Living a healthy lifestyle may mean something different from one person to the next. For some, health is defined by living a disease-free life. For others, healthy is being able to play with grandchildren or perhaps adhering to a weekly exercise schedule. Though the definition of healthy may differ between people, living a healthy lifestyle is a fundamental component to achieve your optimal mental and physical well-being.
Good health habits can allow you to avoid illness and improve your quality of life. The following steps will help you feel better and live better.
Get regular exercise and control your weight.
Do not drink a lot of alcohol. Avoid alcohol completely if you have a history of alcoholism.
Use the medicines your health care provider gives you as directed.
Eat a balanced and healthy diet.
Manage high blood pressure.
Follow good safety practices.
Exercise is a key factor in staying healthy. Exercise strengthens the bones, heart, and lungs, tones muscles, improves vitality, relieves depression, and helps you sleep better.Talk to your provider before starting an exercise program if you have health conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure, or diabetes. This can help ensure that your exercise is safe and that you get the most of out of it.
Cigarette smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, causes many diseases, and reduces the health of smokers in general.
Quitting smoking lowers your risk for smoking-related diseases and can add years to your life.More than 10 times as many U.S. citizens have died prematurely from cigarette smoking than have died in all the wars fought by the United States during its history.Smoking causes about 90% (or 9 out of 10) of all lung cancer deaths in men and women.More women die from lung cancer each year than from breast cancer.About 80% (or 8 out of 10) of all deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are caused by smoking.Cigarette smoking increases risk for death from all causes in men and women.
Smoking and Increased Health Risks
Smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to develop heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer.Smoking causes diminished overall health, increased absenteeism from work, and increased health care utilization and cost.
Smoking and Cardiovascular Disease
Smokers are at greater risk for diseases that affect the heart and blood vessels (cardiovascular disease).
Smoking causes stroke and coronary heart disease, which are among the leading causes of death in the United States.
Even people who smoke fewer than five cigarettes a day can have early signs of cardiovascular disease.
Smoking damages blood vessels and can make them thicken and grow narrower. This makes your heart beat faster and your blood pressure go up. Clots can also form.
A stroke occurs when a clot blocks the blood flow to part of your brain or when a blood vessel in or around your brain bursts.
Blockages caused by smoking can also reduce blood flow to your legs and skin.
Smoking and Respiratory Disease
Smoking can cause lung disease by damaging your airways and the small air sacs (alveoli) found in your lungs.1,2
Lung diseases caused by smoking include COPD, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Cigarette smoking causes most cases of lung cancer.
If you have asthma, tobacco smoke can trigger an attack or make an attack worse.
Smoking and Cancer
Smoking can cause cancer almost anywhere in your body:
Blood (acute myeloid leukemia)
Colon and rectum (colorectal)
Kidney and ureter
Oropharynx (includes parts of the throat, tongue, soft palate, and the tonsils)
Trachea, bronchus, and lung
Smoking also increases the risk of dying from cancer and other diseases in cancer patients and survivors.
Cigarette smoking exposure can cause lung cancer. Talk to your provider or nurse about medicines and programs that can help you quit.
Drinking alcohol changes many brain functions. Emotions, thinking, and judgment are first to be affected. Continued drinking will affect motor control, causing slurred speech, slower reactions, and poor balance. Having a higher amount of body fat and drinking on an empty stomach will speed up the effects of alcohol.
Alcoholism can lead to diseases including:
Diseases of the liver and pancreas
Cancer and other diseases of the oesophagus and digestive tract
Heart muscle damage
Do not drink alcohol when you are pregnant. Alcohol can cause serious harm to the unborn baby and lead to fetal alcohol syndrome.
Parents should talk to their children about the dangerous effects of alcohol. Talk to your provider if you or someone close to you has a problem with alcohol. Many people whose lives have been affected by alcohol get benefit from taking part in an alcohol support group.
DRUG AND MEDICINE USE
Drugs and medicines affect people in different ways. Always tell your provider about the all drugs you are taking. This includes over-the-counter medicines and vitamins.
Drug interactions can be dangerous.
Older people need to be very careful about interactions when they are taking many medicines.
All of your providers should know all the medicines you are taking. Carry the list with you when you go for checkups and treatments.
Avoid drinking alcohol while taking medicines. This can cause serious problems. The combination of alcohol and tranquilizers or painkillers can be deadly.
Pregnant women should not take any drug or medicine without talking to the provider. This includes over-the-counter medicines. The unborn baby is even more sensitive to the harm from drugs in the first 3 months. Tell your provider if you have been taking any drugs just before becoming pregnant.
Always take medicines as prescribed. Taking any drug in a way other than prescribed or taking too much can cause serious health problems. It is considered drug abuse . Abuse and addiction are not just associated with illegal “street” drugs.
Legal drugs such as laxatives, painkillers, nasal sprays, diet pills, and cough medicines can also be misused.
Addiction is defined as continuing to use a substance even though you are experiencing problems related to the use. Simply needing a drug (like a painkiller or antidepressant) and taking it as prescribed is not addiction.
DEALING WITH STRESS
Stress is normal. It can be a great motivator and help in some cases. But too much stress can cause health problems such as trouble sleeping, stomach upset, anxiety, and mood changes.
Learn to recognize the things most likely to cause stress in your life.
You may not be able to avoid all stress but knowing the source can help you feel in control.
The more control you feel you have over your life, the less damaging the stress in your life will be.
Obesity is a serious health concern. Excess body fat can overwork the heart, bones, and muscles. It can also increase your risk for developing high blood pressure, stroke, varicose veins, breast cancer, and gallbladder disease.
Obesity can be caused by eating too much and eating unhealthy foods. Lack of exercise also plays a part. Family history may be a risk for some people as well.
Having a balanced diet is important to being in good health.
Choose foods that are low in saturated and trans fat, and low in cholesterol.
Limit your intake of sugar, salt (sodium), and alcohol.
Eat more fiber, which can be found in fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grain products.