Preventing chronic diseases is essential for living a healthy life. Eating healthily and engaging in regular physical activity are two of the most important ways to reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, many types of cancer, depression, anxiety and dementia. But what exactly is disease prevention and how can you prevent them from happening? Dr. Irina Todorov, a doctor in integrative medicine, offers nine ways to prevent diseases and how to take care of yourself so you can live a better and healthier life. When looking at health statistics, consider the types of people being described.
If they are not similar to yours or if the category is very broad, your risks may be different. A general statement such as “More than half of Americans over 45 will develop heart disease at some point” is based on statistical averages from across the country. If you're younger than 45, your risk of heart disease will generally be much lower. The more risk factors you have, such as smoking, high blood pressure, or diabetes, the greater your risk.
Exercise and a healthy diet, on the other hand, can lower the chances of developing heart disease than most people. To understand the potential risks or benefits of medical treatment or behavior change, it's helpful to focus on a mathematical concept called “absolute risk.” In the example above, it could also be said that the drug reduces the risk of disease by 50%, since 1 is half of 2.Absolute risk is the likelihood that something will happen, such as a health problem that may arise over a period of time. That's why NIH supports research to improve the way that medical staff and others communicate health risks and prevention strategies to patients and the general public. For good preventive health, reduce the consumption of soft drinks, candies and sugary desserts, which can cause a rise in blood sugar.
9 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Developing Health Problems
- Eat healthily: Eating healthy helps prevent, delay, and control heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic diseases.
- Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity helps improve overall health, fitness, and quality of life.
- Know your risks: When looking at health statistics, consider the types of people being described. If they are not similar to yours or if the category is very broad, your risks may be different.
- Understand absolute risk: To understand the potential risks or benefits of medical treatment or behavior change, it's helpful to focus on a mathematical concept called “absolute risk.”
- Reduce consumption of sugary drinks: For good preventive health, reduce the consumption of soft drinks, candies and sugary desserts.
- Quit smoking: If you smoke, there is probably no other option you can take to improve your health other than quitting smoking.
- Maintain a healthy weight: If you are overweight or obese, you are at greater risk of developing serious health problems.
- Take 10 000 steps a day: Taking 10 000 steps a day is a popular goal because research has shown that it can reduce the number of chronic diseases.
- Make informed decisions: Knowing the risks and benefits of medical treatment can help you and your doctor make informed decisions.