With all the things that you have to deal with every day, you might neglect some of the most important routines to live a happy and healthy life. The technologically advanced world is fast-paced. Before you know it, you might have missed out on the important things already. Do not let life’s roller coaster ride blind you to what is truly important.
To live a healthy and a happy life, here are the things that you should be conscious about:
1. Blood pressure
The number of people who have hypertension is steadily increasing. Hypertension is also one of the leading risk factors for stroke and ischemic heart disease, which are the leading causes of death worldwide. A 2017 update on hypertension guidelines has set the normal blood pressure to less than 120 systolic and less than 80 diastolic. The older you get, the stiffer your arteries become, and the more conscious you have to be of your blood pressure reading.
Aside from regular check-up with your doctor, you should also monitor your blood pressure at home. Regular home-based blood pressure monitoring can help your physician come up with better treatment options. It has been shown that regular monitoring of blood pressure at home has significantly improved hypertension control.
Although automatic blood pressure monitoring devices are easier to use, they can become miscalibrated overtime.
Using a manual blood pressure apparatus and a stethoscope to monitor your blood pressure has lesser chances of getting wrong readings due to machine errors.
2. Blood sugar
Diabetes is also a growing health concern. According to a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 30.3 million people live with diabetes.
Monitoring your blood sugar is a good way to screen yourself for this lifestyle disease. Early treatment and management of an elevated blood sugar level can mitigate the complications of diabetes such as kidney disease, vision loss, and heart failure.
To monitor your blood sugar at home, you need a blood glucose meter (glucometer). This device measures your blood sugar through a small sample of your blood. The normal blood glucose level before a meal is 80-130 mg/dl. If your blood sugar gets too high or too low, consult your physician.
3. Body weight
There are a lot of fitness trends designed to make you lose weight. However, you should not go overboard. The normal body weight is different for every person and it is proportionate to your height. A weight of 168 pounds is still normal for someone with a height of 5’9’’ but is already considered obese for someone with a 5’2” height. In order to find out if your weight is normal, you should calculate your body mass index (BMI). If your body weight is not within the normal range, it’s probably time to do something about your diet and physical activity.
4. What you eat
An unhealthy diet composed of foods with high-calorie, high-fat, and high-sodium content is a one-way ticket to many lifestyle diseases such as atherosclerosis, hypertension, obesity, and diabetes. Being mindful of what you eat is a good place to start.
Find out what influences your diet. Is it stress? Is it the accessibility? The ease of preparation? Narrow down the problem and do something about it. Cut your sodium and fat intake and eat more fruits and vegetables instead. Increase the fiber in your diet and eat a healthy amount of protein.
Do not cut fat from your diet completely because certain vitamins are fat-soluble and need fat to get metabolized. Just choose unsaturated fat over saturated fat because they are healthier. Good sources of unsaturated fat include vegetables, fish, olive, nuts, corns, and soybean and canola oils.
5. Amount of sleep
During sleep, your mind processes information and memories you had throughout the day. Your growth hormones are being released, your cells repair themselves, and your body recharges to take on the challenges of the next day.
The recommended hours of sleep decreases as you age. The amount of quality sleep you get every night is proportionate to your performance, health, and safety. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the recommended amount of sleep varies depending on your age:
Newborn babies age 0-3 months old should sleep 14-17 hours per day
Infants age 4-11 months old should sleep 12-15 hours per day
Toddlers age 1-2 years old should have at least 11-14 hours of sleep
Preschool children age 3-5 years old should get 10-13 hours of sleep
School-age children age 6-13 years old should sleep for 9-11 hours every day
Adolescents who are 14-17 years old should get 8-10 hours of sleep per day
Younger adults (18-25 years old) and adults (26-64 years old) should both have 7-9 hours of sleep daily
Older adults who are 65 years old and above are recommended to have 7-8 hours of sleep per day
Be conscious of these five indicators until your healthy lifestyle becomes a habit that your older self will thank you for.