Thanks to the instant connectivity of the Internet, a glut of information on how to lead a healthy lifestyle is available for perusing. However, many of us still succumb to certain unhealthy habits that, if left unchecked, can lead to a poor quality of life and a chance of decreased longevity.
Smoking has been linked to an increased risk of acquiring several deadly conditions, including heart disease and a variety of cancers, including throat and lung cancers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking is directly responsible for 443,000 deaths annually in the United States of America. On a more vain note, the chemicals in cigarettes can lead to the loss of elasticity in the skin, creating the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
2. Excessive drinking
Doctors advise men to have no more than two drinks per day, while women should only have one drink per day. Additionally, some studies have shown there are benefits to controlled drinking, specifically if the drink in question is red wine. However, excessive drinking, or binge drinking, can cause irreparable harm to internal organs, particularly the liver. Binge drinking is loosely defined as five drinks in a row for men, or four drinks in a row for women.
3. Unprotected sun exposure
Tanning can not only lead to wrinkles and sun spots, but sun damage can lead to skin cancer. A person can prevent this by wearing sunscreen, avoiding sun exposure during the midday hours and avoiding the use of tanning beds.
4. Drug use
The use of illegal drugs, or abusing prescription drugs, can cause damage to internal organs as well as create impaired judgment which leads to other unhealthy decisions, like having unprotected sex.
5. Poor diet
Professional organizations like the American Heart Association have denounced what they call the Standard American Diet – a diet high in fat and low in fruits and vegetables. A high-fat, high-calorie diet not only leads to a larger waistline, but it causes the constriction and blockage of arteries. This leads to conditions like stroke, heart attack, aneurysm and high blood pressure. Furthermore, the Standard American Diet is often high in sugar and refined carbohydrates, both of which can lead to diabetes.
6. Lack of exercise
Research shows that a sedentary lifestyle can lead to an increased chance of early death. It is recommended that an individual takes 10,000 steps per day in addition to at least 45 minutes of exercise three to four times a week. Exercising should be a mixture of cardiovascular activities, like running or swimming, and weight-lifting exercises.
7. Lack of social support
Research has found that people with strong support systems in their family and friends enjoy less stress, better health and a longer lifespan than their lonelier counterparts.
8. Poor hygiene
Basic hygiene is an important factor in maintaining good health. Not washing your hands regularly can lead to the spread of illness, like the flu and common cold. Not flossing can lead to tooth decay and gingivitis, as well as a case of bad breath.
9. High levels of stress
High levels of stress can cause disease later in life, including increasing your chances of developing dementia. High stress levels also increase the body’s production of cortisol, a hormone which can cause fat retention. Melt stress away by exercising, getting enough sleep and finding a relaxing hobby to engage your mind.
10. Not regularly visiting the doctor
Prevention is key in good health. Regular visits to the doctor help her keep track of your vital statistics, including any changes in blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Routine screenings like breast exams and colon screenings should also be done as recommended based on your gender, age and family history of illness.