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Prevention is Better Than a Cure!

9th, April 2020

Prevention creates the right conditions for good health and wellbeing, and early prevention is key when it comes to our health, helping us to live well for longer.

It’s good to be able to recognise the causes of ill health and to be able to put in place a way of life that will contribute to a healthier and longer life. Dr Lisa Neligan, Private GP at Kingsbridge Private Hospital and the Maypole Clinic provides us with some information to think about when it comes to ill health prevention. 
 
Ill health is usually preventable in many cases, so we must focus on the main causes which can include:

  • Our diets and behaviours
  • Our knowledge and education around good health
  • Financial resources
  • Environmental threats such as air pollution

It is essential to think about how these causes can have an effect on our lives and our families lives, especially our children. The first 2 years of a child’s life should include positive early experiences as this is when they absorb information and adapt to their surroundings ensuring they are ready to learn and have good life chances.

Our Health Matters Because:

Good physical and mental health is central to our happiness - To encourage and to gain the full benefits of a healthy lifestyle, we must think about both our physical health and our mental health for ourselves, our families and our friends.  

A healthy nation is vital for a strong economy - In turn this will boost employment and productivity instead of hindering it. Ill health amongst working-age people alone costs the economy around £100 billion a year.

Better health reduces pressure on our healthcare systems - To think about how we can prevent ill health before having to source a cure can relieve the huge pressure that is already on our healthcare workers and facilities resulting in better medicine and treatment for everyone, especially when it comes to more serious illnesses.
 
- Department of Health and Social Care

So, how can we prevent ill health?

Firstly, we must focus on our lifestyles!

Our Physical Health:

Physical Activity: Whether you are involved in regular sporting activities or you are wanting to incorporate more physical activity into your daily routine, it is best to build yourself up gradually. If it is something you haven’t tried before, make sure to think about your health first and be realistic about what you can take on initially. A warmup and cool down are also essential to help avoid strains on your muscles. If you have recently incurred an injury, make sure to rest and give your body the time it needs to recover!
 
Cut Back on Excessive Amounts of Alcohol: Alcohol contributes to over a million hospital admissions a year and is linked to problems such as heart and liver disease, depression and physical violence. New advice says men and women who drink regularly should consume no more than 14 units a week (equivalent to six pints of beer or seven glasses of wine.) - NHS
 
Smoking Cessation: Cutting out smoking is a major priority when it comes to preventing ill health. While rates are decreasing, there are still many that smoke and this contributes to the number one cause of ill health and early death.

Our Mental Health:

Depression and Anxiety are among the main types of mental health illnesses to have risen. Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year however, there are various ways to combat low moods and anxious thoughts. These include:

  • Exercise on a regular basis: This can consist of daily walks, runs or home workouts. Make sure to only do what you can initially and build yourself up over a period time. Movement releases endorphins which are chemicals produced naturally by the nervous system to cope with pain or stress. They are often called “feel-good” chemicals because they can act as a pain reliever and happiness booster. - Medical News Today
  • Include Mood Boosting Foods into a Healthy Diet: A healthy varied diet is essential to help your overall mental health as unhealthy processed and sugary foods can leave us feeling sluggish and unmotivated. Foods such as oily fish, bananas, dark chocolate, oats and berries can have mood boosting qualities because of the vitamins and minerals they obtain. -  Healthline
  • Stay Connected: Social connections are important, and we must remember to check in on each other. Research shows that loneliness is associated with increased risk of depression, low self-esteem, sleep problems and higher stress levels. Especially during the current situation, we are very lucky that we have so many ways to communicate now and we must look out for each other more than ever.

We must also think about our Environment!

At Work: If you have a very manual job, then your workforce should have the correct equipment and precautions in place with safety standards in place making sure that the work environment is a protected place to work for you and your colleagues.
 
At home: We must make sure our housing standards are up to date and checked on a regular basis. This includes our electricity and gas, keeping things out of reach of children and being cautious when cooking. Always be vigilant to anything that seems out of the ordinary.
 
We all want longer, healthier, more independent lives and so we must all work together and think about how we can help prevent ill health for ourselves and our families. This will also create a positive effect on external factors and create a better way of life for everyone.

Sources:

Gov - https://bit.ly/34nX871
Public Health - https://publichealthengland.exposure.co/az-of-the-root-causes-of-ill-health
Medical News - https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320839
Healthline - https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/mood-food#2.-Dark-chocolate
NHS - https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/alcohol-support/calculating-alcohol-units/


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