How to keep healthy?

Introduction

Prevention is better than Cure

It is much better to look after yourself and your body to prevent yourself falling ill.

  • Eat a healthy balanced diet
  • Avoid or stop smoking
  • Don’t drink excessively
  • Check your blood pressure
  • Exercise regularly
  • Control your weight
  • Reduce or avoid stress
  • Men - examine your testicles regularly
  • Women - examine your breasts regularly and have regular cervical smears

See below for more detailed information.


Maintain a Healthy Diet

Ensuring that you have a healthy, balanced diet is an important step towards good health. Good health is essential for leading a full and active life.
A balanced diet means eating the right amount of foods from all the food groups. No single food contains everything the body needs, so it is important that your diet is varied. Eating a balanced diet can:

  • increase your life expectancy by keeping your heart and body healthy
  • prevent many long-term illnesses
  • help maintain a healthy body weight

For more information on a healthy balanced diet please view this NHS Choices page.

Smoking

Lung cancer kills 38,000 people a year in the UK. Each cigarette shortens your life by five to six minutes. It makes your children ill – they are twice as likely to get chest and ear infections

The Quitting Timeline

  • After 20 minutes your blood pressure and pulse return to normal.
  • After 24 hours your lungs start to clear.
  • After two days your body is nicotine-free and your sense of taste and smell improve.
  • After three days you can breathe more easily, and your energy increases.
  • After two to 12 weeks, your circulation improves.
  • After three to nine months coughs, wheezing and breathing improves.
  • After one year your heart attack risk is  half that of a smoker.
  • After 10 years your lung cancer risk is half that of a smoker.

If you are a smoker and have decided that it is now time to quit we can offer you all the support you need. Just book an appointment with a practice nurse. You can book online on our appointments page.

Alcohol

Men can drink up to 28 units a week
Women can drink up to 21 units a week
A unit = 1/2 pint of beer = Pub measure of spirits = Pub glass of wine = Small glass of sherry

Alcohol can contribute to all manor of health related problems including increasing weight and reducing fertility not to mention damage to the liver etc.
Did you know a glass of wine contains as many calories as a slice of cake, and a pint of lager has the same calorie count as a small sausage roll?

The average wine drinker in England takes in around 2,000 calories (kcal) from alcohol every month.

Drinking five pints of lager a week adds up to 44,200 calories over a year, equivalent to eating 221 doughnuts! For a breakdown of how many calories each drink contains on average and how this compares to food - click here.

Try the NHS Choices Drinking Tracker to keep track on your alcohol consumption - you can get the tracker as an app on your iphone or open it in your computer desktop.

If you are concerned about a friend or relative's drinking or you yourself have realised that you may have an alcohol problem consult your GP for advice. You can also view NHS Choices Alcohol Support Page for more information.

Regular Exercise

It helps to reduce weight. It helps to relieve stress. It makes you feel and look better. Once you have found a form of exercise you enjoy, do it:

  • Often enough - Two or three times a week for 20-30 minutes
  • Hard enough - To make you feel breathless
  • Long enough - It must become part of your life for good.

Remember: If you are not used to exercise start slowly and build up gradually. Both doctors and nurses will be happy to advise you and your family about these important changes.

Stamina Ratings:

Badminton**

Housework (moderate)*

Canoeing***

Jogging****

Climbing Stairs***

Judo**

Cycling (hard)****

Mowing lawn by hand**

Dancing (ballroom)*

Rowing****

Dancing (disco)***

Sailing*

Digging the garden***

Squash***

Football***

Swimming (hard)***

Golf*

Tennis**

Gymnastics**

Walking (briskly)**

Hill Walking***

Weightlifting*

Cricket*

Yoga**

* Not much effort ** Beneficial effort *** Very good effort **** Excellent effort

Stress

Sometimes pressure can be good at increasing motivation and productivity. However, too much pressure or prolonged pressure can lead to stress, which is unhealthy for the mind and body. It can cause symptoms such as:

  • difficulty sleeping
  • sweating
  • lack of appetite
  • difficulty concentrating

Stress can in time lead to other health problems such as high blood pressure, depression or anxiety.

Trying to avoid becoming stressed or reduce feelings of stress is a key part of keeping healthy.

Men - Self Examination of Testicles

Things can go wrong with your testicles slowly, quickly or very fast indeed. A few conditions that affect the testicles are serious, but most are not so being obsessed or frightened for no good reason is undesirable. Knowing what your testicles normally feel and look like makes good sense so that changes can be spotted and advice sought quickly if needed.

Visit the Cancer Research Website which gives detailed information on methods of self-examination.

Women - Self Examination of Breasts

Breast cancer is the most common cancer to affect women, with around 38,000 cases diagnosed every year in England. Around 260 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. The lifetime risk of any woman in England developing breast cancer is around 1 in 10.

Knowing what your breasts look and feel like is the surest way of helping healthcare professionals detect a cancer early on. The earlier it is detected the more effective the treatment can be. Remember, not all changes are a sign of breast cancer. Some women have cysts or thickening of the breast tissue, which is normal.

View this breast self-examination guide here.

View this Breast Awareness Leaflet for more detailed information.

Women's Health - Cervical Smears

Cervical screening is a method of preventing cervical cancer by detecting abnormal cells in the cervix (lower part of the womb). Cervical screening is not a test for cancer, but it is a test to check the health of the cervix.

In the UK, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women under 35 (after breast cancer). About 2,800 women a year are diagnosed with cervical cancer.

The NHS Cervical Screening Programme aims to reduce the number of women who develop cervical cancer and the number of women who die from the disease.

All women aged between 25 and 64 are invited for cervical screening every 3 years (ages 25 - 49) and 5 years (ages 50 - 64). It is very important that you are screened regularly. It means that any abnormal changes in the cervix can be identified early on and, if necessary, treated to stop cancer developing.

It is estimated that early detection and treatment can prevent up to 75% of cervical cancers from developing.