With each approaching New Year, there comes a time of reflection. Reflection on the past year and resolutions for the year to come.
As 2018 approaches, the most common resolution that people make is “To become healthier”. While this is a great resolution, it is often broken because people feel it is “too hard”. However, staying healthy is not hard work. It does not require incredible amounts of discipline, only the willpower and desire to change. There are many valuable resources that can be utilized to help. Routine health screenings and paying attention to signals from your body, can help you remain or become healthier. Think of taking care of your health like the way you take care of your car.
You wouldn’t drive without checking your tire pressure, yet how often do you go for months without checking your blood pressure? The IMH Clinics provide free blood pressure checks on the first Tuesday of each month with no appointment necessary. IMH also offers health screenings and health fairs throughout the year where you can have, both, your blood pressure and blood sugar checked for free.
You wouldn’t drive your car without getting a tune up or maintenance checkup, yet somehow it’s viewed as an accomplishment to be able to say “I haven’t had to go to the doctor this year!”. Healthcare providers are not only for when you become ill. They are there to make certain you stay healthy. With annual checkups and physicals, you can keep your body healthy and avoid sick visits.
You wouldn’t take a piece of tape and cover up the warning light when it comes on in your car. Yet the number of times, as a doctor, that I have heard someone say “it’s just old age” or “it was just a minor pain” when talking about pain that they have been dealing with for a lengthy period of time, is too often. Just like your car, your body sends you a “warning light” with pain. Don’t ignore it or make excuses for the pain, see your healthcare provider. That “warning light” could be alerting you to something significant.
You wouldn’t put poor gas or oil in your car. Yet, eating a poor diet is very similar to doing just that for your body. Simple diet changes can be made to ensure you are getting the proper nutrition. Eat a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables and avoid common carbs, sweets, and fatty foods. It is not just about food though, avoiding sugary drinks and drinking at least eight glasses of water every day will put you on the path to a healthier you.
Everyone knows, if you allow your car to sit for too long without starting it, it can often have trouble getting going. It is the same concept for your body. A simple lifestyle change that will help you achieve your resolution, is adding in exercise every day. 60 minutes a day is the recommendation, but any amount of exercise each day is a good start. And rest is just as important, 7-8 hours of sleep every night will help your body stay refreshed and healthy. Other basic daily routines like brushing your teeth to maintain a healthy mouth, wearing sunscreen outdoors, and keeping up with your immunizations will all help you stay healthy.
As each of us get older, we, also, need to be mindful of the various screenings that help prevent and detect illnesses. Getting a colonoscopy if you are over 50 helps with the detection of colon cancer. A mammogram for women over the age 40, helps with the detection of breast cancer; and a PSA blood test for men over the age of 50 helps with the detection of prostate cancer. Women over 21 should have a routine PAP smear for the detection of cervical cancer.
Simply by changing your thought process on becoming healthier, making it a priority rather than a choice, you can follow through with that New Year’s Resolution this year! Have a great holidays and very happy healthy New Year! Good luck succeeding with your resolutions.
Dr. Hytham Beck