A few preventive health tips

As a former HR consultant and manager of benefit programs for a large company, I have been involved with health prevention and wellness initiatives dating back to 1994. The impact of early detection and intervention is huge for employees, their families and the company who may offer such benefits. In short, we are all train wrecks waiting to happen, so the sooner we can take stock of ourselves, the sooner we can begin some intervention and keep the train on the tracks.

I have written before about this topic, but do yourselves and family a favor and take some action to understand your health. In the US, we are the most obese country in the world and have been for some time. As we age, this obesity will cause us many problems. We are also the most medicated country in the world, which can be good and bad. The bad is we would prefer to take a pill rather than make a lifestyle change. And, note a pill can lose its veracity over time if the problem does not get better managed.

So, here are a few tips, even if you feel healthy:

  • If you do not have healthcare coverage, get it. You are one accident away from needing a “Go Fund Me” page. You may qualify for a subsidy under the ACA.
  • With this, get a primary care physician, preferably one within a larger practice, where the doctors and nurses can see you on Saturday or even Sunday, if something arises.
  • Know your numbers. Blood pressure, BMI, weight, cholesterol, etc.
  • Know your history both familial and geographic. The environment you grew up in can impact you as much as your family genes.
  • If in your 50s, get a colonoscopy – there is no better prevention test out there, as the doctor can fix some things during the test and confirm any future problems.
  • If a woman and in your 40s, or sooner if you have a history, get a mammogram. We ran a mobile mammogram program in the 1990s and tested 11,000 female employees or spouses. The tests found 11 cancers. The testers also showed women how to better do a self-exam.
  • Take your medicines all the way through. People usually stop taking medicine when they feel better
  • Walk, walk, walk more. If you don’t like exercise, walk. After dinner, short errands.
  • If you smoke, find a way to stop. Nothing good comes from smoking. And, for you young folks. it does not look cool. It looks stupid.
  • If you self-medicate with illicit drugs or alcohol, see a counselor or your doctor about stopping. I have not had a drink in eight years, as I was an accident waiting to happen.
  • Do not supersize the fast food and reduce the number of fast food meals. Some of these restaurants, actually have healthier options, so check them out.

There are many more things you could do, but if you do a few of these, you will be better off. Note, I am not a doctor, so please do not construe any of this as medical advice.


11 thoughts on “A few preventive health tips

  1. Sound advice! My grandma smoked, and tried to stop several times, but it was so hard. I think she could have lived longer if she had not had that habit for most of her life.

    • Emily, thanks. Is the grandma who just passed, the one in the great picture with you? I don’t smoke because my dad did. He finally quit in his 60s and he lived until almost 76, but could have been in better health those last several years had he stopped sooner. Thanks for commenting, Keith

  2. Very good advice indeed! Little changes in your daily life go a long way. I just lost a childhood friend, who literally stepped out of bed and died at 52. I’m not a doctor either, but when I saw the photos at his funeral I knew he was a hot mess.

  3. Note to Readers: I left this off, but as a now 57 year old who was athletic in high school, I have done many different exercise routines that I stopped and started and so on. Find a sustainable routine, be it walking, jogging, Pilates, Yoga, etc. and do something daily. Trainers used to say it needs to be thirty minutes to serve a purpose. I do not find this to be true. If you do something for ten or fifteen minutes a day it will make a difference in this layperson’s view. If something hurts your back, don’t do that exercise – some Pilates and Yoga are not for all, especially big tall guys like me.

  4. Note to Readers: Another item that will serve you well is to keep you and your doctor informed. Tell your doctor the truth – how many drinks per night, how often do you smoke, how often do you exercise, etc. They cannot help you if you are not forthcoming. Also, write down your questions as the “white coat fear” can make you forget, meaning the color of the doctor’s coat. If you are uncomfortable, it is OK to have an advocate with you. Finally, let the doctor know all the drugs you are taking – some drugs are contraemptive while others are toxic when taken together.

  5. Note to Readers: I included this in a current post, but if you ride a motorcycle, please use a helmet, irrespective of state law. In Florida, who repealed their helmet requirement a couple of years ago, they have seen a significant increase in motorcycle fatalities and head injuries. One hospital noted that a survivor of a motorcycle crash without a helmet will average cost of $1.2 million. If you don’t have insurance and don’t use a helmet, you are not being very wise. Not to personalize it, but a boyhood friend has permanent brain damage after such a crash in my hometown.

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