Advice from Dr. Smith
Many times, patients come in for their annual visit and I think to myself “What is something we can do today that will make the biggest difference in your health for the rest of your life? What can we do to make you the healthiest and happiest without becoming sick.”
Here are a few thoughts…
- Quit smoking. Everyone knows smoking is bad for your health. Everyone knows it is difficult to quit. No one is going to get lectured or be judged. The question is “Would you like to quit?” If so, there are several things we can do together to help you kick the habit. Here are a couple of useful links for you.
- QuitNet – www.quitnet.com
- Quitworks – www.trytostop.org
- Tobacco Free Florida – http://www.tobaccofreeflorida.com
- Diet/weight loss/nutrition. This is a complex topic but here are a few general tips. If you are drinking soda, pop, or juices and are overweight, STOP. Pay particular attention to liquid calories. One can a day of soda, juice, pop, Gatorade, beer, sweetened tea and the like can add up to 15 pounds of weight in a year. Multiply that by the amount of servings consumed each day. The best advice is to DRINK WATER.Your calories and weight are like a bank account. The amount you take in minus the amount you burn off by exercise and your basal rate of metabolism. As a general recommendation, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors (red, yellow, green, orange, red etc.). Limit white foods that typically contain excessive carbohydrates (rice, noodles, potatoes, et al.). Try to eat natural foods over packaged/processed foods. Try not to eat/snack after dinner or at least 3 hours before going to bed. Here are some recommendations.
- Exercise.This can be as simple as going for a walk everyday to get the blood flowing, the muscles moving, and the heart working with the lungs and muscles. Also, do not under estimate strength. After 40 the typical person loses 1% strength every year unless you work against this. Try to incorporate exercises to maintain strength. Maintaining strength is extremely important for maintaining independence as we age.
- Diet and exercise. Diet and exercise. Diet and exercise. That is the mantra. Here are some online resources:
- Body Mass Index calculator – BMI calculator
- General diet and exercise information – medline
- High blood pressure – www.heart.org
- American Heart Association – www.heart.org
- American Lung Association – www.lungusa.org
- American Diabetes Association – www.diabetes.org
- Control/Manage blood pressure over the long term. Less pressure on the blood vessels over time will protect against heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease and many other pathologies.
- Control Sugar over the long term to prevent/manage/reverse diabetes.
- Optimize and understand the importance of Sleep. This is a complex topic that most modern society people struggle with. A consideration for a place to start is to search for “Matthew Walker PhD Sleep” on the internet and read his articles, books, podcasts, youtube videos, Ted Talks etc.. Another good online resource is the Sleep Foundation.
- Manage Stress/Mental Health. This can be via prayer, meditation, breathing exercises, exercise, communicating with your support network/pets etc.. If you are struggling with mental health there is no shame in reaching out for help.
- Keep up with and discuss cancer screenings with particular attention to your family history.
- Consider things like Calling, Purpose, Mission, Legacy, Social Connection/Engagement, Love, Support, Communication, Learning, Striving, Knowlege, Contribution, Gratitude.
- Control chronic conditions. Diabetes, Heart Failure, COPD (chronic bronchitis/emphysema), Coronary Artery Disease, Chronic Kidney Disease, Vascular Disease and Dyslipidemia need to be managed. It is very difficult to take medications, take laboratory tests, and go to frequent appointments. However, for these types of conditions it takes hard work and coordinated care. There is so much we can do together to help you manage your health issues.
- Here are some good online resources for general health information:
- Consumer and patient health information – top 100 health web sites
- National Library of Medicine – Medline Plus
- The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) – www.cdc.gov
- The National Cancer Institute (NCI) – www.cancer.gov
- Harvard Health Publications – www.health.harvard.edu
- Washington University in St. Louis – your disease risk
- The Mayo Clinic – www.mayoclinic.com
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