Good medicine starts with good health. Daily hygiene, exercise, and a complete balanced diet are the keys to good health. But preventative health care is not limited to the body. The mind must be constantly stimulated with challenges and information, such as memory games, reading, and problem solving.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outline healthy eating, physically activity, taking personal health precautions, managing stress, and seeing a health care provider as baseline steps for a healthy life (www.cdc.gov). By following the guidelines for good health you become actively involved in preventative health care, which can reduce the number and costs of visits to your doctor or emergency room.
Of your three meals each day, breakfast should be the most substantial and dinner the lightest. This allows the body to properly digest and use nutrition before you sleep, and prevents the body from storing the nutrition, which can lead to unhealthy weight gain. The United States Department of Agriculture has developed a MyPlate guide for all the categories recommended for daily eating (http://www.choosemyplate.gov/).
Sleep is an important part of our health and wellness, and a major factor in preventative health care. Maintaining a consistent schedule for when you go to bed and wake up trains your body, and results in a more restful, fulfilling night’s sleep. Adults should get 7 to 8 hours of sleep; teenagers and children need more sleep as part of normal growth and development. Eating habits, exercise, and the quality of your sleep are interconnected; see “Eating habits” and “Exercise” below. Studies show that eating just before sleeping prevents restful sleep since your digestive system continues to work and process food.
When seeing any health care provider, make sure they understand all of the details related to your visit. Give them a full understanding of what you are feeling, for how long, and all the events leading up to your medical condition. The health care provider should always spend time asking you questions of this nature.
Although WebMD.com, itriagehealth.com, and many other excellent health and wellness resources are available to help you learn more about certain conditions, when an urgent or emergency health issue occurs it is best to immediately seek professional medical treatment at an urgent care or emergency facility depending on the severity of the situation. Biology makes each person unique; general treatments that are found online cannot take into account individual factors, such as medication use and chronic conditions.
Taking a first aid course is an excellent way of protecting you and your family if a sudden event threatens your health. Being prepared and knowing the actions to take in a medical fist aid situation can effect the outcome of the situation and provide precious minutes until you can get the individual to a medical facility for professional treatment. As an example, if the signs of breathing distress occur, being trained in CPR knowing how to administer it along with having directions to the nearest emergency department could save save a life.
Urgent care centers are health and wellness medical clinics that work along with your local doctor and emergency room to offer you and your family medical treatment when your condition is urgent, but not life threatening. Urgent care centers can also address routine medical issues, such as physicals, chronic illnesses, and flu and vaccine shots. The list of services provided by FastMed Urgent Care clinics is available on the FastMed Web site
One in five Americans has a mobile phone. Although cell phones are a great way to store your emergency phone numbers, it is important to have a hard copy prominently placed in your home for you and your children should you not have use of your mobile phone. Your refrigerator door, office bulletin board, or another frequently used access point are great places to have a list of phone numbers, including the local fire department, police, urgent care, ER, and poison control. If you don’t have a land line, prepare for the possibility of a cell phone not being available in an emergency and plan on going to a trusted neighbor’s home to call or having a stored pay-as-you-go cell phone in a convenient place in your home.
Your annual physical will give a superficial indication of your health and allow you and your doctor to discuss any other health and wellness-related concerns or questions. Changes in lifestyle, activities, and environment can change the state of your health year to year. Your annual physical is also an opportunity to consider any minor, but chronic conditions, and determine if they could become more serious and if treatment is needed.
Regular physical activity, specifically cardiovascular exercise, conditions and strengthens muscles. When muscles are not regularly challenged and used, muscular atrophy-- the wasting away of muscle -- occurs over time. Exercise has other health and wellness benefits: it contributes to your body’s ability to regulate your hypothalamus, which controls hunger, fatigue, and the quality of your sleep. Exercise also has positive effects on body weight, the heart, and many other organs.