’re older than 65, talk to your doctor about how often you need a Pap smear. If you’ve been having Pap smears regularly and their results have been normal, you may not need to keep having them.
If you’ve had a hysterectomy with removal of your cervix, talk to your doctor about how often you need a Pap smear.
If you’ve never had a high-grade precancerous lesion or cervical cancer, ask your doctor how often you need a Pap smear.
Ask Your Doctor About Other Cancer Screenings
Have your doctor check for colorectal cancer starting at age 50. This is one of the most prominent screenings for cancer, but there are others. However, depending on your individual medical history, it may be important to get a battery of cancer-screening tests to be sure.
Should I Have a Yearly Physical?
Health screenings are necessary. Talk to your doctor about which exams and tests are right for you based on your age and health history. Your doctor will review your risk factors and recommend which tests and exams are right for you.