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Be Well, Be Well Informed

The Disease Prevention To-Do List

Posted on Jan 21, 2016 in Uncategorized

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It is said that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. But for disease prevention and to achieve optimal health, you may want to eat the apple and cultivate a close relationship with your doctor. “As doctors we can advise people on health issues, but achieving a good outcome is a partnership,” Natalya Denissov, M.D., a Mills- Peninsula family medicine doctor, says. “To me, it is important to meet a patient where he or she is, build a relationship first and come to an agreement on a goal or treatment. Then the person needs to take an active role in the treatment and maintenance.”

The basic building blocks for good health – eating a healthy diet, staying active and avoiding  smoking – should be coupled with regular visits to your doctor for exams, screenings, vaccinations and to address any changes in your health.

“A lot of prevention is connected to lifestyle: what we eat, how often we eat, whether we get enough exercise and enough sunshine and vitamin D,” Dr. Denissov says. Regular checkups with your doctor are important to keep tabs on health measures connected to chronic diseases and to ensure you are on a healthy path.

To-Do List for Top Health

  • Keep Preventive Care Up-to-Date: Ask your doctor which screening tests and immunizations are right for you and when they are due.
  • Know Your Body: If you notice a change that is persistent or of concern, talk to your doctor. If you don’t have a primary care doctor yet, go to mills-peninsula.org to find one.
  • Eat Your Way Healthy: Know your target body mass index (BMI) and maintain a healthy weight. Avoid processed food and eat more foods high in calcium and fiber. Enjoy plenty of fruits and vegetables. “Food is medicine,” Dr. Denissov says.
  • No Butts: Avoid smoking and inhaling others’ tobacco smoke. If you need support quitting, talk to your doctor.
  • Get Moving: Get your heart rate up and enjoy 30 minutes of exercise every day. “Movement and exercise are great for easing stress and preventing disease,” Dr. Denissov says.
  • Create Balance: Aim for life/work balance. Reduce stress and make the most of each day. Meditate or try yoga.
  • Play It Safe: Use sunblock, wear a bike helmet, fasten your seatbelt and use the right size car seat for your child.
  • Maintain Your Mind: Seek out community and supportive relationships. “Psychological health is really important. When you have good support, you just feel better,” Dr. Denissov says. If you need help managing depression or mood changes, seek your doctor’s help.

Natalya Denissov, M.D., is a family medicine doctor at Mills- Peninsula Health Services.