101 Most Dangerous Health Habits, According to Doctors

The coronavirus crisis has made this clearer than ever: your health is in your hands. So eat this, not that! Health summarized what health professionals consider the absolute worst things you can do for your health, as well as quick and easy recommendations for what to do instead, based on the latest scientific evidence. "Start with just one healthy habit and build on that by adding one more and then another until you have a strong foundation," advises Ilana Muhlstein, MS, RD. Read all of them, then choose 5, 10, or 20 to give up and regain control of your health. And to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these safe signs you've already had with coronavirus.
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African American man wearing red sweater walking the city streets during the day putting on a face mask against air pollution and Covid19 coronavirus.
They are frustrated with the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus and maybe even angry that the economy didn't restart fast enough. Yet it is important that you continue to listen to the authorities when it comes to your health and safety and the health and safety of others. In this article, the CDC recommends, "The best way to prevent disease is not to be exposed to this virus," and advises you to "wash your hands frequently; avoid close contact; keep your mouth and nose close with one Cloth face cover to cover. " others, cover coughs and sneezes, clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and monitor your health. "
You diagnose yourself on the internet
Man sitting at kitchen table using laptop computer from home
This is a top criticism of many doctors and health professionals who say you may be guessing yourself out of good care. "Using the Internet to guide your decisions can delay proper diagnosis and adequate treatment," said cardiologist Robert Rosenson, MD, director of the cardiometabolic division at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. "Involving your doctor is essential to an accurate diagnosis that can be life-saving."
The Rx: Do your research but leave the diagnosis to the experts and call your doctor if you think you might have the coronavirus.
They accept sleep problems as "just part of getting older"
Sleepless woman awake and covers face in the middle of the night
"It's a misconception that our need for sleep decreases with age," says the National Sleep Foundation. It may be harder to fall asleep and fall asleep as you get older - some people experience a change in their natural daily rhythm - but that doesn't mean it's healthy. Without adequate sleep, your body cannot repair and recharge adequately. That increases your risk of cancer, heart disease, and dementia.
The Rx: If you have chronic problems sleeping seven to nine hours a night, talk to your doctor. He or she may recommend reducing caffeine, taking naps, getting more exercise, or fighting anxiety or depression. In some cases, a sleep doctor can be helpful.
They skip sunscreens
Middle-aged woman applying sunscreen lotion on face at the beach
Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed malignancy. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, more people are diagnosed with skin cancer in the US each year than all other cancers combined. One in five of us will be diagnosed by the age of 70. The easiest way to prevent this? Avoid tanning beds, stay in the sun, and apply sunscreen daily.
The Rx: The Skin Care Foundation recommends the use of sunscreens with a sun protection factor of at least 15 SPF, which protect you from the potentially carcinogenic UVB rays.
They don't treat acid reflux
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, woman with or symptomatic reflux acids
Heartburn, or acid reflux - where stomach acid builds up in the esophagus and causes burning or pain in the chest or throat - has featured in a number of over the counter medication commercials. However, if you have heartburn on a regular basis, it is not a good idea to keep popping antacids. It could be a disease that requires a doctor's attention. Over time, stomach acid can damage the delicate tissues of the esophagus, leading to a precancerous disease called Barrett's esophagus. That could develop into esophageal cancer, a particularly deadly form of the disease.
The Rx: If you have heartburn on a regular basis, talk to your doctor about it. He or she may recommend a prescription, lifestyle changes, or more testing.
You skip an annual eye exam
Close up of female hand pointing at eye chart with latin letters during eye test in eye clinic
If your vision is good or you already have a prescription for glasses, it may not occur to you to have an annual eye exam. You still should. Your eyes may show signs of various chronic diseases that a trained ophthalmologist can detect so you can get early treatment. "There are certain eye diseases like glaucoma that are considered the 'silent killers' of vision," says Dr. Mesheca C. Bunyon, an optician in Camp Springs, Maryland. "In addition, an ophthalmologist can identify bleeding and swelling of the retina, the lining of the eye, associated with diabetes, high blood pressure, and other systemic diseases."
The Rx: Book an annual eye exam with a licensed optician once a year.
You will not receive annual skin cancer checks
Dermatologist examines mole on male patient's back in clinic
Melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer, is relatively rare - it makes up only about 1 percent of all cancers - but the number of cases has increased over the past 30 years. If melanoma is detected early, the 5-year survival rate is high, but it drops dramatically once it spreads. In addition, melanoma can form on parts of the body that are out of your line of sight, such as: B. on your back or scalp. That is why it is important to have regular skin cancer screening.
The Rx: Talk to your GP who may refer a dermatologist for a full review. You should get one annually.
You don't know your blood pressure
Doctor checks high blood pressure in the face mask
Keeping your blood pressure within a healthy range is one of the most important things you can do to stay in good health. High blood pressure (a.k.a. high blood pressure) can weaken the walls of the blood vessels and increase the risk of stroke, heart attack and dementia. In 2018, the American Heart Association lowered the guidelines for healthy blood pressure from 140/90 (and 150/80 for people over 65) to 130/80 for all adults. According to Harvard Medical School, that means 70 to 79 percent of men over 55 technically have high blood pressure.
The Rx: Experts say you should get your blood pressure checked annually. Follow a heart healthy diet (including these foods), you will lose weight and stay active.
You're not drinking enough water
Woman drinking water at summer green park
It's an easy habit to make fun of something - we ponder that joke in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt about people bringing a bottle of water so they can moisturize on the way to the water reservoir - but these are the facts: Ours The body needs water This is how our organs and body processes can function optimally. And as we get older, dehydration becomes easier.
The Rx: Experts recommend drinking 1.7 liters (or 7 cups) of water every 24 hours.
You avoid sex
Young attractive couple having problem in bed. Frustrated husband and wife who don't speak, feel offended, or stubborn. Concept of impotence. Man have problems.
Research has shown that regular sexual activity has a lot of benefits for both physical and mental health. Chief among them: It's good for your heart. "Studies suggest that men who have sex at least twice a week and women who report satisfactory sex lives are less likely to have a heart attack," says the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. "Sex is a form of exercise and it helps strengthen your heart, lower your blood pressure, relieve stress, and improve sleep. Additionally, intimacy in a relationship can increase bonding."
The Rx: Consider sexual activity as important to your health as exercise or diet.
You don't do kegel exercises
Woman doing fitness workout yoga stretching gymnastics exercise
This is another type of workout that you should attend regularly. "Kegels strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, especially in women," says Jennifer Lane, a California nurse and aromatherapist. "These muscles support the uterus, the bladder, the small intestine and the rectum. The pelvic floor muscles can be weakened by pregnancy, childbirth, obesity, aging or even constipation."
When these muscles are weak, incontinence and erectile dysfunction can occur. "Both men and women can benefit from daily pelvic floor exercises," says Lane. "They will help improve bladder control and potentially improve sexual performance. Kegels can also help you avoid embarrassing accidents."
The Rx: Do at least one set of 10 cones a day. Here you can find information about the implementation.
You work at a desk
Woman in casual clothes using laptop and smiling while working indoors
Studies show sedentary lifestyles have become a major health risk: Only about 5 percent of American adults get 30 minutes of exercise every day. You may have heard the phrase "sitting is the new smoking"? The jury isn't sure yet, but science understands that sitting isn't a health program: a 2017 study at the University of Warwick found that desk workers had larger waistlines and a higher risk of heart disease than workers with more active diseases jobs. In addition, workers' bad (LDL) cholesterol and good (HDL) cholesterol increased every hour after sitting for five hours a day.
The Rx: When you're not in a physically active job, stand and exercise as much as you can during the day.
They eat "ultra-processed" foods
Sausage links
One key to good health is eating more whole foods and less processed junk. However, experts have spotted a new enemy: "ultra-processed foods". Two new studies published in the journal BMJ link high processed food consumption to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and an increased risk of early death. It has been correlated with higher rates of obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol - all risk factors for heart attack and other health problems.
What counts as "ultra-processed"? The researchers listed "sausages, mayonnaise, potato chips, pizza, cookies, pralines and sweets, artificially sweetened drinks as well as whiskey, gin and rum".
The Rx: Limit the amount of processed foods in your diet. Ground your diet with fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and good fats.
You eat too much salt
Salt food
You're probably thinking of the # 1 and 2 enemies of public health when it comes to fat and sugar, but are you keeping an eye on salt? Probably not: Studies show that most Americans consume around 3,400 mg of sodium per day - well above the recommended 2,300 mg (which is about a teaspoon of salt). High sodium intake is a major risk factor for high blood pressure, which increases the likelihood of a heart attack.
The Rx: Don't add salt to your meals. Limit your consumption of fast food and processed foods, which are usually loaded with sodium. Take a look at the nutritional information: A can of a popular tomato juice brand packs almost 1,000 mg! If possible, opt for a lower sodium version.
You skip an annual mammogram after the age of 45
Mammography breast screening machine in hospital laboratory
There is a lot of dialogue and confusion about preventive tests and self-exams, especially when it comes to breast health. The facts: The risk of developing breast cancer increases as women get older. At 40, this risk is 3.5 times higher than at 30.
The Rx: The American Cancer Society recommends that women ages 40 to 44 get annual breast cancer screening if they so choose. Between the ages of 45 and 54, women should have an annual mammogram. After age 55, women can switch to mammograms every two years or resume annual screening if they so choose.
They reject ovarian cancer symptoms
Woman with Endometriosis Abdominal Pain
Ovarian cancer is known to be a silent killer: there is no reliable routine screening test, so catching the disease at an early stage, when it is most curable, is more difficult. The first symptoms can be mild and vague, so it's important to stay tuned to what they might be. Most ovarian cancers develop after menopause, more than half in women over 63 years of age, according to the American Cancer Society.
The Rx: If you have gas, pelvic or abdominal pain, or if you feel full quickly while eating, contact your doctor. If your family has developed ovarian cancer, tell your doctor about it. He or she may recommend additional regular testing.
You are ignoring your family history
Complete the family history section of the medical questionnaire
If your parents had a particular illness, there is no guarantee that you will get it. However, certain medical conditions such as heart disease, certain types of cancer, and conditions such as diabetes have a genetic component. In some cases, predisposition can be very high: According to a study published in the journal Circulation, men with a family history of heart disease had an almost 50 percent increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
The Rx: Make sure your doctor is aware of your family history of serious illness and ask if screening tests are needed.
You are not taking any steps to prevent a stroke
CT scan of the brain of a patient with intracranial hemorrhage
No doubt a stroke can be a catastrophic event. However, according to the National Stroke Association, up to 80 percent are preventable. This is because the processes that lead to strokes - in which a blood vessel in the brain becomes blocked or ruptured, causing neurological damage or paralysis - are heavily influenced by lifestyle choices such as diet and smoking.
The Rx: Keep your blood pressure and weight in a healthy range. If you have high cholesterol, diabetes, or AFib get treatment - all are risk factors for stroke. Do not smoke and limit your alcohol consumption to less than two drinks a day.
They look at screens before bed
African American woman using smartphone at home
Close these screens well in advance of bedtime to make sure you have enough eyes closed. The blue light from computers, smartphones and televisions disrupts your natural rhythm, which can lead to insomnia. Poor sleep has been linked to serious illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.
The Rx: Turn off televisions, phones, computers, and tablets at least 60 minutes before turning them off. "For the best night's sleep, pretend you lived in a past time," advises the National Sleep Foundation. "Relax by reading a (paper) book, writing in a diary or chatting with your partner."
You don't know your cholesterol level
High cholesterol
Good habits like a healthy diet and regular exercise are critical to keeping your blood cholesterol levels low. However, part of the process may be beyond your control. Genetics can play a role in cholesterol levels, as can aging: our bodies produce more artery-clogging substances as they mature. Your total cholesterol level should be less than 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg / dL), with an LDL level less than 100 mg / dL and an HDL level of 60 mg / dL or higher.
The Rx: Experts recommend doing a cholesterol check every five years. older adults may need to do it more often. To keep your "bad" cholesterol levels down, you should eat a low-fat diet, avoid trans fats, exercise regularly, and maintain a healthy weight.
You drink too much
Man pours a glass of wine
Americans love social drinking, but those are pretty scary statistics the morning after: Approximately 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes each year, making alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States. How much is too much It can be more than you think: experts say women shouldn't have more than one alcoholic drink a day and men should limit themselves to two. You also put yourself at risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, and more than a dozen cancers.
The Rx: If you drink more regularly, talk to your doctor.
They don't treat signs of depression
Lonely young latina woman sitting on bed. Depressed hispanic girl at home looking away with sad expression
For generations, Americans viewed mental health as a bonus - something to only worry about after considering all other aspects of your life. Today we know that this is wrong: many studies have shown that mental health is directly related to serious physical illness. If you have persistently bad moods, frequent hopelessness, or a lack of interest in things you used to enjoy, you may experience depression. If left untreated, this can increase the risk of heart disease and other chronic diseases.
The Rx: Talk to your doctor. Many treatments are available.
You won't be tested for STIs
Blood sample for STI (sexually transmitted infection) test -
Sexually transmitted infections are increasing rapidly in people over 50, especially seniors. If you are sexually active and not monogamous, routine screening should be part of your health strategy. "Many sexually transmitted diseases are silent, and without screening you can permanently damage your body," says Dr. Shannon Brown Dowler, a family doctor in Asheville, North Carolina. "Even if you have been checked from time to time, are all the correct parts checked? Screening is recommended for non-genital areas that have been exposed because the infections in those areas can be very subtle."
The Rx: Talk to your doctor about your sexual health, safe sex practices, and STI testing.
You're not following colorectal cancer screening recommendations
Endoscopy. Doctor holds endoscope before colonoscopy
What is the main risk factor for colon cancer? It is not diet or exercise, although they play a serious role. It's just age: your risk of disease increases significantly after the age of 50. When detected early (as localized polyps) colon cancer is one of the easiest cancers to heal. How does it work? The American Cancer Society recommends that you do your first colonoscopy at the age of 45 and repeat it every 10 years. Your doctor may have different recommendations depending on your family background and personal medical history.
The Rx: Get your first colonoscopy, if you haven't already, and follow your doctor's instructions for follow-up procedures.
You smoke
Man breaks a cigarette
They know it's a major contributor to lung cancer - so much so that it accounts for up to 80 percent of deaths from the disease. Smoking also increases the risk of strokes and heart attacks - the toxins in cigarette smoke damage and weaken blood vessels, which can burst or build up sticky plaque that can lead to a heart attack. This is why cigarette smoking is the number one preventable cause of death.
The Rx: Quit smoking as soon as possible. Ask your doctor for help. It's never too late: Even people who quit smoking between the ages of 65 and 69 can add one to four years to their lives.
You won't get an annual diabetes test
Doctor checks the blood sugar level with a glucometer. Treatment of diabetes concept.
The American Diabetes Association recommends regular diabetes screening for all adults over the age of 45. Why? Type 2 diabetes can occur at any age, but your risk increases significantly after you are 40 years old. Left untreated, the condition in which sugar is not adequately removed from the blood and damages blood vessels throughout the body can lead to serious complications, including heart disease and blindness.
The Rx: Book an annual visit to your GP who will do basic blood tests to check for signs of diabetes. He or she will also check your blood pressure; The American Heart Association recommends doing this annually
You avoid twice yearly dental examinations
Patient is examined by the dentist
As children, we probably feared going to the dentist. After age 40, it's time to stop worrying and learn to love him or her. Why? Regular dental visits can avoid the enormous physical and financial costs associated with tooth loss. As we get older, regular wear and tear can lead to cracks, cavities, plaque buildup, and gum recession, all of which can put us on our way to dentures or implants. This is what your dentist should prevent.
The Rx: Get a dental exam twice a year and practice good oral hygiene every day. Use a fluoride rinse twice a day to strengthen teeth and keep gums healthy.
You don't get enough practice
Middle aged woman jogging in a low angle close-up against a sunny blue sky in a healthy active lifestyle in winter
This probably isn't a news flash: most of us need to do a better job to exercise regularly. In fact, only about 20 percent of American adults get enough. The American Heart Association recommends that adults do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise every week.
The Rx: Some examples of moderately intense exercise are brisk walking, dancing, or gardening. The intense exercises include running, hiking, or swimming. If the amount of time involved seems daunting, go around the block first. Any amount of physical activity is better for you than none.
You don't drink coffee
Man using digital tablet at home
Long gone are the days when coffee was considered a vice. In fact, drinking coffee is one of the most virtuous things you can do for your health. Java is full of antioxidants that protect the heart and liver, and protect against diabetes and cancer. "Moderate coffee consumption (three to four cups a day) is associated with a longer lifespan," says Dr. Robert H. Shmerling, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing. "In fact, a November 2015 study by Circulation found that coffee consumption was associated with a reduction in the risk of death by 8 to 15%, with greater reductions seen in those with higher coffee consumption."
The Rx: Enjoy coffee in moderation without feeling guilty. (But if you don't care, or have been advised to avoid caffeine, don't force yourself; you can get antioxidants by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables.)
You are not getting enough sleep
Depressed man lying in his bed feeling bad
In recent years, science has learned more and more about the importance of sleep to good health and longer life. Poor sleep is linked to an increased risk of weight gain, diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, depression, and even dementia. That's because the body repairs itself while we sleep, from repairing cell damage to sweeping toxins out of the brain to making sure our metabolism stays on track. When you don't get enough, all kinds of lawsuits suffer.
The Rx: Experts, including the National Sleep Foundation, say adults of all ages need seven to nine hours of sleep a night - no more, no less.
You snore
tired exhausted exhausted stressed woman
Snoring isn't just an efficient way to get thrown out of bed in the middle of the night. It could send you on your way to heart disease. Frequent snoring can be a sign of a dangerous condition called sleep apnea, in which the airway behind the tongue breaks down when you inhale, reducing or even stopping airflow for up to a minute. According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep apnea has been linked to high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Researchers believe this is because the condition leads to repeated oxygen starvation, which puts strain on the blood vessels and heart.
The Rx: If your partner has told you that you snore, ask your doctor about it. They can refer you to a sleep doctor.
You are eating too much saturated fat
Woman eating burger
You know that high blood cholesterol can lead to heart disease, but what is a major driver of blood cholesterol? When you consume too much saturated fat - the "bad" fat found in red meat, cheese, baked goods, and fried foods - the amount of cholesterol in your blood increases, putting you at increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
The Rx: Don't eat more than three moderate servings of red meat per week. The American Heart Association recommends that you get no more than 13 grams of saturated fat per day.
Are you sleeping
sleepy woman lies on her stomach and wears pants
As with anything else, restraint is crucial when it comes to sleeping. Studies show that more than nine hours a night can increase your risk of heart disease and dementia.
The Rx: The latest recommendation from sleep experts, including the National Sleep Foundation, is that adults should sleep seven to nine hours a night.
You are socially isolated
Thoughtful girl sitting on the threshold and hugging knees and looking at window, sad depressed teenage boy spending time at home alone, young angry pensive woman feeling lonely or frustrated thinking about problems
Loneliness and social isolation can increase a person's risk of having a heart attack, according to a study published in Heart magazine. People who reported poor social relationships had a 29 percent higher risk of coronary disease and a 32 percent higher risk of stroke than people with strong friendships. Why? Researchers believe loneliness increases chronic stress, a risk factor for heart disease.
The Rx: Developing hobbies. Take the time to call or text your friends or family. If you are feeling socially isolated or depressed, speak to your doctor about the best course of action.
You drink sugary drinks
Woman drinks ice cola in a glass
Empty calories are very bad for your waistline and heart, and sugary drinks like soda contain some of the emptyest calories of all. A March 2019 study published in the journal Circulation found that people who drank the most sugary drinks were at the highest risk of death. Each additional 12-ounce daily serving of sugary beverages was associated with a 7 percent increased risk of death from any cause, a 5 percent increased risk of cancer death, and a 10 percent increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease connected. "Die optimale Aufnahme dieser Getränke ist Null", sagte der Hauptautor der Studie, Vasanti S. Malik, ein Wissenschaftler am Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. "Sie haben keine gesundheitlichen Vorteile."
The Rx: Hydratieren Sie mit klassischem H20, Selters - ohne künstliche Süßstoffe oder Aromen - oder hausgemachtem Spa-Wasser.
Du trinkst Diät-Soda
Frau, die Diät-Cola trinkt
Diät-Soda ist keine gesunde Alternative zu zuckerhaltigen Getränken. Mehrere Studien zeigen, dass Menschen, die Limonaden und künstlich gesüßte Getränke trinken, ein höheres Risiko für ein metabolisches Syndrom haben - bei dem der Körper kein Insulin verarbeiten kann, was zu Diabetes führt - Gewichtszunahme, Osteoporose und eine Verschlechterung der Nierenfunktion.
The Rx: Schalten Sie das Soda gegen Wasser oder Selters ohne künstliche Süßstoffe aus.
Sie essen zu viel zugesetzten Zucker
Mann, der hinzugefügtes Zuckerpaket in Getränk gießt
Der Konsum von zu viel zugesetztem Zucker - dem Zucker, den Hersteller Lebensmitteln hinzufügen, um sie zu süßen oder ihre Haltbarkeit zu verlängern - ist ein Hauptrisikofaktor für Herzerkrankungen. Laut dem National Cancer Institute konsumieren erwachsene Männer 24 Teelöffel Zucker pro Tag, was 384 Kalorien entspricht! "Die Auswirkungen einer zusätzlichen Zuckeraufnahme - höherer Blutdruck, Entzündung, Gewichtszunahme, Diabetes und Fettlebererkrankungen - sind alle mit einem erhöhten Risiko für Herzinfarkt und Schlaganfall verbunden", sagt Dr. Frank Hu, Professor für Ernährung an der Harvard University TH Chan School of Public Health.
The Rx: Die American Heart Association rät Erwachsenen, täglich nicht mehr als 150 Kalorien (etwa 9 Teelöffel oder 36 Gramm) Zucker hinzuzufügen. Das ist ungefähr die Menge in einer 12-Unzen-Dose Soda.
Du bist übergewichtig
Junge übergewichtige kaukasische abenteuerlustige Teenager-Mädchen mit blonden Haaren mit Blick auf den Ozean, während sie sich auf das hölzerne Geländer entlang des Strandes stützen
Abnehmen kann Ihre Lebensdauer wirklich verlängern. Das Tragen von zusätzlichen Pfunden trägt zu einer Vielzahl von Gesundheitsproblemen bei, einschließlich Herzerkrankungen, Diabetes und Schlaganfall. Studien zeigen, dass übergewichtige Menschen, die nur wenig Gewicht verlieren (z. B. 5 bis 10 Prozent ihres gesamten Körpergewichts), ihr Risiko für Herz-Kreislauf-Erkrankungen verringern.
Der Rx: Kennen Sie Ihren gesunden Gewichtsbereich. Essen Sie eine pflanzenreiche Diät, reduzieren Sie Ihren Verbrauch an leeren Kalorien und verarbeiteten Lebensmitteln und trainieren Sie regelmäßig.
Du bist gestresst
müder Geschäftsmann mit Brille und Laptop, die Augen im Büro reiben
Übermäßiges Fressen und Rauchen kann zu ernsthafter Abnutzung Ihres Körpers führen und Ihre Gesundheit gefährden. "Stress, der nicht kontrolliert wird, kann zu vielen Gesundheitsproblemen wie Bluthochdruck, Herzerkrankungen, Fettleibigkeit und Diabetes führen", sagt die Mayo-Klinik.
The Rx: Entlasten Sie Stress, indem Sie sich regelmäßig körperlich betätigen, einen Sinn für Humor bewahren und Entspannungstechniken wie Achtsamkeit anwenden. Wenn Ihr Stress nicht mehr zu bewältigen ist, sprechen Sie mit Ihrem Arzt.
Sie kaufen fettarme Lebensmittel
Frau trägt medizinische Maske gegen Coronavirus beim Einkaufen im Supermarkt oder im Laden - Gesundheits-, Sicherheits- und Pandemiekonzept - junge Frau, die Schutzmaske trägt und Lebensmittel lagert
Die fettarme Begeisterung der 1980er Jahre hat sich noch nicht vollständig gelegt, selbst nachdem dem ultimativen trojanischen Diätpferd "fettarme" verarbeitete Lebensmittel enthüllt wurden: Wenn Hersteller das Fett herausnahmen, ersetzten sie es häufig durch zusätzlichen Zucker und Kohlenhydrate, die versagen um dich zu füllen und dich letztendlich dazu zu bringen, mehr Kalorien zu verbrauchen.
Der Rx: Fett, in angemessenen Mengen konsumiert, macht Sie nicht fett. Zu viele Kalorien machen fett und fettarme Lebensmittel können Sie hungrig machen. Kommen Sie von Ihrem nächsten Einkaufsbummel mit sättigenden "guten" Fetten, fettem Fisch, Olivenöl, Nüssen und Avocados nach Hause.
Sie bekommen keine jährliche Grippeimpfung
Der Arzt desinfiziert die Haut des Patienten vor der Impfung
Die Grippe birgt mit zunehmendem Alter ernsthafte Risiken. Erwachsene über 65 leiden häufiger an tödlichen Grippekomplikationen, einschließlich Herzinfarkten. "Vielen Menschen ist nicht bewusst, dass sich das Risiko eines Herzinfarkts in den Tagen und Wochen nach einer akuten Grippeinfektion um das bis zu Zehnfache erhöht", sagt Dr. Allen J. Taylor, Lehrstuhl für Kardiologie am MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute. "Die Grippeimpfung reduziert das Herzinfarktrisiko." Eine Studie aus dem Jahr 2018 ergab, dass eine Grippeschutzimpfung dieses Risiko um bis zu 20 Prozent senken und einen ähnlichen Schutz gegen einen Schlaganfall bieten kann.
The Rx: Holen Sie sich jedes Jahr zu Beginn der Grippesaison eine Grippeimpfung. Es kann einige Wochen nach der Injektion dauern, bis der Impfstoff gegen das Virus wirksam wird.
Sie essen nicht genug Omega-3-Fettsäuren
Omega-3-Fettsäuren Lebensmittel
Wenn Sie keine Lebensmittel essen, die reich an Omega-3-Fettsäuren sind, entziehen Sie Ihrem Körper einen der stärksten Leibwächter der Natur. Multiple studies show that omega-3s—which are found in fish like salmon, leafy green vegetables, nuts and flaxseeds—have been shown to decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke, support eye and brain health, improve mood and ease arthritis. Researchers believe omega-3s work to quell inflammation throughout the body.
The Rx: Eat fish like salmon once or twice a week, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health advises. Choose wild-caught fish, not farmed. Grill, pan-roast or steam it; don't fry or sauté. Pile on the leafy green vegetables, and snack on nuts. (Just don't take a shortcut by popping a supplement; research suggests they may not be effective.)
You're Not Treating Diabetes
Glucose meter with medical stethoscope, fruits and dumbbells for using in fitness, concept of diabetes, healthy lifestyles and nutrition
Left untreated, diabetes causes sugars to build up in the blood. Over time, that damages arteries, greatly raising your risk of heart disease, stroke, vision loss and circulation problems that could lead to amputation.
The Rx: If you're on medication for your diabetes, stay compliant. Follow any recommendations for diet and exercise
You're Taking Sleeping Pills
woman next to sleeping pills
You shouldn't need to rely on meds to get to sleep, even over-the-counter drugs. Some studies have linked the use of hypnotic (sleep-inducing) drugs with an increased risk of cancer and death. Researchers aren't sure why that may be, but why risk it?
The Rx: There are many strategies you can follow before requesting a prescription, including meditation, relaxation and avoiding screens. Talk to your doctor.
You're Lying to Your Doctor
female holding fingers crossed behind her back
A whole lot of us gloss over symptoms or fib about our lifestyle habits in the doctor's office: According to a survey conducted by ZocDoc, almost one-quarter of people lie to their doctors. The most common reasons? Embarrassment and fear of being judged.
The Rx: Always be candid. "Sugar-coating bad habits or nagging symptoms does not help," advises David Longworth, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic. "Your doctors are confidential partners in your care. They need all the information available to help you make smart decisions. That includes everything from your habits to every medication you take, including over-the-counter drugs, herbal products, vitamins and supplements. If you aren't consistently taking medication, talk to your doctor about why — including if you can't afford them."
You're Drinking Sports Drinks
african american woman in sportswear with energy drink in gym
Sports drinks are not health food. Brands like Gatorade and Powerade contain the equivalent of 8 teaspoons of added sugar, along with sodium. Too much of either in your diet can cause high blood pressure, says Morton Tavel, MD, clinical professor emeritus at the Indiana University School of Medicine and author of Health Tips, Myths and Tricks: A Physician's Advice. "Unless someone is exercising or competing in a sporting event for longer than 90 minutes, there is no reason to drink something with excess sugar and electrolytes," he adds.
The Rx: "Even if you are an athlete and regularly exercise, I would not recommend sports drinks at any time other than when you are actually in the middle of exercising," says Tavel. "Go for just water and maybe a quick, bite-sized snack like fruit or nuts."
You're Ordering ED Drugs From Online Pharmacies
Mature Man At Home Looking Up Information About Medication Online Using Laptop
It might seem daunting to talk with your doctor about erectile dysfunction, but ordering ED drugs like Viagra from sketchy online overseas pharmacies is never a good idea. "The risk that these imported drugs are counterfeit, contaminated, or subpotent is high; and quality assurance is a major concern," says the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.
The Rx: Substitute shame for your health and happiness. Talk openly to your doctor. (And know that some online pharmacies and ED-med services are legit; the database at safe.pharmacy can tell you which.)
You're Chasing Fads
Woman barely eating cucumber
The latest trendy diet won't trump time-honored principles for good nutrition and health. "Trying a new health fad every time one comes out leads to inconsistent self-care," says Rachel Franklin, MD, a family medicine physician at OU Medicine in Oklahoma City.
The Rx: "You need good sleep, good food (but not too much), and regular exercise, in that order," adds Franklin. "Repeat daily."
You're Eating Restaurant Food or Takeout Too Often
Chinese takeout with chopsticks
Why does restaurant food taste so great? It's not just because you didn't have to make it: To add flavor, restaurant chefs often pile on the fat, butter, oil and salt. According to a study at the University of Illinois, the offerings at sit-down restaurants frequently have worse nutrition profiles than fast food.
The Rx: Eat out as an occasional treat, but cook at home the rest of the time: That way, you know exactly how much fat and salt is going into your meal.
You're Ingesting a BPA Lining
reuseable water bottle
Food or drink stored in certain containers can have a nasty stowaway: BPA. The chemical used in aluminum linings has been shown to disrupt thyroid function, says Dr. Leonardo Trasande, a professor at the NYU School of Medicine.
The Rx: Make sure your water bottle or storage container is called "BPA-free."
You're Blaring Your Earphones or Skipping Earplugs at Concerts Once Music Venues Reopen
woman silhouette in a crowd at a concert in a vintage light, noise added
We take special steps to protect our hearts and lungs. The ears, not so much. They're worth some attention. Experts say one of the unhealthiest habits for people over 50 is to go to loud concerts or noisy events without earplugs, which can hasten hearing loss.
The Rx: Limit your use of headphones, and lower the volume when using them. Bring a pair of earplugs to noisy events, and use ear protection when using loud tools.
You're Not Eating an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Mediterranean diet
Chronic low-grade inflammation throughout the body is linked to a host of chronic illnesses, including heart disease, cancer and dementia.
The Rx: A good way to protect yourself is to eat a Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes colorful fruits and vegetables, healthy fats like olive oil and omega-3 fatty acids — all of which are anti-inflammatory. Research shows it has true full-body benefits: "The results of a study recently published by the American Academy of Neurology indicates that following a Mediterranean diet can have positive effects on the health of our brains, especially as we age," says Vernon Williams, MD, sports neurologist and founding director of the Center for Sports Neurology and Pain Medicine at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles. "Brain volume loss can affect learning and memory, especially as we get older. But the components of the Mediterranean diet are shown to have protective benefits for the brain."
You're Not Eating Enough Fiber
woman eating fresh red apple inside house kitchen
Overshadowed by trendier nutrients like omega-3s and Vitamin D, fiber is easily overlooked in today's diet. But it shouldn't be. Consuming adequate fiber reduces your risk for colon cancer and heart disease and can help you maintain a stable blood sugar level and healthy weight.
The Rx: Aim for five to seven servings of fruits and vegetables daily, and add plenty of other high-fiber foods like whole grains, nuts and oatmeal.
You're Vaping
Disposable vape pen with refill pod on hand
Vaping has developed a reputation as a healthier option than smoking. It's unwarranted. If the recent outbreak of vaping-related illnesses and deaths aren't enough to dissuade you that vaping is a bad idea, consider that vaping can produce formaldehyde and other carcinogenic substances, and flavorings contain chemicals that can damage lung tissue.
The Rx: Don't smoke and don't vape. Several strategies exist for helping you kick the nicotine habit. Talk with your healthcare provider about the ones that might be right for you.
You're Not Disinfecting Your Cell Phone
Female hands holding a mobile phone and wipe the screen cloth
When's the last time you disinfected your cell phone? That's what we thought. Doctors suggest you make it a habit. Why? Cell phones are constantly being touched and being set down on public surfaces, which make them a hotbed of germs. Researchers have found that a dirty cell phone can literally contain more bacteria than a toilet seat.
The Rx: Disinfect your cell phone daily, given that experts believe it may carry the coronavirus. Make a solution of 50% water and 50% isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol in a small spray bottle, spray it on a microfiber cloth or cotton pad, then wipe the germs away.
You're Grabbing Dirty Shopping Carts
pushing grocery cart through store
Grocery shopping can be a pain, but it can literally make you sick—with COVID-19 or something else. Common germy surfaces are the culprit. One study found that more than 50 percent of shopping carts at your grocery store contain disease-causing bacteria, including E. coli. A separate study found that the handles on freezer cases can harbor more bacteria than a toilet seat!
The Rx: If your grocery store has antibacterial wipes you can use to wipe down cart handles, take advantage. If not, bring a travel-sized pack of them along with you. Wipe the handle and let it dry for 20 seconds before latching on. And wash your hands as soon as you get home.
You're Putting Produce on the Checkout Conveyor
Shopping carts aren't the only hotbeds of germs in the grocery store. In a study at Michigan State University, researchers randomly tested several supermarket checkout conveyor belts for bacteria—100 percent tested positive. The belts are made from PVC, a porous plastic that is hospitable to germs, yeast and mold. If you're putting unwrapped produce on the belt, you could bring some of that illness-causing funk home with you.
The Rx: Put all your produce in plastic bags as you select it. When you get home, thoroughly wash anything you'll consume.
You're Not Washing Your Hands Enough
man washing in bathroom
The No. 1 tip doctors gave us for staying healthy during cold and flu season, and during this coronavirus crisis? Wash your hands often and well. Unfortunately, not enough of us do — even after using a public restroom. A CDC study found that only 31% of men and 65% of women wash their hands after using a public toilet.
The Rx: Always wash your hands with soap and water for the recommended length of time (read on for what that is). Carry alcohol-based hand sanitizer as backup.
You're Not Washing Your Hands Long Enough
Washing hands with soap
It's not just remembering to wash your hands that's important—it's key to wash them long enough to properly remove bacteria. A recent USDA study found that 97 percent of us — 97 percent! — don't wash our hands correctly. The most common mistake? Not washing them long enough.
The Rx: Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, about long enough to sing "Happy Birthday" twice. Dry them thoroughly.
You Have Poor Posture
Young woman working with computer at office
Do you have an aching back? Poor posture could be responsible. But there are easy things you can do to prevent the chronic aggravation. "Back pain, specifically low back pain, can be caused by poor posture and weak abdominal muscles," says Neel Anand, MD, professor of orthopedic surgery and director of spine trauma at Cedars-Sinai Spine Center in Los Angeles. "Those areas need to be targeted and strengthened to relieve the pain and prevent future flare-ups."
The Rx: Anand recommends doing planks and ab crunches to strengthen your core. At other times, "concentrate on sitting up straight and pulling your shoulders back and down when either sitting, standing, or walking," he says. This practice can be particularly helpful: "Sit up straight in a chair with your hands on your thighs and your shoulders down. Pull your shoulders back and squeeze the shoulder blades together and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat this three or four times daily to strengthen those back muscles used for perfect posture."
You're Commuting on Public Transportation
medical mask in the metro
A recent study found that people who commute to work via bus or subway are six-and-a-half times more likely to contract "acute respiratory infections" (read: bad colds) than if people who walk or drive — just because those environments expose you to many more people and their germs. You can catch COVID-19 there, too.
The Rx: No portable plastic bubble necessary here. Most colds and flu are caused by transferring germs from your hands to your eyes, nose or mouth. So wear a face mask, wash your hands or use a generous squirt of hand sanitizer after you exit public transportation.
You're Using Antibacterial Hand Soap
Putting whip foam soap on the hand
Antibacterial hand soap was once considered a valuable tool in the fight against illnesses like colds and flu. Now we know it's a health underminer: The antibacterial chemicals in those soaps are contributing to the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. And they're no better at removing germs from your hands than regular, old-fashioned soap.
The Rx: Replace antibacterial soaps with regular, and wash your hands frequently to prevent the spread of disease-causing germs.
You're Ignoring Vitamin D
Yellow soft shell D-vitamin capsule against sun and blue sky on sunny day
Although the jury is out on the effectiveness of multivitamins, there's one vitamin you shouldn't overlook: Vitamin D. Multiple studies have found that maintaining an adequate Vitamin D level may be protective against several types of cancer — and guard against everyday colds and flu too. But because the body mainly produces D when the skin is exposed to the sun, it's easy to become deficient. Fully half of us have a low vitamin D level, the National Institutes of Health says.
The Rx: According to the NIH's Office of Dietary Supplements, adults should get 600 IU of vitamin D daily, and 800 IU after the age of 70. Your doctor can check your vitamin D level with a simple blood test.
You're Not Cleaning Your Bathroom Sink Frequently
Clean up bathroom sink
The toilet seat isn't the germiest place in your bathroom. It's the sink. According to a study by the Public Health and Safety Organization, the bathroom faucet handle is the sixth-germiest site in the average house. (The toilet doesn't even hit the top 10.) Dampness and frequency of use make it a breeding ground for creepy-crawlies.
The Rx: Wash your hands every time you use the bathroom, and thoroughly clean your bathroom sink once a week.
You're Doing a Juice Cleanse
Organic cold-pressed raw vegetable juice plastic bottles
After a period of overindulgence, you might be tempted to go on a detox diet or juice cleanse. Resist! "I hear the term 'cleanse' thrown around a lot these days," says Jillian Michaels, creator of the My Fitness by Jillian Michaels app. "In many cases, people are referring to some type of extremely restrictive low-calorie diet for an extended period of time—days or even weeks. A juice cleanse doesn't cleanse your body in any way. It can reduce your calories dramatically, but that will simply put your body in starvation mode that will slow your metabolism in response."
The Rx: "The only way to cleanse your system is not to eat chemicals," says Michaels. "Eat foods high in fiber to help remove waste from your digestive tract. Drink a lot of water to support your kidneys and liver. Consider foods or supplements made from organic whole foods that help support the kidneys, liver, spleen and lungs, as those are the organs responsible for literally cleansing and detoxing the body. Starving yourself on juice is not the answer."
You're Using Public Makeup Testers
Makeup counter inside beauty store with shelf full of makeup products
Touching public brushes and lipsticks to your eyes, face and mouth — what could go wrong? Well, one woman sued the makeup chain Sephora in 2017, claiming she contracted oral herpes from a lipstick tester. And a 2005 study found between 67 and 100 percent of makeup-counter testers were contaminated with bacteria, including E. coli, staph and strep. All those bugs can cause skin and eye infections.
The Rx: Never use a public makeup tester. Ask for a single-use sample that's sealed. If those aren't available, test a new shade on the back of your hand, then wash it off promptly.
You're Washing Raw Meat
Woman washing chicken
In the kitchen, Grandma knew best—except when it came to one old-fashioned ritual. Washing raw chicken before cooking it is a still-common practice that can be a serious hazard to your health. It can splash campylobacter or salmonella bacteria into the surrounding area—the faucet, sponges, dish towels and kitchen tools—which you can then transfer to your hands, mouth or other food.
The Rx: Never wash raw chicken. The USDA and CDC have recently issued advisories against it. "Don't wash your raw chicken!," the CDC tweeted in April 2019. "Washing can spread germs from the chicken to other food or utensils in the kitchen." And always cook chicken to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
You're Not Having a Pet
pug dog lying on concrete road with yellow chicken toy
Man's best friend? No kidding: People who own dogs may live longer. Researchers at the University of Toronto examined 70 years of studies and found that dog ownership was associated with a 24 percent reduced risk of death from any cause. And four-legged friends seem to be particularly good for the heart: People who owned dogs had a 31 percent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease and a 65 percent lower chance of dying after having a heart attack. Why? Dogs require people to be more active, and may reduce feelings of loneliness, which scientists say can stress the heart.
You're Not "Letting Things Go"
Angry woman
On the subject of stressing the heart — holding onto old hurts, slights and frustrations can increase chronic stress, which experts agree is bad for the body, including the cardiovascular system and immunity.
The Rx: Make an active decision to release past grudges. If you're having trouble, it might be time to consult a professional.
You're Overconsuming Protein
Man pouring protein powder in blender bottle
"Many people assume that the more protein they ingest, the better," says Anthony Kouri, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at the University of Toledo Medical Center. "Protein supplements can be an excellent source of protein for athletes looking to gain muscle mass, older adults with chronic illnesses, and vegetarians or vegans. However, for everyone else, excess protein intake can be harmful. Extra protein intake can lead to osteoporosis and subsequent fragility fractures, kidney stones, and liver dysfunction. There is also evidence that excess protein intake can lead to increased risk of coronary artery disease."
The Rx: "Consider your normal dietary intake of protein prior to consuming protein supplements," says Kouri. According to Harvard Medical School, to determine your recommended daily protein intake in grams, multiply your weight by 0.36. For a 50-year-old woman who weighs 140 pounds and is sedentary, that is 53 grams of protein a day.
You're Running Long Distance
Man runner wearing medical mask
"The biggest thing that people think is healthy, but actually isn't, is excessive long-distance running," says Alex Robles, MD, co-founder of The White Coat Trainer. "Evolutionarily speaking, we weren't designed to run long distances for an indefinite amount of time. Biologically speaking, running is programmed to be a fight-or-flight response to dangerous stimuli in our environment. Instead, humans were designed to walk very long distances, which has a much smaller impact on your joints than running does."
The Rx: "If you enjoy running, make sure that you have adequate foot support, allow your body to recover appropriately in between sessions and have your technique assessed by a professional to ensure you are moving in an optimal fashion," advises Robles.
You're Not Stimulating Your Brain
man wearing casual clothes collect Rubik's Cube
If you use it, you lose it. Research has found that's true for our minds as we age. Consistently exercising your brain will help it maintain its plasticity, or ability to adapt and remodel itself. Advises Williams: "Any worthwhile brain exercise is going to have the following components: It involves something you haven't learned before (this could be learning a foreign language, a new sport or even just taking a different route to work in the morning), it's not easy (challenging exercises, whether physical or mental, increase neural pathways because they demand focused effort), it develops a skill that can be built on, and it pays off — our brains are wired to appreciate rewards. Choose activities that are challenging but enjoyable."
The Rx: Read regularly, do puzzles, dig into word games like Sudoku or crosswords, or play board games or video games.
You're Living a Sedentary Lifestyle
Obese woman laying on sofa with smartphone eating chips
"We know that as a society, we aren't very healthy," says Ericka Spatz, MD, a Yale Medicine cardiologist. "The Western lifestyle of fatty foods, sedentary lifestyle, and high stress, contributes to obesity and can contribute to diabetes, high blood pressure, and ultimately heart disease."
The Rx: Get that AHA-recommended amount of weekly exercise. And remember that starting with even a little activity is better than none: Get up every few hours and walk around, or start your day with a walk around the block, and work up from there.
You're Using OTC Medications Casually
woman takes medicine capsules
Just because a medication is available over-the-counter doesn't mean it's safe, especially with other medications you're taking. Many OTC medications can worsen high blood pressure, heart issues and stomach problems, and interfere with prescription medications.
The Rx: Talk to your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medications, especially if you have other prescriptions.
You're Holding a Used Menu
Menus are some of the dirtiest items in any restaurant. In fact, they can have 100 times the bacteria of a toilet seat: Researchers at the University of Arizona randomly sampled menus at restaurants in three states and found they contained an average of 185,000 bacteria. That's because they're not frequently cleaned, and often may just be wiped down with a dishrag which may itself be dirty.
The Rx: Never take a used menu. Ask the restaurant for a brand new paper one.
You're Not Changing Your Kitchen Sponge
gross sponges by skin
The germiest item in your house is in the kitchen, not your bathroom: It's the sponge. A study by the Public Health and Safety Organization found coliform bacteria (a sign of fecal contamination) on more than 75% of kitchen dish sponges, compared to only 9% of bathroom handles.
The Rx: Replace your sponges often, or sanitize them once a week in the microwave. Saturate them with water and microwave on high for one minute (for scrub sponges) or two (cellulose sponges).
You're Drinking Your Calories
colorful soft drinks being poured into four glasses
The calories in sugar-sweetened beverages like soda and juices can add up before you know it — research has found the average American drinks more than 150 calories in sugar-sweetened beverages on any given day. The bad news: A March 2019 study published in the journal Circulation found that people who drank the most sugary drinks had the highest risk of death. Those empty calories can raise your risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
The Rx: Skip sugary sodas and fruit juices. Hydrate with plain water, seltzers without artificial sweeteners, unsweetened tea or homemade spa water infused with slices of fruits or vegetables.
You're Using The Hand Dryer in a Public Restroom
Female dries wet hand in modern vertical hand dryer in public restroom
In public restrooms, avoid air dryers, which are like T-shirt cannons loaded with bacteria. In one study, petri dishes exposed to hot air from a restroom hand dryer grew up to 254 colonies of bacteria in 30 seconds. Air hand dryers seem to suck in bacteria from washroom air, which can contain E. coli, strep and fecal bacteria.
The Rx: Dry your hands with good, old-fashioned paper towels.
You're Touching Elevator Buttons
Pressing elevator button
Everybody has to touch elevator buttons. That's the problem. They're hotbeds of illness-causing bacteria and viruses, but few of us realize it. (One study at the University of Arizona found that elevator buttons contain 40 times the bacteria of a public toilet seat.)
The Rx: Press elevator buttons with the back of a knuckle to lower your risk of spreading germs from your fingertips to your face.
You're Storing Your Toothbrush Near The Toilet
Messy toilet shelf with a blue cup, yellow cup with toothbrushes, toilet paper, green cup and two razors
It's called the "toilet plume" — when you flush, bacteria can spread more than 10 feet in the air and, one study found, stay airborne for four to six hours. If you keep your toothbrush near the toilet, you increase the risk you'll be brushing with those germy particles the next time you use it.
The Rx: Always flush the toilet with the lid down, and store your toothbrush on your bathroom counter, in a corner away from the bowl. And replace it regularly: the American Dental Association advises every three to four months.
You're Spending Too Much Time on Social Media
man using a smart phone in the streetcar
Scrolling through social media might seem like a great way to stay in touch with friends, family and the world at large. But spending excessive time on social media has been linked to depression, anxiety and loneliness. A 2018 study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology found that people who used social media less had lower rates of depression.
The Rx: The study's authors recommend limiting social media use to 30 minutes per day.
You're Binge-Watching TV
Woman Wearing Pajamas Watching TV in her Room
Binge-watching our favorite TV shows might be the new American pastime, and that has health experts concerned. A study published in the journal Medicine&Science in Sports&Health found that binge-watching was associated with a higher risk of dying of inflammatory conditions like heart disease, Alzheimer's and diabetes. Each added hour of viewing was associated with a 12% increased risk of death. It seems that binge-watching is encouraging us to be more sedentary and can cut into sleep—two major risk factors for a number of health problems.
The Rx: Don't throw the TV out the window yet, but it's a good idea to evaluate whether It's Always Sunny marathons are giving you insomnia, and dial back your binge-watching accordingly.
You're Overexercising
American sportsman is doing ab wheel rollout exercise and looking forward while working out at home
Life isn't meant to be boot camp. Constant intense exercise can cause your body to release cortisol, a stress hormone that encourages fat storage — and it can just plain wear you down. "People often think that more is more when it comes to fitness, but the body becomes stronger from fitness because it's adapting to the physical stress being put upon it," says Michaels. "When exercise is too intense for too long or too often, it's simply too much stress. This is when the body can get overuse injuries like tendonitis, muscle strains, stress fractures and tears. Performance can become compromised, and muscle wasting can even happen."
The Rx: Give worked-out muscles a chance to recover. "The key is to make sure you have enough variety in your fitness regimen and enough recovery time in your regimen to ensure you get excellent results without injury," says Michaels.
You're Taking Unnecessary Antibiotics
senior man taking medicine pill at home
Antibiotics are meant to treat infections caused by bacteria. They don't work on viruses like the common cold or flu. Taking unnecessary antibiotics for viral infections can lead to antibiotic resistance.
The Rx: If your doctor diagnoses you with a virus, don't insist on being prescribed an antibiotic. You could do yourself more harm than good.
You're Touching Your Face in Public
touching face
The common cold and flu viruses can last on indoor surfaces for up to a week! Touching things like door handles, gas pumps, checkout keypads and pens at the bank, then touching your face, eyes or mouth, is an efficient way to pick up whatever's been left behind—including COVID-19.
The Rx: Always wash your hands or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before you eat, drink or touch your eyes, nose or mouth. And wear a face mask when in public.
You're Putting Your Purse on Public Restroom Floors
Green purse on black and white floor
Researchers from the University of Arizona found that about one-third of women's purses are contaminated with fecal bacteria, most likely from being placed on the floors of public restrooms.
The Rx: Never rest your purse on the bathroom floor or back of the toilet. Hang it on a hook instead.
You're Ignoring Bleeding Gums
woman showing, with his finger, inflamed upper gingiva with pain expression
Bleeding gums should always be a red flag. You may not be brushing or flossing adequately enough to prevent inflammation that can lead to periodontal disease, which results in progressive tooth and bone loss.
The Rx: Brush twice daily, keep your twice-annual appointments with the dentist, and if you've noticed bleeding gums, let them know.
You're Breathing Through Your Mouth
woman breathing with her mouth open
Turns out there are solid medical reasons why "mouth-breather" is a derogatory term. Breathing through your nose warms and humidifies the air to prepare it for the lungs, while the cilia work to filter toxins from the air. Nitric oxide disinfects and oxygenates the air—there's 60 percent more oxygen in air from your nose. Mouth-breathing brings unfiltered air directly into your lungs and dries out your mouth—saliva contains germ-fighting cells, so a dry mouth is more susceptible to infections.
The Rx: All together now: Breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth.
You're Doing Trendy Diets
frustrated confused tired scared displeased lady covering mouth with palms do not want to eat salad sitting at table looking at bowl
Any trendy diet is worth approaching with skepticism (not to mention anything labeled a "diet," period). The Keto diet severely restricts carbohydrates in favor of fats, the rationale being that this will force the body to burn fat for fuel. Nutritionists say that restricting or eliminating an entire food group is the opposite of healthy. Our bodies require carbohydrates for energy.
"Just because the body is burning fat doesn't mean that literally changing your bodies biochemistry is a good idea," says Michaels. "It's extremely taxing on your thyroid and liver and greatly compromises the optimal function of your body macromolecules. Plus, study after study shows us that diets very high animal protein and saturated fats (which many people aren't careful about when practicing keto) can shorten life span."
The Rx: The most effective (and sustainable) plan for weight loss is to create a calorie deficit by eating a balanced diet of all food groups and moving more throughout the day. Consult your doctor or a nutritionist for help if you need it; today, many health-insurance plans cover visits to a nutritionist, who can help you plan satisfying meals and snacks that will help you reach your health goals without deprivation or boredom.
You're Micromanaging Your Diet
"Many people think it's healthy (or even necessary) to agonize over every bite of food, every carb, every calorie," says Brooke Nicole Smith, a mindful eating expert in Rochester, New York. "However, the anxiety, guilt and shame we inflict on ourselves can be far worse for our health than anything on our 'forbidden foods' list." Obsessing over calories and carbs is a shortcut to disordered eating, which can tax your physical and mental health and make your wellness goals harder to achieve.
The Rx: Cut yourself some slack. "When we throw out the rules, all those forbidden foods lose their power over us and we can make decisions from a place of self-care instead of scarcity," says Smith.
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You're Using Q-Tips
Woman is cleaning ear with a cotton swab
Using cotton swabs to clean out ear wax is counterproductive: The ear produces wax to protect against infection, trap dirt, and to keep ears dry. Swabs push the wax in further, which can injure the skin, causing infection or even a perforated eardrum.
The Rx: Clean the outside of your ears with a damp cloth. Never push anything into your ear canal. If you have an uncomfortable earwax blockage, use an irrigator to gently soften the wax, or see your doctor for advice.
RELATED: What Taking Ibuprofen Every Day Does to Your Body
You're Not Using Compression Stockings on a Plane, Once We Can All Fly Again
Compression Stockings Thigh during flight
Long plane trips can result in aching legs, particularly if you have circulation problems. Wearing compression stockings can increase circulation, prevent swelling, limit the development of varicose veins and soothe the symptoms from vein disease.
The Rx: Try 20-30 mmHg strength stockings. Make sure they fit well: A pair that's too loose won't provide enough support, and one that's too tight can restrict healthy blood flow.
RELATED: What Taking a Multivitamin Every Day Does To Your Body
You're Going To the Office When You're Sick
people with face masks back at work in office after lockdown, talking
A new survey of office workers in 28 cities found that 90% of Americans go to work when we're sick. That's doubly counterproductive: Not only does it deprive you of rest you need to recover, you may infect your coworkers too.
The Rx: If you have sick days, use them. Stay home when you're ill. Your coworkers will be grateful, and it's essential to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
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You're Driving Everywhere And Parking Too Close
woman driving car with face mask
One of the biggest threats to our health is being too sedentary — a lack of physical activity can impact everything from the heart to the immune system. It's no secret that Americans are a lot less active than we used to be. A cardinal sin: Driving ourselves everywhere and avoiding even the shortest of walks.
The Rx: Experts agree that even increasing your physical activity a little bit can have a positive effect on your health. A simple way to start is to park a bit farther from each of your destinations than usual, and walking a bit extra. It can easily become a habit.
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You Have a Dirty Car
A man cleaning car interior, car detailing
A recent study found there are 700 strains of bacteria, on average, living in the interior of your car. The average steering wheel has about 629 units of bacteria per square centimeter. (That makes it four times dirtier than a public toilet seat!) If you touch the steering wheel, then your face, you risk making yourself sick.
The Rx: Clean your car after every long road trip and once every few weeks. Use an antibacterial cleaner on everything you touch, including the steering wheel, dash and controls.
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You're Around Smokers Outside
Woman looking displeased at a man smoking outdoor
Secondhand cigarette smoke isn't just a threat to your health indoors. A Stanford University study found that a non-smoker who sits within 18 inches of a person who smokes two cigarettes in an hour has the same exposure to secondhand smoke than if they sat one hour inside a smoky bar.
The Rx: Your exposure to the toxins in smoke gets lower with distance. The Stanford researchers suggest moving six feet away from anyone who's smoking outdoors.
RELATED: Side Effects of Smoking Marijuana, Warns Doctor
You're Not Cleaning Your Work Space
Woman Cleaning The Glass Office Desk With Rag
Feel like you're living at the office? That's a cue to ensure your workspace is as clean as your home. Keyboards, phones, desks and break-room surfaces can be breeding grounds for disease-causing bacteria. If you don't sanitize them regularly—especially when you're sick—you could pass germs along.
The Rx: Regularly wipe down your desk, phone, keyboard and door handles with antibacterial wipes or spray.
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You're Brushing Your Teeth Right After Every Meal
Man brushing teeth
Brushing immediately after a meal can lead to a weakening of your tooth enamel—any acidic foods you just ate leave residue on your teeth that can damage them when scrubbed in with a toothbrush.
The Rx: Wait 30 minutes after eating before you brush.
RELATED: Simple Ways to Avoid a Heart Attack, According to Doctors
You're Using Petroleum Jelly on Your Skin
A finger dipped in petroleum jelly jar
"This is the best way to moisturize your skin, right? Wrong," says Anthony Youn, MD, a board-certified plastic surgeon and author of Playing God: The Evolution of a Modern Surgeon. "Petroleum jelly was originally discovered as a coating in the bottom of oil rigs in the mid-1800's and is a byproduct of the oil industry. It can clog pores and paradoxically make the skin drier, due to blocking out moisture and air, not allowing the skin to 'breathe.' There are also concerns with potentially carcinogenic materials in cheap, less-refined versions."
The Rx: "Better to stick with moisturizers made with organic and natural ingredients," says Youn.
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You're Sharing Gym Mats Once Gyms Reopen
Rubber carpets for individual hygiene, soft surface to perform fitness exercises, essential piece of sport gear from nonslip material
Exercise mats at your gym or yoga studio can be breeding grounds for bacteria. Because they're made from porous plastic, germs can linger on them from hours to days.
The Rx: Bring your own exercise mat, or wipe down surfaces before and after your workout.
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You're Not Asking Your Doctor Questions
Laptop monitor view over woman shoulder, girl in headphones listens female therapist, medic gives recommendation
Time and again, doctors tell us that they want their patients to be active partners in their care — and that means asking questions. Don't OD on Google self-diagnosing, but do be engaged during visits and unafraid to speak up if you don't understand something, need clarification or are curious about alternatives. Being an active advocate for yourself and your loved ones will ensure you get the best care possible. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

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