According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 75 million Americans have high blood pressure and more than 29 million Americans have diabetes. One of the first steps towards living a healthier lifestyle is to utilize a self-assessment tool that allow you to better understand your health and feel more comfortable discussing your risk for certain conditions with healthcare providers.
Below you can find self-assessments for pre-diabetes and heart health:
Healthy eating is a habit to be developed and maintained. The government developed MyPlate as a tool to help select a variety of foods. Their website offers information on building a healthy meal, ways to promote healthy eating habits, and how to incorporate more vegetables in your diet.
The MyPlate website included a variety of online tools such as a Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator and quizzes., tip sheets, videos, food safety and recipes.
Here are a few quick tips from MyPlate, My Wins:
- Make half you plate fruits and vegetables with red, orange and dark-green
- Include whole grains
- Add lean protein
- Try new foods such as kale, lentils
- Use less sodium, saturated fat and added sugars
High blood pressure or hypertension places pressure on your blood vessels and has adverse effects on multiple organs. High blood pressure can result in stroke or heart attack or other conditions. The American Heart Association has information on hypertension and changes you can make to manage high blood pressure.
There changes can make a difference in your blood pressure
- #1 Balanced diet low in salt
- #2 Regular physical activity
- #3 Take medications as ordered
- Stress Management
- Quit smoking
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Limit alcohol
Oral health is important for overall health. There is an oral-systemic connection where certain oral conditions may be linked to other chronic diseases in the body like diabetes and heart disease. To ensure good oral health it is recommended to follow the oral health basics or brushing and flossing.
Recommendations for Good Oral Health from the CDC:
- Brush with fluoride toothpaste and drink fluoridated water
- Brush and floss to remove plaque
- See a dentist regularly
- Quit smoking and do not use tobacco products
- Limit alcohol
- Maintain control of diabetes
- If you have dry mouth, ask your doctor if you need a different medication
Oral health problems in adults may include: untreated tooth decay, gum disease, tooth loss, oral cancer, and chronic diseases.
Physical activity is important for overall health and wellbeing. If you have not been active in a very long time and are over 40, it is recommended that you have a physical examination prior to physical activity. The Dental Medical Primary Care clinic can perform the examinations and make recommendations for becoming active again. The CDC website contains access to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans that includes at least 150 minutes of exercise a week that can be broken down into 10 minutes at a time throughout the week.
Here are some recommendations for an active lifestyle from My Plate:
- Get social – activities with friends
- Move more at work – sit less, stand, stretch
- Do something new – sign up for a class, sports
- Keep cool in the pool – swim
- Stay on track – fitness tracker, use SuperTracker.usda.gov to sync FITBIT®
Go4Life is a free evidence-based resources for older adults on how to incorporate exercise and physical activity into daily life. The website offers information on four basic types of exercise: endurance, strength, balance and flexibility.
For more information:
Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
5 Steps to wind down and fall asleep
- Dim the lights 1 hour before bedtime
- Avoid looking at anything with a screen – tablet, phone, computer & TV
- 10 minutes before bedtime, do a focused mindfulness exercise
- If your mind wanders, notice that it wandered and get back on track
- Get in bed and focus on your breath
Quitting smoking is the most important decision you can make to improve your health. At the Dental Medical Primary Care Clinic, we can provide education, resources and support through the process. Louisiana has a variety of support services available to assist you to quit. Below are points to consider when deciding to quit and planning to quit.
Decide to quit
- Taking the first step may be scary, but you can do it.
Plan to quit and pick a quit date
- Having a quit date makes it real. Allow yourself a few days to firm up a quit plan. Call the Louisiana Tobacco Quitline 1-800-QUIT-NOW for counseling session with a Quit Coach®. The Quit Coach® can help you through the process. You can also visit their website at Quit with US, Louisiana
Remove reminders of smoking
- Throw away all tobacco products, cigarettes, cigars, lighters, ashtrays, e-cigarettes.
Identify smoking triggers
- Develop coping strategies to manage cravings. Establish new habits to replace smoking.
Use online resources including text messages:
Excessive stress impacts health and makes one prone to disease. Here are some suggestions and online resources to combat stress.
Fight Stress with Healthy Habits
- Talk with family and friends
- Engage in daily physical activity
- Embrace the things you are able to change
- Remember to laugh
- Give up the bad habits (alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine)
- Slow down
- Get enough sleep
- Get organized
- Practice giving back
- Try not to worry
American Heart Association - Fight Stress with Healthy Habits
Four Ways to Deal with Stress
- Positive self-talk
- Emergency stress stoppers
- Finding pleasure
- Daily Relaxation
American Heart Association - Healthy for Good
Mindful Practices for Every Day
- Try a simple walking meditation
- Mindful listening
- Loving-Kindness practice for every day
This loving kindness practice involves silently repeating phrases that offer good qualities to one self and to others.
- You can start by taking delight in your own goodness—calling to mind things you have done out of good-heartedness, and rejoicing in those memories to celebrate the potential for goodness we all share.
- Silently recite phrases that reflect what we wish most deeply for ourselves in an enduring way. Traditional phrases are:
- May I live in safety.
- May I have mental happiness (peace, joy).
- May I have physical happiness (health, freedom from pain).
- May I live with ease.
- Repeat the phrases with enough space and silence between so they fall into a rhythm that is pleasing to you. Direct your attention to one phrase at a time.
- Each time you notice your attention has wandered, be kind to yourself and let go of the distraction. Come back to repeating the phrases without judging or disparaging yourself.
- After some time, visualize yourself in the center of a circle composed of those who have been kind to you, or have inspired you because of their love. Perhaps you’ve met them, or read about them; perhaps they live now, or have existed historically or even mythically. That is the circle. As you visualize yourself in the center of it, experience yourself as the recipient of their love and attention. Keep gently repeating the phrases of loving kindness for yourself.
- To close the session, let go of the visualization, and simply keep repeating the phrases for a few more minutes. Each time you do so, you are transforming your old, hurtful relationship to yourself, and are moving forward, sustained by the force of kindness.
Well-Ahead is a Louisiana program to promote health and wellness of Louisiana residents. There are resources for four main areas of health promotion: Tobacco Free, Healthy Eating, On the Go, and Balance. Follow this link to access the website http://wellaheadla.com/