- Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains every day.
- Limit foods and drinks high in calories, sugar, salt, fat, and alcohol
- Eat a balanced diet to help keep a healthy weight.
Be active for at least 2½ hours a week. Include activities that raise your breathing and heart rates and that strengthen your muscles.Help kids and teens be active for at least 1 hour a day. Include activities that raise their breathing and heart rates and that strengthen their muscles and bones.
Physical activity helps to
- Maintain weight
- Reduce high blood pressure
- Reduce risk type 2 diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and several forms of cancer
- Reduce arthritis pain and associated disability
- Reduce risk for osteoporosis and falls
- Reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety
Protect yourself and your family
- Wear helmets, seat belts, sunscreen, and insect repellent.
- Wash hands to stop the spread of germs
- Avoid smoking and breathing other people’s, or (second hand), smoke.
- Build safe and healthy relationships with family and friends.
- Be ready for emergencies. Gather emergency supplies. Make a plan. Be informed.
- Balance work, home, and play.
- Get support from family and friends
- Stay positive
- Take time to relax
- Get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Make sure kids get more, based on their age.
- Get help or counseling if needed.
- Ask your doctor or nurse how you can lower your risk for health problems
- Find out what exams, tests, and shots you need and when to get them.
- See you doctor or nurse for regular check-ups and as often as directed. Get seen if you feel sick, have pain, notice changes, or have problems with medicine.
Advanced Directives and A Living Will
Laurel Medical Associates believes it is important to take a second and think about your life and your health. It is important for doctors to remind everyone that we need to document when healthy, what our wishes are regarding our health wishes. Advanced directives or a Living Will, are all important things that we sometimes forget to talk about but need to. In fact, this should be documented in your medical chart as early as possible. Take time to do so. Talk with your doctor about this.
Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle
Most people want to be as healthy as possible. A major factor in accomplishing this is how we live our lives every day. A balanced diet with fruits and vegetables along with adequate rest and exercise are essential. Most would agree that the more exercise the better but at least 3 times a week for one hour should be a minimum. There is no surprise that as we do this and keep our weight down we can avoid chronic medical problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Minimize fast food and processed foods. When eating out select healthy options. For sleep attempt to get at least 6-8 hours as much as possible.
Based on scientific data, we all live healthier lives when we are thinner. The more lean we are the more we avoid health problems. More recently we mention how our central obesity (a large stomach) is related to heart disease and diabetes. We all must do our best to maintain a healthy weight. When we look at weight, it is best understood by mentioning our body mass index (BMI). This helps us to more accurately measure our weight. In addition, we sometimes need to understand better the relation of our weight and body fat percentage. There are 2 ways to do this. Have our office provide your BMI and body fat percentage to you and these numbers should be followed over time.
A normal BMI is considered 25 or less. A BMI 25-30 is considered overweight. Greater than 30 is considered obese and greater than 40 is morbid obesity.
Regular exercise, balanced diet will help you reach your goals over time. More importantly, it will also help you to maintain your goals. When needed, supplements and surgery can help. As always the risk and benefits always need to be weighed when making this decision.
Contact the office to schedule your body fat analysis and get more information on your body composition to help in your weight loss needs.
Your Physical Exam
During this evaluation we will plan to review and update your complete history including your family history. We will want to identify any needed tests that you may need to help optimize your health. Lab work and appropriate referrals are usually done if indicated. We will again remind you of the need to exercise, eat well and to routinely see the eye doctor and dentist. Appropriate supplements and vitamins will also be discussed. It is best to come to your appointment fasting in preparation for your lab work.
Vaccines, help to prevent many health problems. Some diseases have significantly been reduced because of vaccines. The vaccines have done so well, that some medical conditions rarely occur in this country. The problem now is that we have forgotten the value of the vaccine and we need to be reminded to get our booster or yearly vaccines. The following is a summary of some of the more important vaccines.
The flu season comes every year. The symptoms of the flu can be similar to a cold but it is more severe. The flu is associated with a high fever, fatigue and muscle aches. Special tests may be needed to decide between the two at times.
The vaccine is usually administered by October to help prevent this viral infection. The vaccine is intended to fight the most likely vaccine for that season. As you may know the virus changes every year which is why a new vaccine is given every year. The Vaccine usually comes in 2 forms, an injection and a nasal spray. The flu shot os an inactivated virus (killed virus) which is able to lead to antibodies that protect you from the actual virus. This vaccine is approved for people greater than 6 months of age. The nasal spray is a live but “weakened” virus. This is approved for healthy people 2-49 years of age who are not pregnant. It takes your body about 2 weeks to develop antibodies after exposure to the vaccine.
The Center for Disease and Control (CDC) recommends the flu shot for everyone greater than 6 months old, especially those at high risk of developing serious complications like pneumonia and death. This group includes those with: diabetes, kidney disease, HIV, severe anemia, asthma, COPD. It is also recommended for those 50 and above, those who will be pregnant during the flu season and for health care workers.
Remember antibiotics do not help viral infections such as the flu. There are certain antiviral medicine that can be helpful at times to help you improve from the flu infection. The side effect of the flu shot can include muscle ache and mild flu symptoms. More serious symptoms do not usually happen. Of note if you are allergic to eggs you should not get the flu shot. If you have a cold or current infection, you should avoid the flu shot until you feel better.
Experts believe that there will be another pandemic in the future. There have been 4 since 1918.
- 1918-1919: 20-40 % of the worldwide population became ill
- 50 million people worldwide died
- 675,000 Americans died
- 1957-1958: started in the Far East and 69,800 people died
- 2009-2010: H1N1 (Swine Flu)
Shingles (Herpes Zoster)
This is a sometimes painful and debilitating skin rash. It usually will affect half of the body and look like red bumps in clusters. About 1 million people a year get shingles. Shingles is a reactivation of a common childhood rash known as chickenpox. The virus never goes away, it stays dormant until we get older. The vaccine is a live attenuated vaccine given as a single injection and is approved by the Food and Drug administration for people 60 or older. This vaccine is not indicated for those with an allergy to gelatin, neomycin or the shingle vaccine. Also, those with weakened immune systems or if you are pregnant should avoid this vaccine.
Tetanus Booster is recommended every ten years.
Pneumovax or Pneumonia Shot
Pneumovax is a vaccine indicated to prevent serious infection caused by pneumococcal infection. This includes: pneumonia, meningitis, and bacteremia. It is indicated for all adults 65 or older. For those who are younger but have a chronic medical condition it is also indicated.