As the New Year approaches, you are probably making resolutions, goals, and plans that will, theoretically, make next year better than the last. Before you make those New Years Resolutions, you should take a look at the health triumphs and challenges of 2011 to help you chart a course. Evaluating five major areas can help you pursue better health in 2012.
Your Family History
If you’re like most people, you have probably blamed at least a few personal traits on your genes. Many times, you may have been right. Genetic code can determine everything from what you look like to what diseases you’re predisposed to getting. It’s important that you know what diseases those might be. If you have older biological family members that you are able to interview, ask them about the health issues in your family. Create a family health tree and write down as much as you can about each person’s health. Conditions that are closer to you on the tree, or those that appear on multiple branches, may be ones that you want to watch out for. Read up on how to prevent those health conditions and make those steps a part of your plan for the new year.
Your Personal Health
Create a summary of each family members’ health events. Include all significant issues even if they aren’t currently causing you any grief. Write down any hospitalizations, substance abuse problems, allergies, and medications. Also include ongoing concerns such as migraines, high blood pressure, knee pain, obesity, etc. Writing down all of this information will help you identify which ones have been remedied and which ones you still need to deal with. You may also identify some root causes of your current ailments.
Your Family Lifestyle
What is it like to live in your home? Does everyone spend all day sitting in a seat and staring at a screen of some sort or is your house full of movement inside and out? What does your refrigerator and pantry look like? Are they full of processed foods or fresh produce? What’s your family’s idea of a good time? Is it going for a bike ride through the woods or going to sleep with a movie playing? Identify which areas of your life could use some “sprucing up” and tackle them one at a time to create a healthier family. Start swapping out boxed foods for fresh ones. Start playing sports instead of watching them on television. Go to bed at a decent hour in a quiet, dark room. Small changes will add up to make a huge difference.
Schedule appointments right away for everyone in the family to have a physical examination by their doctor. Before you go, write down all of the questions you have about your health and list all of the little “annoyances” in your body so your physician can make sure they are nothing more. Annual check-ups help you see your own personal health trends and can also help ensure that nothing major sneaks up on you. You can also stay up to date with immunizations if you choose to have your family receive them. If you don’t have a family doctor, click here to find one.
If you suspect something fishy is going on in your body, you should ask your doctor to order further testing. Lab tests, x-rays, mammograms, and other diagnostic and screening tests can catch problems early and actually save your life. Some major health issues don’t have obvious symptoms until they are well advanced, so take the time to have these tests completed. Be sure to include tests for cancer, STDs, and heart function among other tests.
Once you know where you stand, you’ll know where you should go. Take a good look at your family’s health before the year ends and commit to making the next year your best year.