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Making Your Health Your Top Priority

Your health and wellness should always be a main priority. However, if you’re always on the go, it can often be an afterthought. Therefore, it’s important to remember that it is easier to prevent something than to treat it. To focus on your health and make sure you're doing everything you can, in terms of prevention, here’s what you need to know:

Keeping Your Diet in Mind

What you ingest is vital to your complete health and wellness. Everybody's dietary needs differ. For some, the vitamins and minerals that come directly from their meals may be enough, while others might need supplements on a daily basis.

However, the most important thing is to get the fuel your body needs to thrive. With many turning to the Ketogenic diet for weight loss, and others giving up gluten, there are a lot of variations of what we are told to eat daily. However, the two most important things that should always be part of your daily diet are fruits and vegetables.

A diet that focuses on the two has been known to improve digestion, reduce inflammation, and lower cancer risks. If you are unsure of what dietary choices are best for you, Premier Wellness offers nutrition and exercise counseling as part of our comprehensive health and wellness plan.

Understanding Your Cancer Risks

One of the biggest health concerns many people fear is the risk of cancer. There is no single cause of the disease; several factors could increase someone's chances. Here’s what everyone should know about the dangers of cancer (both controllable and uncontrollable).

Know Your Uncontrollable Risk Factors

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), your family history can help determine your risk of several cancers including breast, ovarian, and colorectal cancer. Knowing your family health history can help you better understand your cancer risks and the proper steps to take to lower these risks.

The health histories that you’ll want to get information on include:

  • Parents and grandparents
  • Sisters or brothers
  • Aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews
  • Your children

Some of the most important questions to ask include:

  • If any of these relatives ever had cancer
  • The type of cancer they had
  • Their diagnosis age
  • If they passed, what was the cause of death

These important details can help your doctor determine the type of cancer screenings and testing you’ll need in the future. For instance, if a gene mutation is a cause for your family cancer history, you might benefit from genetic counseling. This is especially true for those with a history of breast or ovarian cancer.

For more on breast cancer risk and prevention, read » Reducing Your Breast Cancer Risks.

Controllable Risk Factors

Quit Smoking

Smoking is the leading cause of most cancers, so quitting this habit can be the first step you take to better your health. With every cigarette you inhale, you do damage to your lungs and increase your chances of several types of cancer, including breast and stomach cancer.

Not only that, smoking leads to an increase in mucus, which can irritate your lungs, lead to inflammation, and further issues, such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and asthma. If you’re already experiencing these respiratory issues, smoking can make them more severe. Though quitting doesn’t always happen on the first try, it’s never too late to start on the journey to being smoke-free.

Steps for Cancer Prevention

Some helpful steps to not only improve your health, but reduce your chance of cancer include:

  • Eating a diet filled with fruits and vegetables
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Staying active
  • Considering genetic testing
  • Keeping up with routine visits

For instance, a diet high in cured meat and smoked food has been linked to an increase in stomach cancer — so limiting these are important. It's also important to remember that symptoms can be vague for many diseases. This is why you should consult with your doctor if you notice any prolonged differences in your health; fatigue, bloating, and unexplained weight loss could all be signs of stomach cancer.

Practice Germ Prevention

When the temperatures begin to lower a bit, and more time is spent indoors, germs start to show up everywhere. That’s where prevention comes in. From the basics of covering your mouth and washing your hands, to vaccinations and wellness checks, you’ll want to make sure you’re not putting yourself at risk for getting ill or spreading your illness onto others. Here’s what you should keep in mind.

While Traveling

Whether you travel often or are just planning to, you’ll want to keep your health in mind throughout the trip. Rest when needed and drink plenty of fluids. When traveling through airports or train stations, try to touch as little surface as possible and always wash your hands. Additionally, remember to consult with your Methodist Premier Wellness physician before you travel to make sure you're up-to-date on all vaccinations and have an adequate amount of prescription medication to cover the duration of your trip.

Read more » Holiday Health Travel Tips

Throughout Cold and Flu Season

The best course of prevention for flu season is to get your annual influenza vaccine. Though it’s never too late to get one, the earlier you get it in the season, the better. It’s also important to remember to keep your lungs healthy and active, too. As mentioned earlier, you should avoid smoking, and if you currently smoke, consider quitting. Other tips for preventing illness include:

  • Staying home when ill
  • Covering your nose or mouth when you sneeze
  • Washing your hands often
  • Avoiding large indoor crowds when possible

If you have a persistent cough, tightness in your chest, or trouble breathing, discuss your symptoms with your Methodist Premier Wellness doctor. Ignoring them can lead to further infection and illness.

Keeping Your Mind Sharp

Beyond your physical health, your mental health is something that should be continuously worked on, too. The more you challenge the mind, the lower your risk for memory loss and dementia is. A few key ways to keep your brain sharp include:

  • Challenging activities like chess or crossword puzzles
  • Keeping active
  • Staying social
  • Eating a diet full of fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats

Not only can these keep your memory sharp, your chances for depression lower and it may lead to a longer lifespan.

For more ways to work out your brain, read » Top Tips For Better Brain Health.

Methodist Premier Wellness is centered on your total health: mind, body, and spirit. Whether you are home or away, we are accessible and ready to assist you! Schedule your comprehensive health exam, blood analysis, or contact Dr. Hollenshead about your health options today!