Healthy Living

On this page:

  • Losing Weight
  • Sensible Drinking
  • Stop Smoking
  • Blood Pressure
  • More Exercising
  • Healthy Eating

Losing Weight

You will benefit in many ways by losing weight if your BMI is greater than 25. For more information about and to calculate your BMI click here. Even if your BMI is within a normal range you could still be at an increased risk of certain medical conditions. If you carry fat mainly around your waist, you are more likely to develop these problems than if you carry fat mainly in your hips and thighs. Women with a waist measurement of more than 35 inches or men with a waist measurement of more than 40 inches may have a higher disease risk than people with smaller waist measurements because of where their fat lies. 

Being overweight leads to an increased risk of many health problems such as: 

  • Type II diabetes 
  • Heart attacks 
  • Strokes
  • Some types of cancer(+increased risk of dying from cancer) 
  • Osteoarthritis 
  • Fatty liver disease 

You can lower your health risks by losing as little as 10 to 20 pounds. That amount can halve your risk of developing diabetes. 

If your calorie intake exceeds the number of calories you burn off this will be stored as fat. Therefore to lose weight you must decrease the number of calories that you consume by eating more healthily and increase the number of calories you use by taking more exercise.

Sensible Drinking

NHS advice on drinking recommends a maximum limit of 3-4 units of alcohol a day for men, 2-3 units a day for women and, for pregnant women, up to 1 to 2 units of alcohol once or twice a week. 

Click here to calculate if you are drinking too much.

Short-term risks of drinking:

  • anxiety 
  • sexual difficulties such as impotence
  • slowed breathing and heartbeat
  • loss of consciousness
  • accidents and injuries
  • suffocation through choking on your own vomit
  • potentially fatal poisoning. 

Long-term risks: 
Drinking more than the recommended number of units regularly over a long period of time can lead to:

  • certain types of cancer, especially breast cancer 
  • memory loss, brain damage or even dementia
  • increased risk of heart disease and certain types of stroke
  • liver diseases such as cirrhosis and liver cancer
  • stomach ulcers. 

If you think that you may be drinking too much visit call drinkline on 0800 917 82 82 or visit your GP. “How much is too much” is a public information leaflet from the Department of Health.

Stop Smoking

Most people know why they should give up smoking but to remind you, stopping smoking will: 

  • Reduce your risk of illness, disability or death caused by cancer, heart disease and lung diseases. 
  • Reduce your risk of gangrene or amputation caused by circulation problems. 
  • Protect the health of the people you care about by not making them breathe your secondhand smoke.
  • Reduce the chances of your children suffering from asthma or glue ear. 
  • Improve your fertility and your chance of a healthy pregnancy and baby. 
  • Improve your breathing and general fitness. 
  • Enjoy the taste of food more.
  • You can also visit the Department of Health’s website “Go Smokefree” for more information about the benefits of getting unhooked and the support that is there for you.

Blood Pressure

Having high blood pressure can increase your risk of developing heart disease, having a stroke, kidney damage or other serious conditions. 

The biggest problem with having high blood pressure is that it often has no symptoms and therefore can go undetected. If you haven’t had a blood pressure check for a while and are concerned then please arrange to come and see one of our practice nurses. Everyone should have blood pressure checks every 3 – 5 years, and if you are older, have diabetes or have previously had a high or borderline reading this should be checked annually. 

High blood pressure can be linked to lifestyle choices such as:

  • smoking 
  • lack of physical exercise 
  • obesity 
  • an unhealthy diet (especially if high in salt)

However, you may also have high blood pressure even if you have a healthy lifestyle. In order to reduce your blood pressure, you should change unhealthy lifestyle choices and your doctor or nurse may put you on medication. 

For more information please visit the Blood Pressure Association website.

More Exercising

There is overwhelming evidence that people who lead active lifestyles are less likely to die early, or to experience major illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and colon cancer. 

Regular exercise can:

  • lower blood pressure 
  • help you maintain or reach a healthy weight 
  • promote bone density 
  • boost the immune system 
  • improve your mood and decrease the chance of depression

 It is recommended that you undertake at least 30 minutes of moderate (mildly out of breath) exercise daily. These 30 minutes do not need to be all in one go. Exercise can be anything that makes your heart rate increase and makes you at least mildly out of breath. For example, brisk walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, dancing, badminton, tennis, etc.

You can even use normal activities as part of your physical activity. For example, fairly heavy housework, DIY, or gardening can make you mildly out of breath and mildly sweaty. Consider a brisk walk to work or to the shops instead of using a car or bus, etc. 

Healthy Eating

A well-balanced diet, which is low in salt and fat with lots of fruit and vegetables is a very important aspect of staying healthy. A healthy diet helps to prevent, or reduce the severity of, diseases such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes. A healthy diet may also help to reduce the risk of developing some cancers. 

Eating well will make you feel better. It is also a more efficient way to lose weight than “fad” and “crash” diets. The Food Standards agency booklet “The Balance of Good Health” gives more information about achieving a balanced diet. Lifebytes is a government website aimed at promoting healthier eating in children. 

Steps to a healthy diet:

  • Eat plenty of starchy foods 
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables 
  • Eat plenty of fibre 
  • Eat protein food (e.g. meat, fish, nuts and pulses) in moderation 
  • Do not eat too much fat 
  • Do not have too many sugary foods and drinks 
  • Do not eat too much salt 
  • Keep alcohol within the recommended limits

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