Health Advocate Blog

Simple steps to lower your risk of chronic diseases

Each year millions of Americans are diagnosed with preventable chronic conditions. While genetics plays a large role in the risk for chronic diseases, there are simple steps you can take to help reduce your risks and help you be healthier in general. Read on to learn more!

Quit tobacco

Tobacco use is the number one leading cause of preventable disease, disability and death in the United States, yet millions of Americans continue to participate in this unhealthy habit. Due to its addictive properties, it isn’t an easy habit to break—but it is possible! Click here and here for tips that can help you quit.

Maintain a healthy weight

Maintaining a healthy weight is part of good health. Being underweight or overweight can put you at risk for health conditions such as weakened immune system, fatigue, anemia, hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, certain types of cancer and more. Click here for tips to help you lose weight and click here for tips to help you gain weight.

Eat healthy

Follow a healthy eating pattern that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, and other high-fiber foods. Eat consistent, moderate amounts of food at regular intervals. Limit foods high in sugar and sodium.

Be active and exercise!

Physical activity and exercise can help ward off chronic disease; reduce the risk of cancer and the chance of it reoccurring; improve your outlook, brain function and sleep; as well as boost your mood, energy and confidence. It also helps to maintain a healthy weight and assist with muscle development and bone health.

  • Keep moving as much as you can and reduce your time spent sitting!
  • Follow exercise guidelines based on your age group. Learn about the guidelines here.

Sleep well

Adequate sleep is an essential component of good health. Restful sleep helps to maintain blood sugar balance and a healthy metabolism. It also plays a critical role in immune function, learning, and memory functions. It’s recommended that adults get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Get tips to improve your sleep here.

What else can you do to lower your risks?

  • Schedule routine physical exams with your doctor to assess your overall health and keep track of your personal health history as well as any symptoms that may concern you.
  • Talk to your doctor about your family health history and share any updates since your last visit.
  • Ask about age-appropriate preventive screenings and immunizations. They are among the most important things you can do to protect your health. For a list of common screenings, click here.

While staying healthy may seem challenging, remember that big accomplishments are the sum of small steps. Start by adding one or two healthy changes into your routine and as you begin to make these changes, add more until you’ve achieved your healthy lifestyle goals!