By Dr. Sarah Stelzner
Eskenazi Health pediatrician
As the New Year’s Eve holiday rolls around each year, it’s natural for everyone to take stock of their lives and determine where there’s room for improvement. After a period of reflection, many of us come up with our resolutions for the new year with the sincere belief that this time through great dedication and sheer will, all of us will reach our goals.
With that belief in mind, let’s explore some of the more popular resolutions - that when we stick with them - will make our lives decidedly healthier. One of the most popular and hardest resolutions to keep is the declaration to quit smoking. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 36.5 million American adults smoked as of 2015. The CDC states that among Americans who smoke, 68 percent say they want to quit for good.
As most smokers will tell you, giving up cigarettes is exceedingly difficult. Nicotine is addictive and causes your body to go through withdrawal when it doesn’t receive a constant supply. In addition to the immediate cravings and withdrawal symptoms, people who quit smoking may continue to struggle with breaking the habit long after those initial challenges subside. Some smokers have the strength to quit cold turkey, while many know they need help to get the job done.
Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States, killing more than 480,000 Americans each year, so if you smoke please quit now. Here’s a link from the CDC with suggestions on how to kick the habit: www.cdc.gov/tobacco/quit_smoking/. Additional resolutions that will help you lead a healthy life include making annual primary care appointments for yourself and your children. It’s also a good idea to keep an up-to-date file about your family’s health.
Get at least eight hours of sleep each night, eat three meals a day and don’t skip breakfast. Wear sunscreen during daylight hours and find an outlet for your stress, which could mean just talking about your frustrations with a trusted friend. Also get plenty of exercise, drink enough water and if you drink alcohol, consider cutting back on your consumption. If you are in need of a pediatrician for your child or a primary care physician for yourself, call 317-880-7666 or visit www.eskenazihealth.edu/doctors.