Resolving to be healthier in new year

MAKING A LIST

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As we begin another new year, the experts at the American Medical Association have offered 10 recommendations to help make the most impactful, long-lasting improvements to our health in 2019. Many of these relate directly or indirectly to heart health, so we are sharing them here, along with local resources to help you to take steps toward a healthier future!

1. Learn your risk for type 2 diabetes. Take a self-screening test at DoIHavePrediabetes.org. If you are at risk, consider joining one of the FREE National Diabetes Prevention Programs offered regularly throughout Chautauqua County! Call CCHN at 716-338-0010 for details.

2. Be more physically active! Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate activity like brisk walking a day, five days per week. Email activecounty@co.chautauqua.ny.us for help starting a walking group in your neighborhood, or to learn about other opportunities in your community.

3. Know your blood pressure numbers. Visit LowerYourHBP.org learn how to get high blood pressure under control, and work closely with your local health care provider to make it happen.

4. Cut down on processed foods, as they are often loaded with fat, sodium, sugar and chemicals linked to weight gain and even some cancers. Find sources for fresh local food at www.Chautauqua.cce.cornell.edu/Chautauqua-grown.

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5. Take antibiotics only if needed, and exactly as prescribed. Antibiotic resistance is a serious public health problem and antibiotics will not help if you have a virus, such as a cold or flu.

6. For those who consume alcohol, limit yourself to up to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. Need help cutting back or quitting? Go to Casacweb.org and search help resources. And never, ever drink and drive.

7. If you use tobacco or nicotine products, try to quit. Protect loved ones by making your home and car smoke-free to eliminate secondhand smoke exposure. Talk with your doctor or go to nysmokefree.org to connect with a quit coach and other resources.

8. If you need prescription pain medication, closely follow your doctor’s instructions, and promptly dispose of any leftover medication. Local police departments and other locations have drop-off boxes where you can safely dispose of unused medications — call CASAC at 716-366-4623 for locations.

9. Make sure your family is up-to-date on vaccines-including a flu shot for everyone age six months or older. Your County Health Department can answer immunization questions: 716-753-4421.

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10. Manage stress — a good diet and daily exercise is a good start, but don’t hesitate to ask for help from a friend or mental health professional when you need it. If your stress level is at crisis point, call our Chautauqua County hotline at: 1-800-724-0461.

What step toward a healthier 2019 will you take? Can you encourage someone else by sharing this information? Be the change: for yourself, your family, your community. Our best wishes to all for a happy and healthy new year!

CHQ 250 is an initiative of the Chautauqua Health Action Team (CHAT), encouraging you to take action to be one of at least 250 strokes, heart attacks, or related deaths prevented in Chautauqua County in the coming year. This column is written by CHAT members to share information to help you to do your part to live a life free of stroke or heart disease; it is not intended to replace advice provided by your healthcare team. Please direct questions or comments to: activecounty@co.chautauqua.ny.us.

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