Good health is something that most people strive to obtain. It allows them to enjoy their family, friends, and life in general. Unfortunately, good health isn't always a given or guaranteed. There are numerous factors, or threats, that may negatively impact a person's health. These threats may vary depending on the age and gender of the individual. As a result, the best way to ensure one's health and the health of loved ones, is to understand what their potential health concerns are and what steps can help prevent illness or injury from occurring.
When it comes to men's health, stroke, prostate cancer, heart disease, and chronic lung conditions are all common threats. One way to reduce the likelihood of many of these conditions is stress reduction. Reducing the amount of stress in a man's life can help reduce his chances of heart disease and stroke. Avoiding tobacco, such as cigarettes, can help prevent prostate cancer, heart disease, stroke and lung disease. Exercise and eating a healthy diet are both also critical in the prevention of most illnesses. Fruits and vegetables can help lessen a man's chances of prostate cancer and other forms of cancer, while limiting one's intake of cholesterol and saturated fat can reduce the risk of stroke. Diet and exercise can also help prevent Type 2 diabetes, which is another common health threat for men.
- Prostate Cancer Prevention: An article that lists ways that men can potentially reduce the risk of prostate cancer. The article's man focus is on diet.
- Men's Health: Preventing the Top Seven Threats: An article on the Mayo Clinic website that reviews seven common potential health problems for men. Following each of the threats the article lists preventative steps. The steps include heart disease, cancer, accidents, chronic lower respiratory disease, stroke, Type II diabetes, and suicide.
- Men's Health - What's the Risk?: A PDF document that lists preventative measures for ten health concerns that are common amongst men. The concerns range from cancer to Alzheimer's.
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: Brain Basics - Preventing Stroke: An article that discusses strokes in detail. Topics discussed on this page includes a definition of a stroke, warning signs, risk factors, and treatable risk factors.
- Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals: Men's Health: An Article that provides the male reader with tips on how to stay healthy. The tips review healthy eating, being active, and maintaining a healthy weight.
In order to maintain maximum health, all women should be aware of the common high risk health issues. While breast cancer is often the most publicized of these potential problems, there are also other conditions that greatly affect women. Ovarian cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease and stroke are also prevalent amongst women. Women of child-bearing age may also have pregnancy-related issues to contend with, including infertility. Early detection of some of these conditions may make a huge difference in terms of successful treatment. All women should learn how to perform a breast self-examination, particularly women over the age of 40. These examinations, as well as mammograms, may help to detect the presence of breast cancer before it can spread to the lymph nodes and other areas throughout the body. Gynecological examinations such as pap smears can also detect problems such as cancer, and should be done on a yearly basis. As with men, it is also important for women to eat properly and maintain a healthy weight through regular exercise.
- Breast Self-Awareness: An article on the Susan G. Komen website that explains what women should do to be more aware of their breasts. It includes what to look for, lifestyle choices, and frequency of testing. The article also includes a link to a video about self-awareness.
- Seven Steps to Good Gynecological Health: An article on the Canadian Living website that discusses how women can maintain good gynecological health. This two page article lists tips such as practicing safe sex, performing Kegel exercises, and having annual check-ups.
- Gynecological Exams: A Brown University question and answer page regarding gynecological examinations. It explains the importance of this type of exam and answers questions such as how often they are needed and how to prepare.
- CDC Infertility FAQs: The Center for Disease Control answers common questions related to infertility.
- Unique Stroke Symptoms in Women: The National Stroke Association lists symptoms associated with stroke. The symptoms are divided into two categories, one for universal symptoms and one for symptoms that are unique to women.
- Pregnancy Do's and Don'ts: A PDF guide that includes a list of do's and a list of don'ts regarding what women should do while pregnant.
Nutrition and Exercise References
Nutrition and exercise are critical when it comes to preventing and combating many diseases. In general, health professionals advise some form of moderate exercise on a daily basis. This may be as simple as taking a 30 minute walk. The main goal is to get the body moving. If a person is unaccustomed to strenuous activity, he or she should consult with a doctor before starting any type of exercise regimen. In terms of eating healthy, people should consume fish, poultry, lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Non-processed foods are also a healthy choice. Food items containing sugar, saturated fats, salt and sugar should be avoided. The Internet has a number of sources that can help people determine the appropriate amounts of each type of food to eat. Online sources are also helpful for people who wish to shed excess weight. The body mass index (BMI) calculator is another tool that can be found online. This calculator uses a person's height and weight to determine the amount of body fat he or she possesses. The measurements indicate whether the person is in a healthy range or if he or she is underweight, overweight, or obese.
- Super Tracker: A tool from the USDA that allows people to track the food that they eat, their physical activity and weight. People using the website can create a profile or use the general plan. It is meant to help people plan and keep track of their diet and weight loss goals.
- Eat Healthy: A guide from Healthfinder.gov that reviews the basics on eating healthy as well as advising the reader on how to take action. Information on this page includes how to read the nutrition label on food, planning meals and how to eat healthy away from home. This page also includes links to help with planning meals, recipes and other tips on eating healthy.
- University of Michigan University Health Services: Exercise: A page that reviews the three different types of exercise, their benefits, warm up and cool down, and other helpful tips.
- Choose My Plate - Daily Food Plan: An online food planning tool that allows the user to determine how much food from each food group is necessary. The user must enter his or her weight, activity level, gender, age and height.
- Stanford Hospital and Clinics - Calculate Your Body Mass Index: An online body mass index (BMI) calculator. The page also includes a list of BMI ranges, from underweight to obese.
- Ten Tips for Exercising Safely: A Harvard Health Publications article that gives the reader ten useful tips on how to avoid injury while exercising.
Senior Health Resources
As people age, they become susceptible to additional health risks. This is typically due to age-related changes that occur in the body. In some cases, these risks are a direct result of the person's environment as they may be more likely to fall and injure themselves. Driving may pose a health risk as reaction times become slower than previous years and a senior person may not be able to respond quickly enough to avoid a potential accident. Mental changes, such as dementia, may also occur and increase the risk of injury.
- Improving Home Safety for Seniors: A guide on how seniors can maintain a safe home to avoid injury from falls, burns or other accidents that may endanger a senior's health.
- Lifestyle Changes for Seniors: An article that lists ways that seniors can change their lifestyle for maximum health. It also discusses how making certain changes can decrease the risk of certain types of diseases.
- Senior Health Tips, Facts and Other Information: A page that lists health tips that are useful for seniors. Tips include adapting to the weather, diet and exercise, and health screenings.
- Tips for Sleeping Better as You Age: An article that discusses the benefits of sleep to physical and mental health. The reader will learn how sleep changes with age, how to identify sleep problems, and how to improve sleeping habits.
- Healthy Guidelines: A page on the University of Rochester website that shows separate charts with healthy guidelines for women and men. The guidelines are recommendations for seniors in general good health.
- Alzheimer's Risk Factors and Prevention: An article on the Bright Focus Foundation (formerly the American Health Assistance Foundation) website that explains common risk factors of the disease and preventative measures that can be taken.
Children's Health Resources
There are several ways that parents can ensure that their children are kept safe from disease and illness. One of these ways is to have their children vaccinated against common childhood illnesses such as measles. Children should be taught how and when to wash their hands. Generally hand washing should occur before eating, after using the bathroom, and after playing outdoors. Hand washing is one of the most useful and effective ways to prevent children from becoming sick. What parents feed their children will also help to maintain good health and prevent childhood obesity. Additional areas of concern include injuries that may occur while children are playing or participating in sports. Parents should also be aware of any potential psychological disorders to ensure early treatment if necessary.
- American Psychological Association: Children's Mental Health: An article that explains the importance of children's health, how psychologists can help, and where parents can look to find a psychologist for their children. The article also reviews how many children have mental health disorders.
- Prevention of Infectious Disease: A very brief article that explains the importance of preventing infectious disease. It explains hand washing is the single most important preventative step. It also includes links to further information on hand washing and immunizations.
- Preventing Children's Sports Injuries: An article on the Oakwood Center for Orthopedic and Neurosciences website. This article includes a list of preventative measures that can be taken, but it also includes advice on how to treat injuries.
- Health Crisis in the United States: An article that explains how a lack of good nutrition and exercise has caused an American health crisis. The article includes healthy food habits that people should have. It also discusses the importance of eating as a family.
- Childhood Overweight and Obesity: An article on the Head Start website that explains obesity and being overweight. Parents reading the article will learn what they can do to prevent or combat obesity.
Teenage health concerns often vary from adolescent health concerns. During the teen years, kids often experiment with things that can hurt them and may have long-lasting consequences. Alcohol and drug use, for example can make teens ill, cause addiction or even death. Another area of concern is sex. Sexually active teenagers may become pregnant or contract sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia or HIV. Depending on the disease, the consequences of unsafe sex can affect and even destroy the child's future. In efforts to look a certain way, teens may develop eating disorders. An eating disorder may cause other medical problems, such as heart damage, brain damage, diabetes, and even certain types of cancer.
- STDs/STIs - Reduce Your Risk: A page on the I Wanna Know website that gives teen readers tips on how to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases and infections.
- Preventing and Treating STDs: An article on the Teen Health website that tells the reader how to avoid getting an STD. It also discusses the importance of seeking treatment.
- Disney Family: How Eating Disorders Affect Teens: An article that explains how teens are affected by eating disorders. The article also guides parents in terms of what to look for and how to get help.
- Underage Drinking: A PDF that both statistics and facts about underage drinking. The article explains how underage drinking is dangerous for teens and what can be done to prevent it.
- Teen Alcohol and Drug Abuse: An overview on teenage drug and alcohol abuse. Readers will receive information on why teens abuse substances, problems that they cause, how to detect signs of substance abuse, and how it can be prevented.
- Teens and Sleep: A National Sleep Foundation that discusses how sleep affects teen health. In addition to giving the reader facts about teen health and sleep, the article also reviews the consequences of teenagers not getting enough sleep and provides solutions to sleeplessness.
By: Daniel Watson