Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The ABC's of Good Health

Living a good, healthy life can be facilitated by following this simple "ABC" strategy.

A - ACTIVITY: stay active. Do things. Get regular exercise and take regular breaks if you have a desk job. Any activity seems to be helpful, including gardening, active housework, aerobics, yoga, calisthenics, or weight lifting. Identify activities that you really enjoy, then make it a habit of doing it regularly. Be an "EL-avoider" and take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever you have to go up 1 floor or down 1 to 2 floors. Don't park right next to the store when going shopping, but instead park further away so you get in a short walk there and back. Little things make a difference.

B - BLOOD PRESSURE: monitor your blood pressure and treat it if it is elevated. In most people, it increases slowly and without any symptoms. Usually, when the blood pressure increases slowly, as it does in most people, a person will not have any symptoms, no headaches, no blurred vision, no fatigue, no chest pain, and no palpitations. This means that it is important to get it checked regularly. In a way, blood pressure elevation can be thought of as a similar condition to gray hair or arthritis- most people get it as they age, and very few don't get it. The treatment of high blood pressure currently is usually very simple. There are so many alternative blood pressure medications that most people can go on one that doesn't cause any negative side-effects.

C - CHOLESTEROL: watch your blood cholesterol levels. If they are chronically elevated, your risk of an adverse cardiovascular event such as a heart attack or a stroke is increased. Again, just like blood pressure, an elevated cholesterol level is asymptomatic. You can have elevated cholesterol levels and not even know it. Now, there are some people who believe that cholesterol levels don't matter, I've seen the documentaries myself on Netflix. But the scientific evidence continues to grow and show that lowering elevated cholesterol levels with statin medications reduces the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events.

Want to improve your health and be as healthy as possible? Pay attention the these critically important issues: staying active, controlling your blood pressure, and controlling your cholesterol.

It's as simple as ABC.