Why Preventative Health Matters
Preventative health involves taking control of your health so you can stay healthy and reduce your risk factor for disease and serious ill-health. In a nutshell, it’s about keeping yourself as healthy as possible rather than waiting for illness to occur.
Heart disease and diabetes are just two examples of health problems that can be linked to lifestyle.
So how can you take a more preventative approach to your health?
What counts as preventative health?
Healthier lifestyle choices are a vital part of preventative health.
Nutrition, self-care, weight management, drinking less alcohol, and avoiding smoking are just a few examples of preventative self-care measures you can take.
Preventative health can also involve testing for health problems to diagnose them before they become critical. Not all health problems will have noticeable symptoms in the early stages but preventative health checks can pick up on signs that could otherwise go unnoticed.
This can include blood pressure checks, cholesterol tests, blood sugar testing, smear tests, mammograms, and checks on how your heart, liver, and kidneys are functioning.
How you can adopt a preventative health approach
What you eat is crucial for staying healthy and lowering your risk of developing some health conditions. This includes diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and getting enough fibre and healthy fats can help reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Cutting back on salt and sugar is also a smart move. This way of eating can also help maintain a healthy weight, which is also important for good health.
Certain nutrients have an impact on specific parts of the body too. Calcium and vitamin D are absolutely crucial for healthy bones and reducing the potential for osteoporosis. And when it comes to heart health, you definitely want to be limiting your intake of saturated fats and trans fats while also eating a good amount of anti-inflammatory healthy fats.
Being very sedentary is linked to health problems. You may have heard that spending a lot of time sitting down raises your risk of developing chronic health problems and early death.
The science behind this is simple. Your body was made to move and spend time in an upright position.
Key muscles can weaken if you’re sitting for long periods. Eventually, this can cause musculoskeletal problems. Getting plenty of physical activity is an absolute must for helping to keep bones and joints in good condition, especially as you get older.
Your heart, lungs, and even your bowels can find it harder to function effectively when you’re sitting for most of the day. This is where regular exercise becomes even more important for protecting against cardiovascular problems and supporting your heart and lung health.
Even if you try to offset the harmful effects of sitting through exercise, you can still be at greater risk of developing metabolic syndrome. This can have potentially serious effects on cardiovascular health, in particular.
Physical activity can also improve mental health. Studies have suggested that exercise can help manage anxiety and depression symptoms.
Sleep has a major impact on overall health. Getting plenty of sleep every night can help prevent a range of health conditions. If you sleep poorly on a regular basis, you can be much more likely to develop diabetes and cardiovascular disease. You’re also more likely to struggle with your weight, which can be another factor in ill health.
And if you’re also eating an unhealthy diet and not getting much exercise, poor sleep can raise this risk factor even more.
Getting plenty of sleep is one of the best ways you can engage in preventative health since sleep is so heavily linked to wellbeing.
Avoiding smoking and alcohol
You may already know that smoking can affect your lungs but the effects can be far broader than this. Smoking also raises the risk of cardiovascular disease and can affect organs and bones. It’s one of the reasons why smoking is considered to be one of the leading causes of preventable death in the UK.
Alcohol also has adverse effects on your body, including the heart and major organs.
If you want to be as healthy as possible, smoking and drinking alcohol are definitely best avoided!