Do you want to live a long, healthy life? Take control of your health with these four tips.
Health experts have some good news: life expectancy in the U.S. is on the rise. The average person can expect to live 78 years.
Are you wondering how can you become one of these good health statistics? You can up your chances by taking charge of your health. Get checkups, work with your doctor, do your research and lead a healthy lifestyle. Then you may be on your way to living well into your 70s and beyond.
1. Get checkups and screenings
Visit your doctor for checkups as often as he or she suggests. During these appointments your doctor will:
- Give advice on how to reduce your risk of illness
- Suggest immunizations
- Recommend health screenings
Below are some general screening tests for adults. Screening tests can help detect or prevent disease. Your doctor may advise other screening tests or want you to be screened more often based on your individual risks, family history and age. Screening tests your doctor may recommend include:
- Cholesterol test
- Blood pressure check
- Blood sugar check for diabetes
- Skin and mole exam
- Dental exam
- Colorectal cancer screening
- Eye exam
- Hearing test
- Depression and mental health assessment
- Tests for sexually transmitted diseases
Other screenings just for women may include:
- Clinical breast exam
- Cervical cancer screening
- Osteoporosis screening
Additional screenings for men may include:
- Prostate exam
- Testicular exam
2. Work with your doctor
- Know your symptoms. Your doctor can only order tests and make diagnoses based on the symptoms you report. Keep a log of what your symptoms are, what triggers them and what relieves them. Share this with your doctor.
- Keep your doctor up to date. Let your doctor know:
- The medications you take (including over-the-counter, vitamins and supplements)
- What allergies you have
- If there have been any changes in your family history
- If another doctor recently treated you for or diagnosed you with something
- Be honest. Don’t be afraid to talk about sensitive topics. Your doctor has heard it all before and is there to help you, not judge you. Tell your doctor the truth about:
- Your diet and exercise habits
- How much and how often you smoke, use drugs or drink alcohol
- Your sexual activity
3. Do your research
If you want to learn more about your symptoms, diagnosis or treatment, talk to your doctor. You can also do some research on your own. But make sure you get the information from trustworthy, accurate sources. Look for websites that are certified by the Health on the Net Foundation (HON), like myoptumhealth.com. (Scroll down to the bottom right hand corner of the page to see what the HON symbol looks like.) The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other federal and state government websites ending in .gov are also reliable sources.
4. Adopt healthy habits
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S. A healthy lifestyle can reduce your risk of heart disease and other conditions, like cancer and diabetes:
- Lose weight if you are overweight. Even losing a few pounds can cut your health risks.
- Exercise regularly. Work your way up to 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. Never increase your activity level without talking to your doctor first.
- Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy. Limit saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium and added sugars.
- Don’t smoke. If you do, quit.
- Limit alcohol consumption.
- Reduce stress.
- Get enough sleep.