This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Tuesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.
Did you know that one in three Americans will make a decision to try and better themselves in the new year? With the start of 2018, it is time for each of us to think about those worthy, realistic, (and healthy) resolutions. Pick something you want to change that will make a difference in your life and you can commit to for the long term. Let us review some decisions that could significantly improve your health in 2018.
Reduce Your Stress
Everyone feels stressed from time to time. Small amounts of stress are not the problem and can actually provide you with energy. However, large amounts of stress, or stress that occurs for a long time, can lead to or increase your risk for health problems. These problems include not being able to sleep (insomnia), depression, weight gain or obesity, heart disease, cancer, and more. To help reduce your stress level, first identify something that helps you relax. Maybe listen to music, read a book, meditate, socialize with friends, or even exercise. Build some relaxation time, even just 15 minutes, into each day. If you still struggle with stress or you feel overwhelmed by stress, seek help from a healthcare provider.
Americans are becoming fatter every year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one third of U.S. adults are obese. Obesity is the leading cause of pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. Other health issues from being overweight may include joint pain, heart disease, stroke, and some cancers. While it is tempting to try weight loss programs that ‘guarantee’ quick results, there are oftentimes many hidden dangers. The proven effective program that keeps you healthy throughout the process is to follow a balanced diet and exercise routine. Reducing your intake of fast foods and sugary drinks while increasing your intake of vegetables, fruit, and higher fiber foods will give you more energy and help you lose weight. Long-term and maintained weight losses are the goals. If you have pre-diabetes or diabetes, consider education classes. Carson Tahoe Hospital and United Latino offer certified diabetes education programs within our community.
Over 480,000 Americans still die every year from tobacco use. Yet, this is a preventable problem. Quitting is tough because nicotine is a very addictive drug. About 70 percent of all smokers say they want to quit. Smoke from combusted tobacco (cigarettes) contains over 7,000 chemicals and approximately 70 are known to cause cancer. Smoking is also the leading cause of heart disease, stroke, and lung disease. This year, 2018, is your year to quit! Counseling and medication have proven to give you the best chance of success with quitting. Ask your health provider what medication may be best for you, then call the Nevada Quitline for free individual counseling. You can even complete this counseling online if you are not interested in talking to a counselor on the phone. Call 1-800- Quitnow or visit nevada.quitlogix.org. Carson Tahoe Wellness program also offers Freedom from Smoking classes. The instructor is known to be very positive and encouraging. Call Carson Tahoe at 445-7651 or email at smokefreeNV@gmail.com.
Cut Back on Alcohol
An estimated 88,000 Americans die from alcohol-related deaths every year. Drinking alcohol in excess affects the brain and can increase your risk of depression, memory loss, and seizures. Chronic heavy drinking puts you at risk for liver and heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, decline in mental functions, and cancers of the mouth, throat, liver, and breast. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, moderate alcohol consumption is defined as one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. A drink is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of hard alcohol. If you are concerned about your alcohol use or someone else’s use, local resources are available.
These are just a few healthy resolutions for 2018. Others you may choose are to get more exercise, drink more water, have a positive attitude, get annual physicals and screenings as recommended, get enough sleep on a regular basis, or eat healthy. Whatever resolution you choose for 2018, plan for bumps along the way. Change can be hard, but it is important to not give up on yourself. When you stumble as you make these changes, choose to keep working toward your positive health goals! Keep a journal to record your successes and struggles and identify your support system to give you encouragement.
Here is to your health Carson City! May this be your healthiest year ever! For more information about services and programs available to you, through Carson City Health and Human Services, please visit our website at gethealthycarsoncity.org, follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/cchhs, or call us at 775-887-2190. You can also find us at 900 E. Long St. in Carson City.