If you want to remain healthy, regular checkups with your doctor, dentist, optometrist, and other health-care professionals are essential. These appointments help ensure that problems are detected early, which maximizes your chances of receiving timely treatment and making a full recovery. The frequency of your visits should be based on your age and risk factors, although you should also book an appointment if you experience pain or other worrying symptoms.
In the meantime, there are plenty of ways you can lead a healthier lifestyle. Here are a few tips to help you remain in peak condition.
Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes when you’re outside and use safety goggles while playing certain sports, handling dangerous substances, or working in a dusty environment. Additionally, remember to blink often and take regular breaks if you use a computer all day. This will help prevent eye strain and dry eyes.
To preserve your hearing, favor headphones over earbuds, listen to music at a reasonable volume, and wear noise-canceling earmuffs in loud environments. Never use cotton swabs to clean your ears, as doing so can create earwax blockages and damage your eardrums.
Keep your teeth and gums healthy by adopting good oral hygiene habits. This includes brushing your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristle brush and flossing daily. It’s also a good idea to limit your consumption of foods and beverages that are bad for your teeth such as sticky candies and soft drinks.
Muscles and joints
You should always warm-up before you exercise, stay hydrated before and during physical activities, and listen to your body to prevent injuries. At work, be sure to maintain an ergonomic posture and vary tasks as much as possible to avoid prolonged repetitive movements.
To protect your feet, choose comfortable footwear that fits properly, avoid shoes that scrunch your toes, and save high heels for special occasions. These practices will help you avoid aches, blisters, and other common foot problems. You should also regularly wash and dry your feet, and don’t cut your nails too short.
There are numerous ways you can reduce the risk of heart disease. Among other things, you should exercise regularly, limit your consumption of alcohol, get enough sleep, manage your stress, and eat a healthy low-sugar, low-sodium diet.
To keep your skin healthy, wash with mild soap and warm (rather than hot) water. Take care to pat yourself dry, as rubbing can cause irritation. You should also moisturize daily, take steps to protect your skin against the sun, and eat plenty of berries and other foods rich in antioxidants.
In addition to getting your daily dose of fiber (which should come from a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains), there are several ways to promote healthy digestion. Eat slowly, drink plenty of water, use antibiotics only when necessary, and avoid restraining yourself from going to the bathroom when you feel the need.
Keeping your genitals clean is a must, but women should avoid douches and other types of scented products. Men should protect their testicles when playing contact sports by wearing a protective cup. Both men and women should practice safe sex, get tested for sexually transmitted infections, and find out if they’ve been vaccinated against HPV, among other things.
To help prevent kidney disease, you should reduce your salt intake, drink plenty of water, and exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. You should also limit your use of over-the-counter medications and respect the dosage of any prescription drugs you take.
You should familiarize yourself with the look and feel of your breasts so that you’ll notice if something changes. However, breast health goes beyond self-exams. You should also eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, learn to manage your stress, adopt an active lifestyle, and take steps to maintain a healthy weight.
To keep cognitive decline at bay, make sure to regularly challenge yourself. Solving crossword puzzles, playing strategy games, and learning a new language are ways you can keep your mind active. It’s also important that you maintain a social life that allows you to regularly connect with others. Additionally, make sure to wear a helmet if you cycle, ski, play contact sports, or work in a hazardous environment.
Eating foods that are high in calcium and vitamin D (fatty fish, eggs, milk, mushrooms, etc.) will help keep your bones strong. Consult your doctor to find out if you should be taking a supplement. Additionally, be sure to exercise regularly and limit your consumption of coffee and alcohol.
Wash your hands frequently and take steps to prevent the spread of germs that target your respiratory system. You should also avoid smoky and dusty environments, and improve your home’s indoor air quality by opening windows, vacuuming often, and getting your ducts cleaned regularly by a professional.
5 reasons to increase your flexibility
Flexibility plays a key role in your overall fitness. In fact, stretching your muscles and joints on a regular basis can make a variety of everyday activities easier. Here are the five main benefits of increasing your flexibility.
1. It improves your posture and balance
2. It increases your range of motion
3. It reduces your risk of getting injured
4. It helps your muscles work more effectively
5. It reduces aches, pains, and muscle tension
Furthermore, stretching after your exercise facilitates muscle recovery and repair. It also prevents lactic acid from building up and causing muscle soreness.
Keep in mind that stretching shouldn’t be painful. Though it’s normal to feel a pulling sensation, a sharp or stabbing pain means you’ve over-extended your muscles or joints, which can result in injury.
Activities to try
Stretching is just one of many ways to improve your flexibility. You can also try yoga, tai chi, water aerobics, Pilates, ballet, and more. Consider signing up for a beginners’ class in your area.
One cause of health problems can be mistaken for aging
One condition, not uncommon in women, can be misdiagnosed as a typical problem in aging.
An underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) can be responsible for a number of conditions throughout the body. But, often patients just experience one of the many possible symptoms. To make matters worse, the symptoms resemble problems typical of normal aging.
Joint and muscle pain is a classic symptom, according to Harvard Health. Large muscle groups, like those in the legs, can begin to ache. Sometimes it is the only symptom of hypothyroidism in an older person.
If you suddenly start forgetting the names of your grandkids and maybe your memory seems shorter, it could be hypothyroidism, especially if it has gone undiagnosed for some time.
Another common symptom is depression. Like muscle pain, depression can be the only noticeable symptom of hypothyroidism. In severe, untreated cases, adults can even experience hallucinations.
Constipation may be dismissed as a routine problem, but it often accompanies low thyroid.
Unexplained high cholesterol can pop up in tests and be a sign that the thyroid should be checked.
Finally, low thyroid levels can even make your heart work poorly with weaker contractions and a slower heart rate.
Make daikon part of your diet
Daikon is a sweet, mildly spicy root vegetable that resembles a plump white carrot. Also known as white or Japanese radish, daikon is popular in many types of Asian cuisine and a great addition to your winter meals.
This crunchy cruciferous vegetable is an excellent source of vitamin C, folate, and antioxidants. In addition to being low in calories, some studies indicate that eating daikon:
• Helps protect against certain cancers and chronic conditions like heart disease
• Increases satiety and promotes a healthy body weight
How to eat it
Daikon can be served raw or cooked. Often, it’s thinly sliced for pickling or to be used as a garnish. However, it also makes a tasty addition to a variety of hot and cold dishes and can even be used in baked goods. This winter, try daikon pan-fried or roasted. Additionally, the greens can be used in salads, soups, and stir-fries.
How to store it
Keep daikon in a perforated plastic bag or wrapped in a damp towel in the fridge. It should last for several weeks. Store the greens separately.
What are the health risks of vaping?
Electronic cigarettes are devices designed to heat a nicotine-based liquid into a vapor, which can then be inhaled. Here’s a look at the known health risks associated with vaping.
Exposure to nicotine
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaping is a less harmful option than smoking if you already smoke. However, since most e-cigarette liquids contain nicotine, they pose a number of health risks. Among other things, vaping can:
· Lead to addiction
· Cause behavioral problems
· Alter brain development
It should be noted that adolescents are particularly susceptible to the dangerous effects of nicotine. This is why it’s illegal to sell or give vaping products to anyone under the age of 21.
Exposure to other chemicals
The main liquids found in vaping products are vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, and chemicals used for flavor such as diacetyl. When these substances are heated in a vaping device, they create a carcinogen called formaldehyde. Other toxins that can be found in e-cigarette vapor include nickel, tin, and aluminum.
Heart and lung disease
Inhaling the harmful chemicals found in e-cigarettes increases the risk of cardiovascular and lung disease. Health experts are also currently investigating the rise of a severe and potentially fatal lung disease referred to as vaping-associated pulmonary injury (VAPI).
While the potential long-term effects of vaping are still unknown, there’s no doubt that the use of e-cigarettes is hazardous. The best way to avoid the health risks associated with vaping is to not start or to ask a health-care professional for advice on how to quit.
The hazard of batteries
Vaping devices can be dangerous if they’re not properly used or stored. The lithium-ion batteries in electronic cigarettes can overheat, catch fire, or explode in your pocket if they come into contact with metal objects like loose coins or keys.
Orthokeratology: an overnight treatment for myopia
If you’re nearsighted, orthokeratology can be an effective alternative to wearing glasses or contacts. This non-surgical treatment involves wearing rigid, custom-fit lenses overnight to temporarily reshape your cornea. Here’s a look at how orthokeratology can improve your vision.
What to expect
Orthokeratology lenses are made of a sturdy, gas-permeable material that flattens the center of the cornea while still allowing oxygen to reach your eye. For best results, these lenses should be worn for at least six consecutive hours every night.
You may experience some minor discomfort during the first week as your eyes get used to the rigid lenses. When you remove the lenses in the morning, your cornea will stay flat and change the way light enters your eye. This vision correction usually lasts about 24 to 48 hours.
How it can help
Though it can’t permanently correct your vision, orthokeratology slows the progression of myopia in 50 to 90 percent of cases. Among other things, this preventive action can help you:
·Avoid further eye health problems
·Reduce your risk of retinal detachment
·Prevent the appearance of eye floaters
To find out if orthokeratology is right for you, speak with your optometrist.
3 myths about heart disease
February is American Heart Month and a great opportunity to raise awareness about heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. Here are three myths that must be debunked to ensure all Americans take the necessary steps to minimize their risk.
Myth: You don’t need to worry about heart disease until you’re in your 50s
Fact: You can develop heart disease at any age, especially if you have high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels, diabetes, or excessive body fat. To monitor these risk factors, the American Heart Association recommends that adults be tested for them every four to six years starting at the age of 20. Furthermore, adopting healthy lifestyle habits at an early age reduces your risk of developing heart disease later in life.
Myth: You’ll know you’re having a heart attack because you’ll have chest pain
Myth: You can’t prevent heart disease if it runs in your family
Fact: A family history of heart disease puts you at higher risk for the condition, but there are steps you can take to protect your heart health. Among other things, you should quit smoking (or never start), eat a healthy diet, and exercise for at least 150 minutes every week. Additionally, speak with your doctor about how you can manage your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar.
For more information about heart disease, visit heart.org.