Many types of diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and cancer, seem to just happen, whether you take measures to prevent them or not. Environmental factors and genetics appear to play a bigger role than anything else. Others, like the novel coronavirus that has spread around the globe, seem to afflict people despite their best efforts at preventing the spread.
While you cannot eliminate every risk of disease for yourself and your family, you can help prevent the spread of communicable diseases, from coronavirus germs to the flu. You can also make some lifestyle changes that may help you reduce your risk of developing other diseases.
All too many people in today’s fast-paced society consume an unhealthy diet by default. You might not deliberately choose to eat junk food, but since it often proves more readily available than healthier meal options—not to mention, in many cases, costs less—you may end up turning to it as a staple meal anyway.
If you want to reduce your odds of disease and give your body the best possible chance when it comes to fighting off infections, however, you should take the time to choose a healthier diet. A heart-healthy diet includes healthy fats, like avocado and olive oil, while avoiding saturated fats. Most types of healthy diets, such as cancer prevention diets, include maintaining a healthy body weight to help reduce the likelihood of developing specific types of illness and disease. Maintaining a healthy body weight can also help fight off infections, since obesity can actually work to decrease your overall immune function.
Consider the type of disease you most want to prevent, including the ones you face the highest risk for, when developing your diet. A diet high in vitamin C may help fight off infection, while a diet high in dietary fiber may help fight off cancer and heart disease. Do your research and know how the foods you choose can help protect you against a range of diseases.
Many people have discovered, in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, that poorly-managed health conditions placed them at higher risk for potentially life-threatening health complications. For many, the news that they fall into the high risk category for coronavirus infection came as a rude, and frightening, awakening. In many cases, a lack of preventive care has put them at risk.
So, make preventative care a regular part of your plans. Take care of vital screenings and procedures that can help protect your health, especially as you move into your forties and beyond. Schedule regular checkups with your doctor. If you notice any signs of illness, see your doctor before they get worse. Your doctor can help you create a plan that may prevent symptoms from worsening.
Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle can lead to a host of health complications, including a significantly higher risk for many diseases. Do not wait until your health starts to deteriorate to get moving. Instead, find a plan and a type of exercise that works for you—something that allows you to reap the benefits early in life and decrease your risk of illness and complications later. You do not have to become a fitness buff or live at the gym to see benefits from exercise.
Try some of these strategies:
You know that smoking and drinking excessively can prove incredibly detrimental to your health, but you may not have considered the disease risk posed by those addictions. Smoking takes a heavy toll on your lungs and your heart, raising your risk of developing certain types of cancer and leaving you at a higher level of risk for developing diabetes. Drinking excessively can damage your liver, raise your risk of cancer, and increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Stop those practices as soon as possible to reduce your risk of developing those diseases. The sooner you stop smoking, the sooner you can reduce your risk of cancer and heart disease. If you struggle with drinking too much, consider getting help to kick the addiction entirely or reducing your drinking substantially. Your body can recover from those addictions, but the longer you wait, the longer it can take.
Make sure you wash your hands properly to help decrease the spread of communicable diseases. Even mild or common illnesses, including coronavirus or the flu, can cause severe complications for elderly individuals or those with underlying health conditions. To wash your hands properly, wash for at least 20 seconds. Make sure that you wash everywhere: between your fingers, under any rings or other jewelry, and up past your wrists.
Whether at home or at work, proper cleaning and disinfecting can go a long way toward preventing the spread of communicable diseases. Make cleaning a regular part of your routine. During times of high transmission, including during cold and flu season as well as during the coronavirus crisis, you may want to prioritize cleaning more than ever.
Make sure your cleaning routine includes:
Pay particular attention to disinfection if someone in your household or at your office gets sick. The more care and attention you pay to cleaning those surfaces, the more you can reduce the spread of disease and keep yourself safer.
Inadequate sleep can quickly cause your immune system to suffer. People who get inadequate sleep have higher rates of infection after exposure to a common cold germ, not to mention serious illnesses. Your immune system functions better on adequate sleep. Lack of sleep, including lack of sleep due to chronic sleep disorders, can also increase the likelihood that you will suffer from many types of disease, including diabetes and cardiovascular trouble. Unfortunately, all too many people across America suffer from sleep deprivation. Instead of putting off that vital sleep, make sleep a priority in your life.
Are you struggling to get adequate sleep? Try:
Stress can actively increase your risk of developing many types of complications and diseases, including obesity, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Headaches, asthma, and depression can also increase substantially along with high stress rates. Not only that, many people who suffer from excessive stress get sick more often, since stress depresses the immune system and makes it harder to fight off infection.
Sometimes, stress comes from the outside whether you want it to or not.
Other times, however, you can take steps that will reduce your overall stress levels and make you less susceptible to those common problems.
Reducing your risk of disease cannot happen with a single, one-time action. By shifting your lifestyle to keep yourself healthy, however, you can reduce your overall risk of many types of diseases, from common cold and flu viruses to more serious diseases, including heart and breathing problems, diabetes, and obesity. Many of our clients, now more than ever, are looking for ways to decrease their health risks, and these strategies can help make that goal a reality.
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