Wellness: Steps to Living and Staying Well
Healthy lifestyle habits, screenings tests, and vaccinations are important steps on the road to good health and disease prevention.
What are the components of good health and evaluating a person’s future risk of disease?
- Personal history and prior illness
- Lifestyle habits, including:
- Tobacco use
- Alcohol use
- Safety belt use
- Safe sex practices
- Family history of inheritable diseases such as breast cancer, colon cancer, diabetes, and hypertension
- Physical examinations to evaluate blood pressure, body mass index, breast exam, and so forth
- Regular screening tests, including blood sugar test, cholesterol, Pap smears, and mammography for women, and endoscopic exam of the colon
What are the specific screening recommendations for all adults?
- Blood pressure check with every periodic health examination
- Obesity screening with every periodic health examination. Obesity is determined by a person's body mass index (BMI). BMI equals a person's weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared (BMI = kg/m2). People with a BMI over 30 are considered obese.
- Fasting blood sugar test every 3 years beginning at age 45. Testing should be done earlier or more frequently if the person is obese, African American, Hispanic, Native American or Asian American. People also should be tested earlier or more often if they have hypertension, abnormal cholesterol levels, a history of gestational diabetes, a family history of diabetes in a first-degree relative, or polycystic ovarian syndrome.
- Fasting lipid profile once every 5 years after age 20
- After age 50, an annual fecal occult blood test and/or sigmoidoscopy every 5 years or double contrast barium enema every 5 years or (preferably) colonoscopy every 10 years
What are the specific screening recommendations for women?
- Mammogram every one or two years for women between 40 and 49 years of age; every year for women over 50 years of age
- Pap smear for cervical cancer at age 21, annually with gonococcus chlamydia screening until age 25
- Clinical breast exam every year
What are the recommendations for vaccinations for adults?
- Tetanus booster every 10 years, single booster dose of tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis vaccine between the ages of 19-64 years
- Pneumonia vaccine at 65 years of age, or earlier in people with chronic illness
- Influenza vaccine annually for people over 65 years of age, health care workers, and people with chronic illness, pregnant women, and contacts and out-of-home caregivers of children under 6 months of age
- Hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for all health care workers, homosexual men, people with more than one sexual partner, intravenous drug users, hemodialysis patients and patients with weakened immune systems.
- Measles-mumps-rubella vaccine is recommended for reproductive age-group women, college students, health care workers or international travelers.
- Varicella vaccine is recommended for day care employees or teachers of young children, reproductive age-group women, college students, health care workers, international travelers, and close contacts of immunocompromised patients.
What are the recommendations for a healthy lifestyle?
- Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains--at least 5 servings per day.
- Cook with oils that contain polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fat like olive oil or canola oil.
- Choose chicken, fish, or beans instead of red meat.
- Consume white rice, white bread, potatoes, white pasta, soda, and sweets sparingly.
- Include dairy or calcium supplements in your diet.
- Limit your alcohol intake to no more than two drinks per day maximum. One serving of alcohol is equivalent to 1 ounce of liquor, 5 ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer.
- Refrain from using tobacco products, including chewing tobacco.
- Strive to get a minimum of 30- 45 minutes of moderate exercise most if not all days of the week.
- Always wear your seat belt.
Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!