The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines chronic diseases as “conditions that last one year or more and require ongoing medical attention or limit activities of daily living or both.” These can include cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and many others. When it comes to such life-altering conditions, prevention is a good idea. And though that sometimes isn’t something you can control, there are specific lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk.
Most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. Sleep is vital for your body to recover, rest, and complete essential processes for health. Going through life sleep deprived can lead to unpleasant side effects like chronic diseases. These include depression, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. By building good sleep into your schedule, you can help reduce your risk.
A poor diet—especially one high in sodium and saturated fats—can contribute to chronic illness. Diet is often a factor in type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and many others. And while the definition of a healthy diet varies from person to person, having more fruits and vegetables, less saturated fat, and refined sugar is a good start.
Physical activity contributes to your physical and mental health. Incorporating movement into your day is a great starting point. If you’re concerned about what workout plan might be right for you, you can speak with your provider about the right workout plan for you.
Quitting smoking, or not starting, to begin with, can go a long way to preventing chronic illness. Smoking can cause lung disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke, heart disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. And it increases the risk of particular eye diseases, tuberculosis, and immune issues like rheumatoid arthritis. You can lower the risk of many chronic illnesses by avoiding tobacco.
Alcohol can have unwanted health impacts, especially when consumed excessively over time. It can lead to chronic illnesses like high blood pressure, depression, heart disease, certain types of cancer, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems. By not drinking or drinking in moderation (one drink or less per day for women and two for men), you can help reduce the risks of these illnesses.
Your preventative care routine, at any age, is its own type of health insurance against chronic illness. By keeping up with preventative care recommended for your age group, you and your healthcare provider can help address issues early. Whether you’re in your 50s or 20s, you can protect your health and look toward the future.
When you’re ready to take your preventative care next steps or incorporate a lifestyle change to reduce the risk of chronic illness, CHP can help. Make an appointment at your nearest clinic, with locations in Bozeman, Belgrade, or Livingston.