By Dr Chris Steele
The main causes of death and illness are heart attacks, strokes and cancer. Therefore, any tips for good health must involve reducing the risks of developing these diseases.
1. Stop smoking
Cutting down or changing to a milder brand is not the answer. See your doctor or pharmacist for advice and help.
If there is a history of high blood pressure, heart attack or stroke in your family you should have the following three 'risk factors' checked by your GP or practice nurse, especially if a relative has died before retirement from any of these problems.
2. Blood pressure.
If your blood pressure is high you might have further tests and then receive the appropriate treatment from your GP or he might want to refer you to a specialist.
A simple blood test will reveal the level of your cholesterol - the ideal is 5.2. Higher levels will need to be lowered by dietary control or medication.
Diabetics are more at risk of getting heart attacks, strokes and many other disorders. This can be diagnosed by having a sample of urine tested with a simple ‘dipstick' by your GP/nurse.
If you are 20% over your ideal weight you are classed as obese. Being overweight not only puts you more at risk of developing heart attacks and strokes, but also increases your chances of getting certain cancers (breast, cervix, colon, rectum, prostate), arthritis, hernias, diverticulitis and even cataracts!
Weight loss is best achieved by dieting along with an increase in your daily exertion or exercise. These changes must be permanent life style changes, in order to achieve permanent weight loss.
Try to reduce stress in your life or counteract its effects by setting time aside just for yourself. Pursue a relaxing hobby, listen to self-relaxation tapes, try yoga, find out what pastime gives you pleasure and then do it! Your pharmacist might even recommend a harmless herbal or homeopathic remedy.
Apart from helping obesity, exercise has many other beneficial effects e.g. it strengthens bones so preventing osteoporosis (brittle bone disease), it improves circulation, strengthens the heart, can help reduce blood pressure, and of course makes you feel good and more positive.
Walking for 30 minutes, non stop, every day is a simple yet worthwhile exercise, but do ask your doctor's advice before embarking on any exercise routine if you have not exercised for some time.
8. Eat fruit and vegetables
Increase your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables. Research has shown that dark green and orange fruit and vegetables (cabbage, spinach, carrots, red peppers) reduce the risk of cancers and heart disease.
9. Eat fish
Eat plenty of fish, especially herring, tuna, mackerel, pilchards and sardines as these are high in certain oils that have found to reduce risk of heart attack, and possibly arthritis.
If you notice any lumps or bumps see your doctor. Or if any new symptom arises e.g. weight loss, or any old symptoms do not go away, seek your doctors advice e.g. basic persistent indigestion might be something more serious.
- Stop smoking
- Blood pressure
- Fruit and vegetables