Many completely avoidable diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer and asthma/COPD strike us each year. In fact, they account for 70 percent of all deaths in places like US. People don’t realize the things they can do or quit doing (as in the case of smoking) that can change the face of disease today.
Take heart disease, for instance. This occurs when cholesterol and calcium build up in your coronary arteries, resulting in a lack of oxygen to the heart muscle and heart attacks. It turns out that a healthy lifestyle low in cholesterol and fats and high in exercise, fruits and vegetables can make a big difference in how your risk of heart disease is. Quitting smoking and maintaining an ideal weight are also things you can do to reduce your risk of heart disease. Blood pressure plays a role as well and the combination of risk factors lowers your heart disease risk by 75 percent.
You don’t need to do a complete lifestyle overhaul in order to have some heart disease prevention. Try changing one risk factor at a time until you’ve turned your risk for heart disease around. Try 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day for six days per week and you’ll lower your heart disease and cancer risk by a great deal.
By all means, quit smoking. You not only get heart disease from smoking but you can die from lung cancer, which is the number one cause of cancer deaths in many countries. Quitting almost immediately adds many years to your life. Think, too, of alcohol intake. Your risk of liver cancer goes way up if you drink more than one drink a day (for women) or two drinks per day (for men). Alcohol intake has been associated with breast cancer in women.
Seek help for depression. Suicides kill thousands of people per year. Men have a high suicide rate and accident rate—over and above women. Pay attention to the genetic components of disease. If something runs in your family, make sure you are screened for it or watch for early signs of the disease. Think about genetic testing if there is a disease, like breast cancer, that can be checked for before you actually get the disease. If alcoholism runs in your family, don’t drink because it can lead to alcoholism in you as well.
Most people do badly when it comes to preventative medicine. Get a flu shot every year and start having colonoscopies every ten years starting at age 50. A pneumonia shot can save thousands of lives. You only have to get one pneumonia shot once in your lifetime. And don’t forget about the chicken poxs, tetanus, heptatitis B, diphtheria and pertussis vaccination, which is done every 5-10 years.