7 ways to change your lifestyle, and enjoy better health for longer

1. Why do we need to change our lifestyle to improve our health?

2. Here are 7 ways to enjoy better health; and your next steps.

3. What actions could you take?

[Time to read 5 mins.]

1. Why do we need to change our lifestyle to improve our health?

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Diseases of the heart and blood vessels are the UK’s biggest killers, causing 180,000 deaths every year in England & Wales [12]. Most of those with diabetes, die from heart and stroke diseases [4]. That’s 200 people every day.

2. Here are 7 ways to better health; and next steps.

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The UK NHS says most deaths could be prevented by simple steps:   

2.1. If you smoke, Stop sign, using a free NHS local stop smoking service. Stop smoking options: Public Health England guidance, August 2018. Smoking one cigarette per day carries a risk of heart disease and stroke much greater than expected: around half that for people who smoke 20 per day. So quit instead of cutting down [45]. Within four to five years of quitting smoking, stroke risk is reduced to that of a non-smoker [WHO].

2.2. Get to a more healthy weight with the NHS. Like to try their weight reduction guide?  Eat a healthy, balanced diet (8 simple NHS tips)

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2.3. Keep active with regular exercise – this will cut by half your risks of getting heart diseases, a stroke, diabetes or cancer [9, 11]. As Nike puts it, “If you have a body, you are an athlete.”

And most exercise is free! Check the NHS to find out – are you doing enough exercise for your age?  “Exercise is the miracle cure”, says the NHS.

video camera Watch Sarah’s video of tips on getting active, from Diabetes UK.

Would you like to choose a workout you prefer from the NHS Fitness Studio’s selection of online exercise videos? Increase them gradually. Decide on how many sessions per week.

Personal feedback, such as messages to and from your mobile can keep you going, help you set goals, recognise your successes, listen to your views. e.g. NHS Health Check’s Health and Fitness tracker – give it a try.

2.4. New advice on vitamin D from Public Health England (PHE, 2016)

The NHS confirms that research indicates that vitamin D is involved in the activation of the T cells of our immune system.

“10 micrograms of vitamin D are needed daily to help you keep healthy bones, teeth and muscles. Most people get the vitamin D they need in spring and summer. But consider taking a supplement in autumn and winter (mid-September to April). Those who don’t get out in the sun, or always cover their skin when they do, or have darker skin, should take a vitamin D supplement throughout the year.”

2.5. Why is sitting for too long bad for your health? Even if you take plenty of exercise.

2.6. Does mini coated aspirin help prevent heart disease and strokes??

Latest NHS guidance is: If you’ve had a heart attack or stroke, or you are at high risk of them, studies have shown that the benefits of taking a daily low dose mini-coated aspirin far outweigh the risk of side effects. But if you don’t have heart disease and are not considered to be at high risk of developing it, the risk of side effects (particularly internal bleeding) outweighs the benefit of preventing blood clots. The risks in younger people are fewer and the benefits, at least against cancers, are possibly greater. More research needs to be done.

Never stop aspirin suddenly. If you have been self-medicating with daily low-dose aspirin (typically 75mg in the UK) and have decided to stop, then do so gradually over four to six weeks to avoid rebound “stickiness” of your blood that could increase the chances of stroke or heart attack.

2.7. These next steps will help you: keep your weight down, blood pressure down and cholesterol down at healthy levels, improve the health of your heart & blood vessels, and lower your risk of type 2 diabetes.

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3. Actions? Decide what changes above you want to make, and decide your targets for them? Put them in your own draft healthcare plan, to discuss with your doctor.

page updated 15 Nov. 2019.  ©2019 by social enterprise Diabetes-cutmyrisks.co.uk.™ Ltd.

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