Taking Steps to Prevent Disease
How To Prevent Disease
Chronic disease is a part of the majority of Americans’ lives, with six in ten Americans living with at least one chronic disease, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, or diabetes. Chronic disease is also the leading cause of death and disability in America, causing seven out of ten deaths each year. More than 50 percent of deaths each year are caused by heart disease, cancer, and stroke alone.
Through advancements in science and technology, the medical field has made leaps and bounds in their ability to identify and treat different diseases. While these advancements undoubtedly help with treatment, the large volume of information available about chronic diseases may leave individuals feeling worried about their future health. This is especially true right now, when staying healthy is on the front of everyone’s mind.
Read on to learn more about what you can do to stay healthy.
Don’t Forget About the Basics
Don’t forget the basics of preventing illness. While you certainly want to avoid chronic illnesses, getting sick can weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to other diseases.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick or who may be sick. Follow any and all guidelines provided by health officials for appropriate distancing.
- Don’t go to school, work, or out in public if you are sick.
- Cover your mouth or nose with a tissue or your elbow when coughing or sneezing.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly with soap and water.
- Try not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
It is more important now than ever for all individuals to make sure they are following the guidelines of health officials to keep themselves and others safe.
Getting moving regularly is an important tool for preventing many diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and many types of cancer. Many people associate exercise with intense activity but in reality, moderate intensity activity is effective in reducing your risk of disease. In fact, a 30 minute walk five days a week is enough to fulfill the suggested amount of exercise for most adults.
Make sure to focus on aerobic fitness as well as strength and flexibility conditioning. Aerobic exercise can improve heart health and endurance, while strength training improves muscle strength and joint stability. Flexibility training is often forgotten but helps maintain an optimal range of motion for joints, allowing them to function at their best.
Paying attention to what food you eat can have dramatic effects on your risk of contracting certain diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. Your diet can positively or negatively affect many health indicators, including cholesterol, blood pressure, glucose levels, and inflammation.
If you are trying to improve your diet, focus on the following tips from the Mayo Clinic:
- Control your portion size;
- Eat more fruits and vegetables;
- Choose whole grains over refined or processed products;
- Limit unhealthy saturated and trans fats;
- Include low-fat protein like fish, eggs, and lean meats in your diet; and
- Reduce your sodium intake.
Small changes to your diet can have big impacts on your overall health.
It is important to remember that the brain plays an important role in preventing disease. Mental stimulation is important to maintaining a healthy body. Continuing to learn new things and to challenge the brain is important in avoiding Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Studies have shown that adults who participate in mental training sessions show long-lasting, improved cognitive functioning for as many as ten years.
While there are many ways to challenge the brain, some options include:
- Learning something new. This could be any new skill that interests you. Consider learning a new foreign language, taking up a musical instrument, or tackling a new craft, like knitting or painting.
- Taking it to the next level. If you already have an activity or skill you enjoy, consider adding on. Learn a new song on an instrument you already play or add a skill to your sports repertoire.
- Committing it to memory. Learn new tricks for committing information to memory, such as creating rhymes or patterns. These can help strengthen memory connections.
- Picking up a puzzle. Puzzles and strategy games are a great daily tool for building the brain’s ability to form and retain cognitive associations.
- Mixing things up. Try navigating a new route home without a GPS or eat a meal with your non-dominant hand. These small changes will put your brain to work.
Stress is a significant contributor to health problems. There are numerous physical impacts of stress, from muscle tension to high blood pressure to increased risk of diabetes. Additionally, chronic stress can bring on diseases, including heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes.
While managing stress may sound easier said than done during times of great change and when confronting the onset of a disease or illness, the National Institute of Mental Health recommends the following:
- Be familiar with your body’s signs of stress so you can address it quickly;
- Don’t hesitate to discuss your stress concerns with a healthcare professional;
- Get regular exercise;
- Make mediation or other relaxation exercises a part of your routine;
- Set attainable goals; and
- Maintain your support network and ask for help when you need it.
If you find yourself suffering from undue stress due to legal matters, working with an experienced attorney can help relieve some of this stress from your life. Taking steps to manage your stress will help you feel centered while also potentially preventing the onset of chronic conditions.
Finally, don’t just take steps to try to stay healthy—you can also secure significant peace of mind and relieve stress to know that your affairs are in order if the unthinkable happens and illness or injury strikes you. A family law attorney at The Law Offices of George Salinas can work with you to write a will and make sure you have completed and properly filed all of the necessary paperwork.