How can you know your general level of health? What are some key areas to be aware of to avoid serious illness? We’ve put together a list of some specific things you can do to make sure you stay as healthy as possible.
Your heart pumps nonstop to keep you alive, making it one of the most critical organs in your body. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. One-third of men suffer from cardiovascular disease symptoms, such as:
- Atrial fibrillation
- Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
- High blood pressure
- Coronary heart disease
- Congestive heart failure
- Heart attack
To keep your heart healthy, visit your doctor at least once a year, and have any tests requested. You may be asked to check your blood pressure, monitor cholesterol and triglyceride levels, or have a stress test. An EKG can also provide valuable information about heart health (see abnormal EKG causes).
- Wear sunglasses when you go out during the day, as prolonged exposure to UV and other forms of light can damage your eyes
- Use a blue light filter on your devices at night time. Aside from helping you to get a better nights sleep, these filters can cut out harmful light waves that could hurt your eyes over time.
- Eat a healthy diet. It is important that you get a good amount of all the nutrients that your body needs, including Vitamins A and C to help with eye health.
- Get you rest. By getting a good night’s sleep, your body will have the time it needs to repair itself and recover from the stresses of the day. This is also time for your eyes to rest.
Our skin is the largest organ in our bodies and serves as a protective barrier against disease and infection. As such, it needs attention to ensure its integrity.
Many diseases can cause discolored patches on the skin, so it’s helpful to be aware of what your skin typically looks like. If you notice changes, see a doctor or dermatologist as soon as possible. Some diseases that can cause such changes in the skin are:
- Pigmentation disorders like vitiligo and melasma
- Rashes, including rosacea, dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis
- Infections like ringworm, candidiasis, and tinea versicolor
- Skin cancers (carcinoma and melanoma)
- Medical conditions such as cyanosis, lupus, and diabetes
How can you decide if changes in your skin require a doctor’s visit? Schedule an appointment if you notice a difference in the size or shape of a mole. Also, check with a doctor if a new patch of discolored skin appears and does not go away.
With so many different diets being publicized nowadays, how can we know what is really best for our bodies? Let’s go back to the basics. Three of the essential nutrients for our bodies are carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
Let’s start with carbohydrates. The best-quality carbohydrates are the ones that help stabilize your blood sugar instead of causing it to spike. These are usually found in unprocessed foods like berries, leafy greens, and cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, cabbage, kale, broccoli, etc.)
Fats, especially Omega-3 and Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats, are necessary for our brain function and cell growth. These healthy fats can be found in cold-water fish, flaxseeds, walnuts, vegetable oils, and some other nuts and seeds.
Our bodies use proteins to obtain amino acids, which serve as the building blocks for body tissues like muscle, bone, skin, and hair. Healthy proteins can be found in cold-water fish, free-range chicken, grass-fed beef, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
While some may think breast health is only an issue for women, it’s something that men also need to be aware of. Both men and women should know what their breast tissue usually feels like. In this way, it will be easier to detect a lump should one begin to grow.
Here are some other tips for reducing your risk of breast cancer:
- Limit alcohol intake.
- Don’t smoke.
- Be physically active.
- Limit hormone therapy as much as possible (both dose and duration).
- Avoid being exposed to environmental pollution and radiation.
What is mental health? It’s our emotional, social, and psychological well-being and includes how we act, think, and feel.
Why do we need to pay attention to our mental health? Our mental health affects all other areas of our lives, such that “there’s no health without mental health.” When you’re not well, this also affects everyone around you and your relationships with them.
So, how can we care for our mental health? Here are some practical suggestions:
- Talk about your feelings.
- Do physical activities regularly.
- Eat well.
- Maintain friendships.
- Ask for help when you need it.
- Take a break.
- Do something you’re good at.
- Accept who you are.
- Care for others.
There are many actions we can take daily to make sure we have the best possible health. One of the most obvious is eating well to obtain the nutrients our bodies need for optimal functioning. We can also stay aware of our health in the following areas:
- Cardiovascular health
- Skin health
- Breast health
- Mental health
Regular attention to all the above areas can lead to a much healthier lifestyle. Start today, and see for yourself the difference it will make!