We all know what we are supposed to do to stay healthy. Read the list of health mistakes and decide whether or not your priorities are in the right place.
“NUMBER 11- Forgetting to Floss
It’s important to floss, says Dr. Kimberly Harms, a dentist from Farmington, Minnesota, because otherwise you’re allowing a little bacterial infection to fester in between your teeth and gums.
You might not see the negative effects right away, but over time, your teeth and gums will decay. This can lead to cavities and gum disease. It can also eat away the bone that keeps your teeth in place, which will eventually result in a loss of teeth.
NUMBER 10- Not using sunscreen
A nice tan may sounds like a good way to show off your last beach vacation, but that tan could cause skin damage — or worse. More than one million new cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
Sun damage is cumulative so every time you go to your child’s soccer game, run an errand or even just walk across the street, your skin is absorbing powerful UVA and UVB rays from the sun. “When you add up all those exposures, you increase your risk,” said Diane Berson, assistant professor of dermatology at Cornell University in New York City.
Number 9 – Skipping the doctor
You know you’ve got your physical coming up, but your boss needs that report ASAP so you cancel the appointment to get your work done. Or maybe you’re just scared of your diagnoses.
It’s not uncommon for people to skip a doctor’s visit, according to King. But, you may be putting yourself at risk for something that could be easily treated, and the longer you wait, the harder it will be. “A lot of people just don’t think about preventative health,” King said. “Do you have the immunizations you need? Have you had cancer screening?”
Number 8 – Stressing OUT!
Though stress is often seen as an emotional or mental condition, there is a physical component to it as well. Feelings of aggravation and nervousness cause the release of adrenaline, which increases a person’s heart rate. Stress can also cause chest pain, high-blood pressure, headaches and difficultly sleeping.
These problems can compound, according to King. It can become a nasty cycle, where stress leads to more problems, which, in turn, leads to more stress.
Number 7 – Overuse Of Antibiotics
Over medicating goes hand in hand with the overuse of antibiotics, the often life-saving drugs that fight bacterial infections. Antibiotics, however, don’t fight viruses.
“People want a cure for everything, but pills don’t cure it all,” McDonald said. Many patients demand antibiotics from their doctors. If the physician won’t write the prescription, some go so far as to get the drugs from the Internet.
Instead of making people feel better, the overuse of antibiotics simply creates strains of bacteria that are resistant to drugs.
Number 6 – Over Medicating
Whether it’s high blood pressure, trouble sleeping or difficulty keeping cholesterol levels down, doctors have good intentions when they fill out a prescription slip. But, seven, 10, 22 medications later, you could start your own pharmacy from the number of pills you take every day. Plus, there is always a risk of a drug interaction between prescriptions or with an over-the-counter medication or even with some foods. Dizziness, nausea and gastrointestinal discomfort are just some of the side effects of too much medication. “They actually create health problems by using too many prescriptions,” said Dr. William McDonald, a family physician with Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Massachusetts.
Number 5 – Drinking Too Much
Most studies show that one drink a day, like a glass of red wine, may be beneficial for your heart. But, more than that and you start to run into complications like liver disease, high-blood pressure or a heart condition called cardiomyopathy, which occurs when the heart is weakened and can’t pump blood efficiently.
And skipping a glass of wine one day doesn’t mean you can drink two the next. “You can’t … say I’m not going to drink Monday through Thursday and then have five beers on Friday,” King said.
Number 4 – Eating High Fat, Processed Foods
Eating healthy is usually easier said than done. Whether it’s a lack
of time, a lack of food knowledge or a lack of motivation, Americans consistently reach for processed foods when it’s time to refuel.
Food choices are not without consequences. Too much sodium, which is a staple of processed foods, can lead to high blood pressure. Fast food joints churn out products with massive amounts of fat and cholesterol, which turn your heart into a ticking time bomb.
Number 3 – Having Unsafe Sex
The risks associated with unprotected sex are also well documented. You can expose yourself to unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases like Chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV.
“It’s playing Russian Roulette,” King said. “You don’t know. It’s not like you can ask. A lot of times they don’t even know.”
Number 2 – Leading a Sedentary Lifestyle
The more you move, the longer you can expect to live, says Dr. Tim Komoto, a family physician from McGregor, Minnesota. A lack of exercise, on the other hand, leads to obesity, which can, in turn, lead to other problems such as diabetes and osteoporosis.
Research has also shown that a sedentary lifestyle causes heart disease and even cancer. It can even lead to depression. But, don’t despair, taking a half-hour walk every day can be enough to help you strengthen your heart, lower your blood pressure, decrease your cholesterol levels and shed some extra pounds.
Number 1 – Smoking
Cigarettes have a long list of downsides that include causing lung cancer, stroke and emphysema. “It’s probably the most damaging thing we can do to our bodies,” said King, who noted that cigarettes are one of the most addictive products out there today.
Despite this, the American Lung Association estimates that approximately 45 million people in the United States alone smoke and about 438,000 Americans die every year from smoking-related diseases (credit)”
Everyone makes mistakes…… be sure they don’t change the course of your life in the process.