In America, seven out of ten deaths are attributed to chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Did you know that many of these chronic diseases are preventable? They can also be caught early through regular screenings. Even with regular screenings, there are many things you can start doing today to protect your health through preventive health care. Here are just a few of those things you can do right now.
1. Get walking
A super easy way to start protecting your health with a preventive health care measure is to go for a walk. In fact, a brisk thirty minute walk daily can help reduce your risk of diabetes, and risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, among other great benefits.
In addition, walking daily can improve your strength and endurance. It can make your bones stronger. Lastly, it has been known to help keep you fit and reduce body weight. Walking is a simple exercise that is great as a preventive health measure.
When you miss a day of walking, there’s still other ways to build strength and work on your health. You can take the stairs instead of an elevator, bike instead of drive or park far from the store to get those extra steps in. Don’t forget, you can also get a pedometer to track the number of steps you take in a day. Set a goal and work to hit that number.
2. Wash your hands
Never before has something as simple as hand washing been so important in our society. Washing your hands not only keeps you healthy, but also prevents the spread of germs to others. Hand washing should be done often and for the proper amount of time.
You should always wash your hands before preparing food, before eating, after coughing or sneezing, after touching your face, after using the restroom and after you return home from being out and about (among other things).
Your best bet is to use soap and water and vigorously wash each side of your hand and fingers for no less than 20 seconds. Be sure to rinse well and dry your hands with a clean paper towel. An acceptable alternative to soap and water is alcohol-based hand sanitizer. The product you choose but have at least 60% alcohol in it to be effective.
3. Increase your antioxidants
Eating healthy can be a very vague statement, but one thing you can take charge of is increasing your antioxidants. What antioxidants provide is protection to your cells from free radicals. When you are exposed to things like smoke or radiation or when your body breaks down food, molecules called free radicals are released. When you consume antioxidants, you are giving your body the ability to fight off these free radicals.
So what foods are high in antioxidants? Eating a snack of berries is a good place to start. Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and cranberries are some of the best berries to indulge in for antioxidants. In addition, sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, spinach, broccoli, walnuts, pecans and even dark chocolate are good choices.
4. Use sunscreen
Having that beautiful, sun-kissed tan might be a goal of your summer look, however, do not stray away from sunscreen. Not only can it help fight off a bad sunburn and sun damage, it can also help reduce skin cancer. To help prevent skin cancer, slathering up in sunscreen before basking in the sun is a very smart move. Remember, always use a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15. If you currently have new moles or sun spots, be sure they are regularly checked by your dermatologist.
5. Make no bones about it
Osteoporosis often comes up as we age, but it doesn’t have to be a normal part of aging. In fact, you are never too old to start focusing your preventive care on your bones. Eating a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D is a great way to start. You should also consider regular bone density screenings to ensure you are on a good path to proper health.
6. Do those regular screenings
Especially to catch cancer early, doing regular screenings is a great way to attempt to protect your health through preventive health care. Some screenings to consider include:
- Prostate: For men, prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer diagnosed. Oftentimes, the symptoms do not appear until the cancer has significantly progressed.
- Lung: Lung cancer claims more lives among men and women than any other form.
- Colon: It is possible to have colon cancer with little to no signs or symptoms. Regular colonoscopies are encouraged.
- Breast: Mammograms are also important to catching breast cancer in its early stages.
It is up to you to protect your health through preventive health care. Little steps like cleaning up your diet, getting regularly screened and taking brisk daily walks can really help keep your body healthy and strong.