Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida
Health & Wellness



This is a continuation of the article published in the last issue.

9. Know your family history: We are beginning to understand the power of genes and heredity. If your parents or close family members suffered from diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, cancer etc., you are more vulnerable to them. Hence, take precautions early and do the appropriate screening tests.

10. Stress can kill: Three psychological factors – impatience, competitiveness and anger –
definitely increase the risk for many diseases. With stress from job, family, environment, ill health and finances, we have become an overstressed nation. It is important to realistically assess your situation and try to cope with what you can, avoid stressful situations when possible, and make your life less demanding.

11. Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation can lead to many illnesses, including hypertension, heart attacks and strokes. It also affects your work performance. About 7-8 hours would be ideal for a working adult.

12. Take up yoga and meditation: This ancient Indian discipline may be the best stress buster. The combination of Hatha Yoga (physical postures), pranayama (breathing techniques), meditation and yoga nidra (yogic sleep) can do wonders for the body, mind and soul. Many world-class athletes now practice yoga regularly. Get yourself a guru and meditate your anxiety and stresses away.

13. When was your last medical check-up? “I have never been sick a day in my life, doc!” is an oft-repeated remark from patients who land in the emergency room with sudden serious illnesses such as heart attacks, strokes or cancer. Many of these are preventable or at least treatable with early detection. Hence, go for regular checkups, especially if you have risk factors.

14. Be informed about the new Health Care Law. Obama’s health care reforms will come into effect in 2014 and you should know how this will affect you. You already know the alphabet soups – HMOs, PPOs, Point of Service and so on. Now get to know about patient-centered medical homes, Independence at Home Act and ACS (Accountable Care Organizations) as well.

15. Understand your health insurance: There is a confusing array of health insurance products out there and health insurance premiums skyrocketing. So, you need to learn more about the latest trends in the industry, your coverage and options so as to choose the best that fits the needs of your family. Without ample protection, catastrophic illnesses could bankrupt you.

16. Take advantage of all preventive services: Modern medicine has come up with a lot of innovative ways to calculate the potential for many diseases that may occur in future, enabling you to take preventive steps now. Any new health plan from the employer must provide you free coverage for the screening tests and exams.

17. Be Optimistic: You’ve probably heard the veritable phrase “mind over matter.” In my practice, I see critically ill patients fighting for their lives. The optimistic fighters definitely do better than others; that is the power of positive thinking, which boosts the immune system.

18. Incorporate some spirituality into your life: Human beings are always vulnerable to endless temptations and desires. So, it is good to keep some time for prayer and introspection. Although faith healing is a much debated subject, 84 percent of Americans believe that praying for the sick and by the sick improves their chances of recovery, according to a Newsweek poll. A Harvard study had indicated the same earlier.

19. Be creative in your life: A lot of things in life are self-taught. In many situations, one has to improvise. Do whatever brings you joy, whether it be jazzercise, gardening or fishing. Sign up for group activities or charity work. Plan a day trip to Disney World or volunteer to baby sit for your grandchildren.

20. Focus on friendships: Experts tell us how important our social bonds are to our well being. This affects all parts of our body, from the functioning of the heart and brain to the psyche. “The quality of our relationships is the single biggest predictor of our happiness,” according to one author.

Good health is not an accident. You must cultivate good habits including diet and exercise. Diligently follow all the ‘maintenance protocols’ for the body. That is the secret to a long, healthy and happy life. Best wishes to all of you!

Dr. M.P. Ravindra Nathan is a Brooksville cardiologist and director of the Hernando Heart Clinic.

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