With the New Year, many people start thinking about things they would like to accomplish during the coming year. It is a time most of us think about changes we want (or need) to make. To help you, we listed twelve resolutions for 2017 that may improve your health and promote wellness. In addition, there are also links to information and tools to help you reach your goals. Talk with your health care team about what is right for you. Together you can decide which ones are for you, where you can improve your health and what you can get done.
Part of your routine health care should be an annual check-up with your provider. Make the most of your visit by being prepared. It is important to talk with your provider. Take a list of questions you want to talk about. If you have a health concern make sure you let your provider know. Do not forget to ask if there is any screening test you may need, such as:
General: Colorectal Cancer Screening, Immunizations (Influenza & Pneumococcal), Blood Pressure (Hypertension), Body Mass Index, Lipid Measure and LDL
Women: Cervical Cancer Screen
Diabetic: Hemoglobin A1C, Foot Exam, and Eye Exam
During your visit make sure your provider does a Medication Check-up with you. This ensures that your provider knows about all your medications. What you take and how you take them. Tell your provider about any vitamins, herbals or supplements you take. Let your provider know about any medications that other providers have given you and why. Do not forget to tell them how your medications make you feel.
Lose some of those extra pounds. The number of Veterans who are worried about weight gain continues to grow. It is not a surprise that one of the most popular goals for the New Year is to lose weight. To lose those pounds it is important that you set reasonable goals and track your progress. Start today!
As the song goes, "Let's Get Physical." Becoming physically active has many health benefits. Just walking every day may help you lose weight and maintain weight loss. Physical activity can also improve a person's mood. It may help lower blood pressure and even improve blood flow. Before starting a workout program, talk with your health care team about what is right for you.Check out the MOVE Program
If you use tobacco, the first step is the desire to quit. If you have tried before to quit and failed, do not let this stop you. The average person tries about four times before they finally quit. Also, talk with your health care team about aids to help you stop using tobacco. After you quit smoking you will probably start looking and feeling healthier. Start today by making a quit plan - call the VA quitline at 1-855-784-8838 or online visit Smokefree Vet online.
Limit Your Drinking
Think about how much you drink. Take the Alcohol Use Screen to see how you handle how much you drink. If you have decided you want to stop drinking, it may be hard to make a change all at once. It is important to talk with your health care team about steps you can take and what support is available to help you.
Fight the Flu!
Get a Flu shot. Having the flu can cause serious problems. People with lung disease, heart disease, asthma, and diabetes, those pregnant, or 65 and older are more likely to have problems if they get the flu.
Know your Blood Pressure
Watch your blood pressure. High blood pressure can put you at risk for heart disease, stroke, and kidney problems. Check your blood pressure at home and each time you have a clinic visit. If your blood pressure is high, talk with your health care team about what you can do to lower it.
Watch your Cholesterol
Get your Cholesterol checked. Think about Cholesterol being like the stuff that clogs up your sink at home. Cholesterol clogs up blood vessels in your body. Clogged blood vessels may affect the blood supply to your heart and brain. This can cause heart disease, stroke, and memory problems. If your cholesterol is high, talk with your health care team about what you can do to lower it.
Manage your Diabetes
Take control of your diabetes. If you have been living with diabetes or just learned you have diabetes, it is important to stay healthy. Following simple steps can help prevent or delay some of the serious problems diabetes can cause. Make this the year that you partner with your health care team. Together you can set goals to best manage your diabetes. Learn about diabetes and what your numbers mean. Talk with your provider about managing your A1C (blood glucose or "sugar"). Make an appointment with a dietitian about your diet. Learn what foods you need to avoid. Include a form of exercise in your plan. Exercise improves blood flow and "sugar" levels.
Make your home safe as possible. Check your home for dangers that might make you trip or fall. This can be poor lighting, throw rugs, electric cords, pets, non-skid shoes, a wet floor or things on the floor or stairs.
Some medications can make you unsteady on your feet. If you take four or more medications, your balance may be upset. Illness can affect your strength and balance. These things can put you at risk for a fall. Let your health care team know if you think your medication is making you feel dizzy.
Seat belts save lives. Each time you get into a car, make sure you and those you care about buckle up. It takes less than a minute to be safe.
When you go outside be aware of your surroundings. Is there ice on the steps or sidewalk? Ice can look like a puddle of water. Wear shoes with skids. Make sure your shoes fit well and are not loose on your feet. Use hand rails when going down stairs. Check your sidewalk for loose stones or gravel. Use a flash light when walking in areas that are not well lit.
Guard your Eyes
Take care of your eyes! Protect your eyes from sun rays, eye strain and injury. When going outside, wear sun glasses that block ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays from the sun. Wear safety glasses when working with power tools or chemicals. Wash your hands before touching your eyes. Avoid eye strain by looking far away every 20 minutes when reading a book or working on a computer.
Have regular eye exams. Eye exams can detect vision problems, eye disease and general health problems before you are aware a problem exists. This is especially important if you have certain health problems such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Several things may determine how often you need an eye exam. This may include things like your age, health, and your risk for developing eye problems. Talk with your health care team to determine what is right for you.
Take time to help others. When you want to help others there are things you can do beside give money. You can spend a few hours working (volunteering) at your VA Medical Center or community clinic. You can help out with a fund raiser or community project. Give your extra clothes, food or goods to a charity. You can send a greeting card to a service member. There are people everywhere who could use your help.