7 resolutions that will get you on a healthy track

December 26, 2016 | by Laura Setlur, M.D.
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

The holiday season is in full swing with parties and school events. As we reach the end of the year, the question of New Year’s resolutions often is brought up by family and friends. Make your health a top priority this year by resolving to make a few healthy changes.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends seven areas to focus on, from blood pressure and cholesterol to eating better and increasing activity level. The AHA calls them “Life’s Simple 7.”

Even small changes in your lifestyle – starting to exercise and losing a few pounds – can make a difference in your overall health.

  • Get your blood pressure under control. Higher blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • Keep cholesterol in check. High cholesterol can cause plaque buildup in the arteries and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • Cut your sugar intake. High blood sugar ranges in those with pre-diabetes and diabetes can cause damage to many organs including the eyes, kidneys, nerves and heart.
  • Get active every day. In addition to improving mood and helping with stress management, exercise can improve overall health and the above risk factors.
  • Eat healthier food. A healthy diet heavy on fruits and vegetables helps you feel better and lose weight.
  • Lose weight. Being overweight puts extra physical stress on your body. If you need to lose weight, consider meeting with a dietitian and ask your doctor if the Edward Weight Loss Clinic is right for you.
  • Stop smoking. Not only can smoking cigarettes lead to lung cancer, smoking also increases your risk of heart disease. Talk to your doctor about smoking cessation aids and resources to help you quit. Pick a quit date. Enlist the help of your family and friends.

If this seems like a tall order, consider this: These changes often have a domino effect. For instance, focusing on healthier eating and staying active will lead to weight loss. If you quit smoking, your blood pressure will improve.

Losing just 5 percent of your body weight can decrease blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol, and sometimes the reductions are enough to no longer need medications.

Resolve to live a healthier life! You don’t even have to wait until Jan. 1 to start.

New Year’s Resolutions are a great way to improve your life.

Please join Yolanda Co, M.D., internal medicine physician with Elmhurst Memorial Medical Group and on staff at Elmhurst Hospital, at noon on Jan. 19 at Elmhurst Hospital as she speaks about setting healthy goals for you and your family for the New Year! Admission is free. Register at EEHealth.org.

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