A dollar (ringgit?) spent in preventive health care could potentially save you hundreds of thousands in reactive care and lower your overall health cost. Malaysians with our makan (eat) now, worry later attitude could afford to be more health conscious and invest in preventive healthcare to reduce the onslaught of chronic illnesses as they grow older. The Institute of Health Metrics & Evaluation for Malaysia shows our top causes of death include heart diseases, respiratory and lung problems, stroke and diabetes.
The Late 20’s – 40s
You’ve plunged into the depths of your career and possibly juggling a family as well; hopefully whilst enjoying good health and happiness – relatively unscathed by the effects of aging waiting around the next corner. Sure, you probably found a few gray hairs and sport an expanding belly now, maybe even some occasional aches and squinting to read that tiny print……but these years are still the prime of your life! You may have a hectic schedule but it’s important you make good lifestyle choices now to reduce your risk of chronic illnesses. Take care of your sexual health. It’s important to discuss contraception, STD prevention & HIV screening with a healthcare provider if you’re sexually active. Take care of your mental health. Reduce stress and talk to a health care provider if you experience prolonged feelings of sadness, anxiousness, feeling hopeless or worthless and losing interest in things you usually enjoy.
It’s like puberty all over again! Your body is changing and you can’t deny it anymore; age is starting to take a toll on your body. Your metabolism is slowing down and there is a tendency your body will start replacing lean body mass (ie muscle) with fat. Since fat burns less calories than muscle, the weight gain cycle may be difficult to break. Ladies, a heads up, Aunt Flo will probably stop paying you her monthly visits! The risk for many chronic health problems also increases naturally with age. Don’t fret, the golden rule still rings true for you!
The Golden Rule? Sleep. Eat. Exercise. Repeat.
|Most days, 24 hours is just not enough. The first thing people cut down on in their hectic lives is a good night’s sleep. However, most people require 6-8 hours of sleep nightly to function optimally. Sleep deprivation affects cognitive processes and impairs attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem solving ability; making you accident-prone. It can also lead to heart diseases, heart attacks, heart failure, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, strokes, and diabetes.
|Include plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein and low- or nonfat dairy products in your daily meals. A busy schedule may mean you have been relying heavily on processed foods and fast foods. Time to limit that quick lunch at KFC or midnight run to McD as it contains ridiculous amounts of sodium, unhealthy fat, sugar and empty carbs. Consult a healthcare provider and follow their advice on vitamins and supplements intake.
|You will look and feel better! In the short term, you get to improve your mood immediately and work off some stress (slows down aging!) and in the long term, you will lower your risk of heart disease (Aerobic weight bearing exercises) and certain types of cancer (including breast cancer) and osteoporosis (Strength training). You should aim to do 30-60 minutes of exercise on most days of the week. Take up a sport you enjoy or find a partner to push you through that workout!
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