By warding off disease and illness, you can experience:
- Continuity of physical health
- Continuity of cognitive ability
- Continuity of emotional health and psychological well-being
- The opportunity to fulfill responsibilities and contribute during your personal and professional life
- Availability to family and friends
- Increased probability of a long and fruitful life
How can you productively limit your risk of disease and illness, though? Take a look at the six best practices outlined below:
1. Recognize your vulnerabilities
- Know your family history: You are a unique individual. While the illness and disease that may have plagued your lineage is in no way a certainty for you, information and understanding about family history can help inform and optimize your efforts toward effective prevention and early detection.
- Know and understand the impact of your personal demographic: Again, you are a unique individual. While the illness and disease that may have plagued fellow human beings of your same sex and race is in no way a certainty for you, information and understanding about the vulnerabilities linked to each can help inform and optimize your efforts toward effective prevention and early detection.
- Know and thoroughly understand the impact of personal pre-existing conditions: Your unique self may have a known special characteristic or previously diagnosed condition. Embrace your differences, take needed action to know more, and behave differently to optimize your efforts toward effective prevention and early detection.
- Know and thoroughly understand the impact of personal lifestyle choices: You choose how to live your life. Given the choices made, consider the risks for disease and illness tied to your chosen lifestyle. Understand the applicable best practices and take action to optimize your efforts toward effective prevention and early detection.
2. Boost your immune system
A strong immune system is built over time. The effort should include the following:
- Bolster your diet with micronutrients: Vitamins and minerals serve vital functions in your immune system. Whereas sugar, alcohol, and tobacco are immunosuppressants, fruits and vegetables help support and protect your immune system by providing the nutrition it needs.
- Hydrate more: Water is needed for every function in the immune system. Drinking only when you’re thirsty typically isn’t enough to keep you hydrated. Electrolytes are also important for maintaining fluid balance.
- Consume prebiotic and probiotic foods or supplements: Enhance the population of healthy microorganisms within the gut.
- Supplement with vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc: Boost your immune system with supplements, especially if you have any deficiencies.
- Try Reishi mushrooms: Reishi mushrooms are taken in powder or pill form to help lower anxiety and stress. They also benefit your immune system by promoting homeostasis and reducing your body’s inflammatory response.
- Workout regularly: Moderate activity on a consistent basis boosts your immunity at all ages. It works by lowering inflammation, assisting with lymphatic drainage, lowering stress hormones, improving sleep, and stimulating the thymus gland.
- Meditate: Meditation is a well-known technique for managing stress and for boosting the immune system. Meditation is shown to increase the activity of genes related to the immune function, resulting in greater cellular communication and more effective immune system responses.
- Get good sleep: Sleep deprivation over time reduces the immune system’s response to threats.
All the above will also help you manage stress, a real threat to an otherwise healthy immune system.
3. Monitor your physical attributes and performance
Self-monitoring is the first step in an effective program of early detection. As you’re monitoring, keep tabs on:
- Sleep numbers, including total sleep, restful sleep, average heart rate, and heart rate variability
- Body weight and associated measures like body mass index (BMI)
- Posture: while sitting, standing, and walking
- Amount of daily physical activity
- Ability to balance
And, of course, this should include your vital signs:
- Body temperature
- Heart rate or pulse
- Respiration rate (rate of breathing)
- Blood pressure
For each item above, know the medical benchmarks (or normal values) for your age, height, weight, and sex. Compare your readings to these norms and benchmarks to gain insight into your fitness and health.
Pay particular attention to changes in each of the above. Changes in physical condition can occur in a very stealthy manner. Be aware of any changes (e.g., weight gain, breathing patterns, worsening eyesight, etc.). Take necessary action to address adverse changes.
Be cautious of the following message when it occasionally scrolls through your thoughts and/or rolls off your tongue: “Well, I am just getting older.” Adopt an attitude of never giving in.
4. Get vaccinated
There exist different outlooks on both the need and efficacy of various forms of vaccinations, but here are some generally accepted recommendations. In addition to the vaccinations received during youth, adults should consider the following:
- An annual flu shot
- Before age 26, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine
- A booster shot for tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough (pertussis) every ten years (TDAP vaccine)
- At age 50, two (2) vaccinations for shingles (herpes zoster)
- At age 65, pneumonia vaccine
- And one month prior to travel, be vaccinated against local illness and disease concerns.
5. When you are sick, protect yourself and others
Prioritize your well-being and the well-being of others when you’re sick. Consider the below:
- Staying home from work
- Staying out of closed, public spaces like stores, restaurants, and movie theaters
- Avoiding travel on all forms of public transport
- Saying “No” to invites for personal outings of all types
- Wearing a mask
- Washing your hands and the surfaces you touch
6. Consider other preventive practices
Most life scientists and medical professionals consistently reinforce the following practices:
- Boost your immune system with a daily probiotic to help care for your gut microbiome
- Take a multivitamin, ideally, one that includes trace minerals
- Get some sun to promote your body’s self-production of vitamin D
- Monitor your stress levels and reduce them as necessary
- Practice safe sex; wear a condom
While nothing you can do will guarantee a disease and illness-free life, you can dramatically reduce the probability and impact of such occurrences by adhering with the above.
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