Staying Healthy

Maintaining good health doesn't happen by accident. It requires work, smart lifestyle choices, and the occasional checkup and test.

A healthy diet is rich in fiber, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, "good" or unsaturated fats, and omega-3 fatty acids. These dietary components turn down inflammation, which can damage tissue, joints, artery walls, and organs. Going easy on processed foods is another element of healthy eating. Sweets, foods made with highly refined grains, and sugar-sweetened beverages can cause spikes in blood sugar that can lead to early hunger. High blood sugar is linked to the development of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and even dementia.

The Mediterranean diet meets all of the criteria for good health, and there is convincing evidence that it is effective at warding off heart attack, stroke, and premature death. The diet is rich in olive oil, fruits, vegetables, nuts and fish; low in red meats or processed meats; and includes a moderate amount of cheese and wine.

Physical activity is also necessary for good health. It can greatly reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, breast and colon cancer, depression, and falls. Physical activity improves sleep, endurance, and even sex. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week, such as brisk walking. Strength training, important for balance, bone health, controlling blood sugar, and mobility, is recommended 2-3 times per week.

Finding ways to reduce stress is another strategy that can help you stay healthy, given the connection between stress and a variety of disorders. There are many ways to bust stress. Try, meditation, mindfulness, yoga, playing on weekends, and taking vacations.

Finally, establish a good relationship with a primary care physician. If something happens to your health, a physician you know —and who knows you — is in the best position to help. He or she will also recommend tests to check for hidden cancer or other conditions.

Staying Healthy Articles

Handwashing (and moisturizing) in the age of COVID-19

As COVID-19 began to sweep the country in early 2020, people who never thought too much about proper handwashing suddenly became much more diligent. Here's how to do the job right and also keep the skin on your hands from drying out. Use soap and lukewarm water (turn off the water while you're soaping) and clean for 20 seconds. Be sure to include the backs of your hands and the areas between your fingers and around your nails. Many experts recommend singing the song "Happy Birthday" twice to be sure you're washing for long enough. Rinse. More »

Are you taking too many medications?

High pill burdens have numerous risks, such as medication errors or interactions, loss of interest in sticking to stick to a drug regimen, and a poor quality of life. The trend to eliminate unnecessary medications—a process called deprescribing—should be supervised by a doctor or pharmacist. During such medication transitions, it helps to maintain a pill schedule with a log or chart that notes the medication’s time and dose, and any new symptoms that develop. (Locked) More »

Fall prevention program comes up short

A specialized fall prevention program managed by nurses wasn’t able to significantly reduce the risk for serious falls for high-risk adults over age 70, according to a study published July 9, 2020, in the New England Journal of Medicine. More »

Stop counting calories

Experts are learning that the old idea of calories in, calories out, isn’t necessarily accurate or the best way to lose weight. Even careful calorie calculations don’t always yield uniform results. How a person’s body burns calories depends on a number of factors, including the type of food eaten, metabolism, and even the presence of certain gut microorganisms. The truth is that two people can eat the exact same number of calories and have very different outcomes when it comes to weight. More »

The best way to measure your blood pressure at home

To measure blood pressure accurately at home, one should get an approved blood pressure monitor and follow a particular set of steps. These include sitting at a table with one’s arm resting comfortably on it; keeping one’s back straight and feet flat on the floor; placing the blood pressure cuff around one’s bare upper arm; relaxing for five minutes before taking the first reading; remaining quiet while taking the blood pressure measurement; and waiting one to two minutes before taking another reading. (Locked) More »

Vaccination update

As scientists race to find a vaccine to ward off SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, doctors are reminding people to get other scheduled vaccinations. Older adults are advised to get their scheduled shots to protect against flu, shingles, pneumonia, and other infectious diseases. The benefits of vaccines may go beyond immunity to the germs they introduce; vaccines may help keep the immune system stay "fit" and give people a boost when they encounter other bugs. (Locked) More »