Medical City Healthcare - January 14, 2022

While most of us are not seeking to become the longest-living human in modern history — the current record is 122 years — we would like to know how to add more healthy years of life. A vast study conducted by Harvard researchers found five key lifestyle areas that can have a positive impact on health and longevity. Study subjects who practiced these habits at age 50 enjoyed significantly longer lives than those who practiced none of them: 14 additional years for women and 12 for men. They were also far less likely to die prematurely from cancer or cardiovascular disease.

Regardless of your age and current lifestyle habits, it’s never too late to start making positive changes. Even small steps can lead to big improvements. Here are some actions to consider:

Get to and maintain a healthy weight

Experts say one of the best things you can do to increase health and longevity is to avoid becoming overweight or obese. Carrying excess weight can lead to chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea. According to the Arthritis Foundation, it can also worsen arthritis and joint problems, since every pound of excess weight puts an additional four pounds of pressure on your knees. That also means you can relieve 40 pounds of pressure from your hardworking knee joints by losing just 10 pounds.

If you’ve struggled with weight issues, the bariatric specialists at Medical City Healthcare provide a variety of solutions tailored to your unique needs.

Find out if you’re a candidate for weight loss surgery.

Take the fast, free heart risk assessment. 

Call (833) 612-2022 to talk with a nurse about weight-loss surgery, sign up for a bariatric seminar or find a doctor.

Get — or keep — moving

Regular exercise can support your physical and mental health. If you’re not sure how much is enough, the CDC recommends, per week:

  • 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or
  • 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity and
  • Two days of muscle-strengthening activity

You can break those minutes into bite-size chunks or go for a long run — whatever works best for you. Many fitness watches will calculate your activity minutes based on your heart rate, making it easy to keep track of your weekly goal.

If arthritis or joint pain is making it hard to move, the orthopedic specialists at Medical City Healthcare provide the full range of diagnosis and treatment for musculoskeletal conditions, including joint replacement and spine care.

Is hip or knee pain slowing you down?

Take the fast, free joint pain assessment. 

Is back or neck pain a problem?

Take the fast, free spine pain assessment. 

Find an orthopedic specialist or call (844) 374-1126.

Eat a healthy diet

What’s the newest superfood that promises to help us get healthy? It isn’t a food at all, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). It’s a word: balance. New dietary guidance encourages people to adopt broad eating habits instead of focusing on single foods. In other words, it’s not all or nothing and it’s not one size fits all.

You can create a balanced diet by choosing a wide variety of healthy foods that fit your personal and cultural food preferences. The AHS website is packed with resources that can help you plan, shop for, cook and appropriately portion healthy, delicious meals for your whole family.

If your heart needs a check-up, the cardiovascular specialists at Medical City Healthcare provide expert care for hearts of all ages.

Do you know how healthy your heart is?

Take the fast, free heart risk assessment. 

Find a heart specialist or call (844) 671-4204.

Quit smoking

For the Harvard study, there was no amount of smoking that qualified as healthy. Only study participants who never smoked were counted as having the healthy habit of not smoking.  However, it bears repeating that it’s never too late to pick up a healthy habit — or discard an unhealthy one.

The American Cancer Society recommends yearly low-dose CT scans (LDCT) for those at increased risk for lung cancer, including people who are:

  • 50 to 80 years old in fairly good health who also
  • Currently smoke or have quit in the past 15 years and
  • Have at least a 20 pack-year smoking history (1 pack a day for 20 years; 2 packs a day for 10 years, etc.)

Medical City Healthcare offers comprehensive diagnosis and treatment for lung cancer and other pulmonary conditions. Our LDCT scans use less radiation than traditional CT scans and are often covered by insurance for high-risk individuals. If you meet the criteria above, check with your insurance provider to be sure you qualify for coverage before asking your healthcare provider to order an exam. 

Drink in moderation

Most people know that overindulging in alcohol isn’t healthy, but many are unsure how to calculate the amount they’re actually consuming. The Harvard study defined moderate, daily alcohol intake as between:

  • 5 and 15 grams for women
  • 5 to 30 grams for men

If a typical drink contains about 14 grams of pure alcohol, that represents:

  • One 12-ounce regular beer
  • 5 ounces of wine
  • 5 ounces of distilled spirits

When it comes to your health, knowledge is power. From exercise minutes and portion control to knowing your own personal health risk numbers, these tools can help you add life to your years and, maybe, years to your life. 

At Medical City Healthcare, we’re dedicated to the care and improvement of human life. So, we hope you’ll Take Care!

Medical City Healthcare provides comprehensive emergency services across North Texas.

For more information, call our Ask a Nurse hotline 24/7 or use Find a Doctor online.

You can also get care for minor injuries or illness at CareNow Urgent Care or visit Medical City Virtual Care for non-emergency medical treatment from your computer or smartphone.

Sign Up for the Take Care E-Newsletter