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Twelve Health Resolutions for 2018

The New Year is a time when most of us think about changes we want to make to live healthier lives. VA has twelve resolutions that can help you improve your health and promote wellness during 2018.

  1. Get Checked: Part of your routine health care should be an annual check-up appointment. You should use this time to discuss any concerns you have with your care team. Make sure you let your doctor know all the medicines you are on, including any that other providers have given you, along with any vitamins, herbals or supplements you take. Do not forget to tell them how your prescriptions make you feel. You should also ask if there are any screening tests you may need, such as:

    • General: Colorectal Cancer Screening,Immunizations (Influenza & Pneumococcal), Blood Pressure (Hypertension), Body Mass Index

    • Women: Cervical Cancer Screen

    • Diabetes: Hemoglobin A1C, Foot Exam, Eye Exam

  2. Eat Healthy: The number of veterans who are worried about weight gain continues to grow. It's not a surprise that one of the most popular goals for the New Year is to lose weight. It's important to set reasonable goals and track your progress. There are simple actions you can take to eat wisely. Start today!

  3. Get Active: Becoming physically active has many health benefits. Just walking every day may help you lose weight and maintain weight loss. Physical activity may improve your mood or even lower blood pressure. Before starting a workout program, talk with your health care team about what is right for you. Check out the MOVE Program.

  4. Quit Smoking: If you use tobacco, the first step is the desire to quit. If you've tried to quit before and failed, don't let that stop you. In fact, the average person tries four to five times before stopping. After you quit smoking, you will probably start looking and feeling healthier. Start today by making a quit plan and call the VA quitline at 1-855-784-8838 or online visit SmokeFree Vet.

  5. Limit Your Drinking: My HealtheVet's online Alcohol Use Screen tool allows you to see how much you drink and how dependent you are on it. If you have decided to stop drinking, it may be hard to make that change all at once. It's important to talk with your health care team about steps you can take and what support is available to help you.

  6. Fight the Flu: Get a Flu shot. Having the flu can cause serious problems. People with lung disease, heart disease, asthma, and diabetes, or who are pregnant, or 65 and older are more likely to have problems if they get the flu. If you receive VA health care, you can get the flu shot at a nearby VA health care facility. You can also get your flu shot at Walgreens, and the information will be automatically added to their VA health record. Learn more about VA's partnership with Walgreens. If you have non-VA health care providers, see where you can get your flu shot.

  7. 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 doctor about what you can do to lower it. Remember that registered users of My HealtheVet can track their blood pressure as part of their Personal Health Record. When you are logged in, the Track Health "Vitals and Readings" section lets you enter your own systolic and diastolic numbers.

  8. Watch your Cholesterol: 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.

  9. Manage 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 cause. Make this the year that you and your health care team set goals to manage your diabetes best.

  10. Stay Safe: Make your home as safe as possible. Some medications can make you unsteady on your feet which put you at risk of falling. Check for dangers that might make you trip or fall such as poor lighting, throw rugs, electric cords, pets, non-skid shoes, a wet floor or things on the floor or stairs. Stay aware of your surroundings when outside too. Make sure you check for ice on the steps of the sidewalk and your shoes fit well. Let your health care team know if you think your medication is making you feel dizzy.

  11. Guard your Eyes: Protect your eyes from sun rays, eye strain, and injury. Make sure you have regular eye exams. They can detect vision problems, eye disease, and general health problems before you are aware a problem exists. This is especially important if you have specific 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 of developing eye problems. Talk with your health care team to determine what is right for you.

  12. Help Others: Take time to help others. When you want to help others, there are things you can do besides 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.

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.


Updated December 28, 2017