Mudr. Peter Tatár, Csc.
Internist, Healthcare Clinic ProCare | Bratislava
Only the remaining 10% can be effected by healthcare by the means of preventive care, early treatment and other well-known measures. Reasonable general and health education, ethical awareness and proper individual conduct in general have an indirect impact on health. On the contrary, ignorance, prejudice and health myths together with refusal to accept personal responsibility for our health harm us the most. The unacceptance of one’s position in life or social instability have adverse effects as well.
So how to live a healthier life? It is the daily balance of all the little things that is extremely important for health. These are food, sleep, work, exercise, relax and communication and cooperation within our families and communities. These are things we do every day. Their long-term significance usually goes unnoticed. However, even a small deviation gradually accumulates. Fatigue and stress stick to you with additional pounds.
Your physical condition deteriorates while the level of mental stress is growing. Long-term effects of smoking, alcohol or other drugs can cause unexpected earthquakes in our bodies. Consequences of bad habits accumulate over years and often we are not aware how they impair the quality of our lives. Some of us are brought to this realisation only by a heart attack, developing diabetes or cancer. Smoking, sedentary lifestyle and overeating are three main killers of health in Slovakia.
Fortunately, it is never too late. Introduce good habits into your life steadily. Start eating healthy. Lose some weight. Start to move, really move, and I don’t merely mean the way to your car and into the elevator. Integrate sleeping, eating well and physical activity. Harmonize your household, family, work and leisure, recreation and holidays. We can all influence the majority of these factors. And usually we all manage it on our own. It is true that most of us eat too much.
Only about one fifth of people is prone to diabetes, but anyone who stays overweight for a long time secures his bet. Healthy food consists of the right choice and quality of major nutrients – proteins, carbohydrates and fats. The same is true for vitamins, essential amino acids, unsaturated fatty acids and minerals like calcium or iron and trace elements, such as selenium and cobalt. Plentitude of liquid intake is crucial in a balanced diet. Yes, I am talking about drinking water. In addition to proper food quantity and quality make sure you distribute your portions throughout the day.
Avoid refined suugars and starch-foods (especially bread and pastry) and consume only unsweetened beverages. Eating healthy shields you from the risk of a heart attack or at least delays it significantly. Perfect health can be maintained only in a good physical condition. This suggests regular exercise – intense 45 minutes minimum of physical work or sport at least every other day.
Opt for activities that put muscles to work, for example running, swimming, cycling, hiking, any team sports or strength exercises. Good physical condition affects proper nutrient processing, a healthy heart, smooth digestion and a healthy body composition without excess fat. Dissolving stress, bad habits and mental tensions is sometimes easier with help of others – family, friends and professionals in the field of physical and mental health. The state and quality of our environment – air, water, soil, human settlements; preservation of nature just like quality and safety of food are areas of collective as well as individual responsibility. The role of medicine is not to merely cure diseases; there are also preventive obligations. Medicine must therefore focus on healthy people, too. Preventive exams and screenings can prevent or mitigate consequences of serious diseases such as cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure or cardiovascular diseases. Nowadays we live longer than in previous decades and we want to enjoy this time in full health. Yet we are still wasting a lot of years due to lifestyle choices that could have been avoided.