Goals to Help Manage Your Health Issues
This New Year, you still may be trying to figure out what you want your resolutions to be. Instead of recycling resolutions that most people never stick to, here are a few goals to help you manage your health conditions and stay healthy in 2014.
If you have or are at risk of developing any of these health issues, here are some things that you can do this year to help take care of your health:
- Get your cholesterol checked: Men over the age of 35, women over 45 and others who have a greater chance of getting heart disease should get their cholesterol checked.
- Be more active: 2.5 hours of mild exercise, such as walking fast or swimming, can help you lower your bad cholesterol and lose weight.
- Eat less saturated fat and no trans fats: By eating less saturated fat (cheese, fatty meats, ice cream), cutting out trans fats (some desserts and microwave popcorn), and curbing foods that are high in cholesterol, you can lower your bad cholesterol levels.
- Quit smoking: If you are a smoker, this may be a resolution that you have made countless years and have never been able to stick to. But, you may not have known that by quitting you can lower your bad cholesterol levels. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free support and help.
- Get you blood pressure checked: Men and women should get their blood pressure tested every two years starting at age 18.
- Add more potassium to your diet, limit salt and saturated fats: By eating foods low in saturated fats and sodium you can lower your blood pressure. Eating potassium-rich foods can also help lower your blood pressure. Bananas, potatoes, yogurt, broccoli and 100% orange juice are all high in potassium.
- Exercise more: Regular exercise can lower your chances of getting high blood pressure. You don’t have to hit the gym -- just walking at a faster pace for 2.5 hours a week can make a difference.
- Get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked: High blood pressure and unhealthy cholesterol levels can lead to diabetes and even worsen your condition if you are diabetic. By getting your blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked you can find out if you are at risk and then take action accordingly.
- Go see your doctor two to four times: You should see your doctor two to four times per year. If you are having problems or are starting a new drug then you may need to see your doctor more often than this. Talk to your doctor to see how often you need to come in for an exam.
- Check your blood sugar levels each day: Testing your blood sugar levels can often help you see how diet and exercise change your blood sugar levels and help you track the effects of your diabetes meds. It can also tell you when your blood sugar levels are really high or low so that you can take action.
- Get a flu shot: Diabetes can weaken the immune system, making it harder for your body to fight the flu virus. According to the CDC people with diabetes are three times more likely to be hospitalized and three times more likely to die from the flu than people who are not diabetic. Protect yourself from these problems by getting a flu shot.
- Eat healthy and be active: Staying active and eating healthy well-balanced meals are key to both preventing type 2 diabetes and managing your condition if you are already diabetic.
- Be active: Regular exercise is not only good for your bodily health, but your mental health as well. Before and after your workout your body releases endorphins which help to ease stress and put you in a better mood.
- Get the proper amount of sleep: Your mind and body needs to rest and heal at the end of each day. Not getting enough sleep has been linked to problems in controlling emotions and impaired thinking. Adults should get about seven to eight hours of sleep per day.
- Talk to your doctor and get evaluated: If you think you have a mental health issue, talk to your doctor. They can help figure out if there is a problem and if you should be evaluated by a mental health expert so that you can get the help that you need.
These ideas on how you can better manage your physical and mental health in the new year should not take the place of what your doctor has told you, so be sure to talk with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.
Sources: National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, Office on Women’s Health, healthfinder.gov, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention