When it comes to your health and well-being, what you Not doing can be as important as what you do are do. “A healthy lifestyle is the key to living a long, healthy and achievable life.” says Monique Tello, MD, MPH. “Success may require some thoughtful trial and error, but don’t give up! Here are five things your doctor wants you to stop doing. Read on – and don’t miss these to protect your health and the health of others Sure signs you already had COVID.
Ultraviolet light is a major risk factor for skin cancer, so protecting yourself from the sun is crucial, doctors say. “80% of ultraviolet light penetrates clouds. So if it’s cloudy, we still have to wear sunscreen.” says dermatologist Evelyn Jones, MD. “Therefore – 365 days a year – if you just plan and intentionally put sunscreen on wherever the sun peeks, then you’re better off and better protected.”
“You’re going to be looking for an SPF — or sun protection factor — on sunscreen of 30 or higher,” says dermatologist Klint Peebles, MD. “SPF basically tells you how much UVB light the sunscreen can filter out. For example, an SPF of 15 filters out 93% of the sun’s UVB rays. An SPF of 30 filters out about 97% of the sun’s UVB rays.”
People with compromised immune systems should take extra care to protect themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic, doctors advise. “We recommend them to wear masks even if they have been vaccinated.” says Monique Spillman, MD, PhD, gynecologic oncologist and clinical associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Texas A&M College of Medicine. “We know that their immune systems can be weakened just because of their therapies – including chemotherapy – and put them at higher risk, not only for COVID-19 but also for other infectious diseases… We urge our patients to get vaccinated.” , and I have this conversation with each and every one of my patients, whether or not they are on active chemotherapy or immunotherapy. We urge you to get vaccinated because even if your immune system is slightly weakened due to chemotherapy or immunotherapy, you may still have some response to the vaccine. And it gives you some level of protection, especially against the more severe forms of the disease.”
Excess body fat — especially in the abdominal region — is linked to a variety of dangerous health conditions, including heart disease and diabetes. “I’m a big, big fan of something very simple and very cheap, which is waist measurement.” says Fatima Cody Stanford, MD, MPH, MPA, physician of obesity medicine and associate professor of medicine and pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. “That means taking a simple tape measure, which shouldn’t cost you more than about $6, and measuring around your belly button — or navel if you want to be really fancy — and measuring the circumference. Our target waist measurement for women would be 35 inches or less. And for men, it would be 40 inches or less. If we can use that in conjunction with weight, we can determine risk stratification… When we carry weight in our belly – what we call central obesity – it increases our risk of metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease, so it’s up to us Really focus on that area.”
Sitting all day and avoiding exercise and sports is strongly linked to poor health, experts warn. “If we look at sedentary lifestyles, these are individuals who spend most of their day sitting and never move purposefully.” says dr Stanford. “And by purposeful exercise, I mean getting up with the intent to be active. Now, in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, things are looking very different because we are working from home a lot. Maybe the physical activity was just that trip to work. Maybe they walked to and from work a lot, and maybe they can’t in this more virtual age. What I would do is challenge these individuals to consider a meaningful activity. Maybe you start your day off with a workout at your house, apartment or wherever you are, or maybe end your day with something.”
Many Americans are drinking more during the pandemic — and doctors are concerned. “We have seen a significant increase in the number of patients requiring screening for liver transplantation, at least here at our facility because our team performs these screenings.” says Alёna A. Balasanova, MD, Director of Addiction Psychiatry Education and Co-Director of the Addiction Psychiatry Counseling and Liaison Service at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. “You can certainly develop liver disease and eventually get to end-stage liver disease and need a transplant. Alcohol-related liver disease is a leading cause of the need for a transplant. [It can] affect your heart too. You can get cardiomyopathy and high blood pressure, which of course can then increase your risk of stroke.” ATo protect your life and the lives of others, do not visit any of them 35 places where you are most likely to contract COVID.
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for bringing science and research-backed information to a wide audience. Continue reading