| Thu, Jan 22, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

Seven Habits Worth Breaking. Now.

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

habitsWe’ve all been told which habits may help a person live a long and healthy life. But what about all those unhealthy habits…the habits that can cut a life short?

Below are seven bad habits that are worth breaking and what you can do about them.

You Smoke

Smoking causes cancer, heart disease, respiratory disease and a number of other serious health problems. And not just for the person smoking. Secondhand smoke can kill or seriously harm nonsmokers, too.

The solution: Quit smoking now and your body will thank you for it. For example, twenty minutes after quitting, your heart rate and blood pressure drop. Twelve hours after quitting, the carbon monoxide level in your blood returns to normal.1 Read the timeline from the American Cancer Society.

You Don’t Exercise

People who don’t exercise tend to be at higher risk for diabetes, hypertension, weight gain, stroke, cancer, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, depression and dementia.

The solution: If it’s been awhile since you’ve engaged in physical activity, start slowly. If you’re age 65 or older, generally fit, and have no limiting health conditions, you should try to get at least two and a half hours (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, every week; and muscle-strengthening activities that work all the major muscle groups at least twice a week.2

You Have Poor Eating Habits

Skipping meals can lead to overeating and poor food choices later. If you eat processed foods that are full of fat and sodium, lack nutrition and contain too many chemicals and calories, you may be at greater risk of getting cancer, heart disease, diabetes and a number of other diseases.

The solution: Come up with a healthy eating plan and stick to it.

You Don’t Wear Your Seatbelt

Most people know they should buckle their seatbelt as soon as they get in the car, yet many don’t. This can put their life and the lives of other people in the car at risk for serious injury or death.

The solution: Buckle up as soon as you get in the car and before you start the engine. Your life depends on it. According to AAAExchange.com, in 2012, seat belts saved an estimated 12,174 lives.3

You Drink Too Much Alcohol

Alcohol abuse can cause cirrhosis of the liver and other serious problems. But did you know that as a person ages, there isn’t as much water in the body? So when a person drinks, the blood alcohol level increases. A higher blood alcohol level may cause a number of problems, like slurred speech, loss of balance and falls, and car accidents.

The solution: Talk to your doctor if you think you have a drinking problem. Medicare Part B covers certain outpatient mental health services for treatment of inappropriate alcohol and drug use.

You Don’t Get Enough Sleep

Not getting enough sleep can lead to memory problems, confusion, falls, or serious or fatal accidents. Not getting enough sleep may also affect how well your body heals itself.

The solution: Don’t skimp on sleep. Keep a regular sleep schedule to get the benefits of a good night’s sleep.

You Procrastinate When You Should See A Doctor

Not seeing your doctor may delay the diagnosis of a serious illness or the risk factors associated with a serious illness. The consequences may be immediate or may appear in the future.

The solution: In addition to going to the doctor when you don’t feel well, make an appointment for your Medicare Annual Wellness Visit, paid for by Medicare Part B. Going to the doctor in a timely manner may help to detect illness or potential illness sooner when it may be more easily treatable.

For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.

Resources:

Seat Belts: AAA Exchange.com

Medicare Made Clear: MedicareMadeClear.com

Medicare and You: The Official U.S. Government Site for Medicare—Medicare.gov

1 When smokers quit – what are the benefits over time?: American Cancer Society, December 12, 2014

2 How much physical activity do older adults need?: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, June 17, 2014

3 Seat Belts: AAA Exchange, December 10, 2014

Y0066_150105_104417 Accepted