Getting the Most out of your Health: January 22, 2019

How healthy are you? Doctors say the leading causes of death in the U.S. can be prevented through a healthy lifestyle. “When you look at the diseases or the illnesses that people die from, it’s heart disease, or skeletal muscle problems, or pulmonary problems and such, but when you actually look at what do they really die from, it’s really related to things that they do in their lifestyle,” said Dr. Salvatore Lacagnina, system medical director wellness at Lee Health.

Things like cigarette smoking, drug abuse, and high blood pressure can all contribute to different diseases. “When you take away the disease per se, and you look at the cause of the problem, it’s all related to preventable lifestyle,” Dr. Lacagnina said.

Even serious health conditions can be linked back to poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, stress, and poor sleeping habits. “The studies actually show that lifestyle behaviors are just as effective as many of the medications we use on a regular basis,” he said.

Making it important to monitor your weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure—if these numbers start to climb, it’s important to first evaluate your lifestyle. “I don’t think that we really check in with ourselves the way we should. Did I eat healthy in the last few days? Am I getting enough sleep? What’s happening with my stress level? What can I do to make tomorrow a healthier day than today was?” said Dr. Lacagnina.

Once you identify the cause behind your health problems, doctors recommend making an action plan to start improving your health. “Make sure that you're mindful of your nutrition, about your activity, about your sleep, about your stress,” he said.

All can make a big impact on your present and future health.