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Spring into Better Habits: Healthy Lifestyles

Healthy Lifestyles

Topics below

  • Screening Tests
  • Get Enough Sleep Every Day
  • Safe Levels of Sun Exposure (with links to deciphering sun screen lingo, UV radiation effects) 

     (scroll down)
  • No Smoking!
  • Controlling Blood Pressure and Cholesterol
  • Drink alcohol in moderation, or don't drink at all

    See also in this guide

  • Fitness

  • Nutrition

Screening Tests

Screening tests depend on age, sex, family history and risk factors. Consult with your primary health provider to  decide which ones are presently best for you, if any.
Screening tests have benefits (as catching a disease early) and associated harms as false diagnoses and overdiagnosis. The latter includes untreatable conditions.

For Professionals

For Patients

No Smoking!

Smoking harms nearly every organ in the body and is responsible for many cancers and health problems.  Cigarette smoking causes 87 percent of lung cancer deaths


How to quit? MedlinePlus—Quitting Smoking   has links including treatments and therapies as

· Cigarette Smoking: Health Risks and How to Quit (PDQ) From the National Institutes of Health(National Cancer Institute)


Get Enough Sleep Every Day

Sleep is a complex biological process that helps you process new information, stay healthy, and feel rested.

During sleep, your brain cycles through five stages: stage 1, 2, 3, 4, and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Different things happen during each stage. For example, you have a different pattern of brain waves during each one. Your breathing, heart, and temperature may be slower or faster in some stages. Certain phases of sleep help you

· Feel rested and energetic the next day

· Learn information, get insight, and form memories

· Give your heart and vascular system a rest

· Release more growth hormone, which helps children grow. It also boosts muscle mass and the repair of cells and tissues in children and adults.

· Release sex hormones, which contributes to puberty and fertility

· Keep from getting sick or help you get better when you are sick, by creating more cytokines (hormones that help the immune system fight various infections)

You need all of the stages to get a healthy sleep.

How much sleep do I need?

The amount of sleep you need depends on several factors, including your age, lifestyle, health, and whether you have been getting enough sleep recently. The general recommendations for sleep are

· Newborns: 16-18 hours a day

· Preschool-aged children: 11-12 hours a day

· School-aged children: At least 10 hours a day

· Teens: 9-10 hours a day

· Adults (including the elderly): 7-8 hours a day

More at  MedlinePlus Healthy Sleep

Controlling blood pressure and cholesterol

High Blood Pressure can be prevented by

· Eating a healthy diet low in sodium and fat and higher in potassium and whole grains

· Getting regular exercise

· Being at a healthy weight

· Limiting alcohol

· Not smoking

· Managing stress

              More at  MedlinePlus— How to prevent high blood pressure


High cholesterol can sometimes be lowered without medications as

· Healthy eating plan

· Weight management

· Regular physical activity
        More at  MedlinePlus— Cholesterol


Safe Levels of Sun Exposure

Ultraviolet (UV) rays are an invisible form of radiation. They can pass through your skin and damage your skin cells. Sunburns are a sign of skin damage. Suntans aren't healthy, either. They appear after the sun's rays have already killed some cells and damaged others. UV rays can cause skin damage during any season or at any temperature. They can also cause eye problems, wrinkles, skin spots, and skin cancer.

To protect yourself

· Stay out of the sun when it is strongest (between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.)

· Use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher

· Wear protective clothing

· Wear wraparound sunglasses that provide 100 percent UV ray protection

· Avoid sunlamps and tanning beds

Check your skin regularly for changes in the size, shape, color, or feel of birthmarks, moles, and spots. Such changes are a sign of skin cancer.

More (including related links) at  MedlinePlus—Sun Exposure

· Health Effects of UV Radiation (Environmental Protection Agency)

· How to Decode Sunscreen Lingo (American Academy of Dermatology)

· NIOSH Fast Facts: Protecting Yourself from Sun Exposure



Drink alcohol in moderation, or don't drink at all

For many people, moderate drinking is probably safe. It may even have health benefits, including reducing your risk of certain heart problems. For most women and for most people over 65, moderate drinking is no more than three drinks a day or seven drinks per week. For men under 65, it is no more than four drinks a day or 14 drinks per week.

      Some people should not drink at all, including alcoholics, children, pregnant women, people taking certain medicines, and people with certain medical conditions. If you have questions about whether it is safe for you to drink, speak with your health care provider.

Related links at MedlinePlus— Alcoho , as

· College Drinking - Changing the Culture From the National Institutes of Health(National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism)
-Tips for Cutting Down on Drinking From the National Institutes of Health(National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism)