New Year's Resolutions. Most Americans make them. The list-toppers usually include general health goals like losing weight, eating a better diet and exercising more often. Well this year, I have a request on behalf of your urological health: add IMPROVING IT to your list of resolutions. To do so, you won't have to take away any of the usual suspects like losing weight or eating better. In fact, you can do them all at the same time and reap many health rewards. That's multi-tasking at its best, right? Here are some tips to help you along the way.
QUIT SMOKING – NOW! With all of the information that's out there about what a significant health risk it is, too many people still smoke. But know this: smoking isn't just detrimental to your lungs. Your kidneys and bladder, your body's filtration system, must process the toxins from cigarette smoke too. They weren't made for such a burden. It kills them. Literally. From the risk of kidney failure to multiple types of urological cancers, smoking is one lifestyle habit that really isn't worth it. Kick the habit for good this year. Your lungs won't be the only organs that breathe a sigh of relief.
Lower Your Blood Pressure – Did you know? High blood pressure isn't only bad for your heart. It has serious and lasting effects on your kidneys too. In fact, uncontrolled high blood pressure is among the leading causes of kidney failure in the United States. But if you start early enough, before problems arise, keeping your blood pressure at a normal rate and your kidneys in proper working order can be easily accomplished with lifestyle modifications. More on this below.
Lose Weight – Obesity is among the highest risk factors for a host of cancers, including bladder and kidney. But you may be surprised to learn that studies have shown that simply being overweight, not necessarily clinically obese, also increases risk. The great news? Unlike genetic or hereditary factors that we can't control, obesity is preventable. Commit this year to maintaining a healthy weight, for your overall AND urological health.
Eat Right – Our bodies' organs simply weren't designed to meet the demands put on them by the consumption of highly-processed, high-sugar and high-fat foods. And when they're forced to filter these substances long-term, the consequences can be severe and life-threatening. Since what goes in must come out, focus on putting the most pure, whole foods into your body. This doesn't need to mean eliminating flavorful foods from your diet. Simply paying attention to what you're putting into your body can be a great start. This year, if you haven't already, begin reading food labels. A good rule of thumb: if the package label contains ingredients you can't pronounce, don't buy it.
Exercise – We hear all the time that exercise is good for the mind and the body. It's true, especially when it comes to your urological health. For example, exercising increases the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients to your kidneys. This helps keep them in proper working order to continue expertly filtering toxins out of the body. By the way, exercise doesn't have to mean an expensive gym membership, either. Committing to a vigorous walk most days of the week will provide plenty of the health benefits you're looking for.
Get REGULAR Check-Ups – Ladies, this is a big one. Especially for you. After making sure your family members and loved ones are all cared for and healthy, you're usually the last person on your list. Often times, you take yourself off of the check-up list altogether. Please don't. This year, get a physical. Your annual gynecological exam doesn't count, by the way. While it too is important, it doesn't give you a complete view of your urological or overall health. You know, most of us don't realize how important our health is until we've lost it. Among the most important ways to stay healthy is to know what's going on with your body.
Wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year,