Keys to Preventive Health
Prevention is the best cure.
The main key to preventive health is partnering with your physician to maintain your overall good health. Real preventive medicine includes preventing acute and chronic diseases by getting and staying healthy which results from the way we live. It is important to have a healthy lifestyle. Our goal is to lower your risk and/or prevent the onset of heart disease, certain types of cancer, diabetes, even stroke and osteoporosis to name a few.
Here are some areas of focus, keys to staying healthy:
Regular Exercise-The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise, five days a week. The good news is just becoming more active in day-to-day living is beneficial. Regular exercise improves your chances of living longer and healthier. Exercise earlier in the day to give you energy throughout the day and help you rest better at night.
Healthy Eating – Make good food choices. Eat whole grains, fruits and vegetables. These choices will actually make you feel better as well as keep you healthy. Avoid, or at least minimize, your intake of caffeinated drinks (soft drinks and coffee for example). Focusing on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes, nuts and seeds, and limiting animal-based foods and refined/processed foods will greatly improve and maintain health.
Managing Stress – While life can be hectic, especially around the holidays, it is important to manage stress because it has a negative impact on your mind and body. Managing stress with regular exercise can help you avoid the terrible effects of chronic stress. Yoga, meditation or taking a walk in the evening is a great way to take the edge off and relieve stress. Make time for yourself everyday – even if it is just five minutes.
Sleep - Adequate rest and sleep (and dream time) for each of us is crucial to "recharging our batteries," healing many problems, keeping our moods balanced and staying healthy. Six to eight hours of rest per night and consistent bedtimes will help improve your mood and give you energy. Like breathing fresh air, drinking water, and eating a healthy diet, our nightly quality sleep is crucial to our well-being. If you are having trouble sleeping, see your doctor before trying over the counter medications and sleep aids.
Annual Checkups – Be sure to get annual checkups with your family doctor. Be proactive and work together with your physician to stay healthy and plan for long term good health. Part of prevention is early intervention and early diagnosis and taking physician recommended vaccines, like the annual flu shot.
Getting age and gender appropriate tests such as mammograms, pap smears, prostate exams, and blood tests are very important. Preventing cancer and cardiovascular diseases are a most important goal in preventive medicine.
Work together with your physician to come up with ways you and your family can create and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Let us help - at UNC Regional Physicians, it is our goal to keep you and your family healthy.