On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence and "Resolved, that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states…” Almost 250 years later, Americans continue to value their independence and the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” But today it is not the British government, nor any other government, that is impinging on our right to be independent. It is poor health that is holding many Americans back from true independence.
With that in mind, here are 5 tips for you to stay healthy and independent:
1. See your primary care doctor and make a personalized care plan for your health. At Village, we call it the Stay Well Care Plan and it is a thoughtful care plan just for you. Your doctor has the knowledge and resources to help you with any of your health care issues or concerns, whether you are trying to manage a chronic condition or lose weight. In addition, getting a yearly check-up will allow your doctor to schedule preventive tests and notice any changes in your health. This is important as research has shown that early detection from cancer screening works. For example, colon cancer if caught early has a 91% 5-year survival rate and only an 11% survival rate if it is caught late and has spread to other organs.
2. Maintain a Healthy Weight. A healthy weight is the weight at which you feel good about yourself, have energy for work and play, and lowers your risk for health problems. You can achieve this by eating a well-balanced diet including protein, carbohydrates, and fats for energy. Another key to maintaining a healthy weight is being active for at least one hour every day. Pick activities you enjoy and that make your heartbeat faster, your muscles stronger, and your muscles and joints more flexible.
3. Stop smoking. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there were nearly 28.3 million (11.5%) of American adults smoking cigarettes and more than 16 million Americans living with a smoking-related disease in 2021. On average smokers die 10 years earlier than non-smokers, but quitting smoking has health benefits at any age, no matter how long or how much you have smoked so talk with your doctor to determine the right quit smoking plan for you.
4. Develop a pain management plan. A recent study from the National Institutes of Health showed that new cases of chronic pain occur more often among U.S. adults than new cases of several other common conditions, including diabetes, depression, and high blood pressure. The study also found that 21% of American adults suffer from chronic pain. There are many ways to help control your chronic pain, including prescription or over-the-counter drugs, physical treatments, and behavioral methods. You and your doctor should work together to choose which method(s) will work best for you.
5. Recognize and get treatment for depression. Depression is a medical illness that influences how a person feels, thinks, and acts. If you find yourself having less energy, losing interest in daily activities, or feeling sad and grouchy, please contact your doctor immediately to discuss treatment options.
A serious sign of depression is thinking about death or suicide. If you or someone you care about talks about suicide or about feeling hopeless, get help right away or call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.
We hope you enjoy a happy, healthy and safe Independence Day.