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Start the New Year with good health as a priority


Start 2023 off by incorporating healthy habits into your daily routine

The end of the year affords an opportunity for reflection. Many people take this time to seriously evaluate their lives. It is important to take a moment to evaluate health habits that are beneficial versus those that are not working for us.

The last few years of fighting a pandemic have been quite difficult. The question one may want to ask is how has your health faired during this time? Did you just skate by? Did you pay any attention to your health? Was life so difficult that paying attention to your health has been an afterthought? Did you thrive? Did you take this time to make sure your health was maintained and improved?

Good health is a gift that everyone should have and treasure. We understand, however, that everyone is not born with good health. Many people incorporate healthy habits into their daily routines with great intention. There are several principles of good health that work for anyone. Here are just a few.

Diet. You are what you eat. Many people have enjoyed the holidays and have thrown their diets out the window. Take time to try to consume the highest quality food you can. Try to avoid processed foods or foods that have been treated with pesticides, additives or coloring. Avoid corn fed beef, farm raised fish or chicken. Concentrate on consuming a diet that consists of a wide variety of plants, not meat.

Sleep. It cannot be over emphasized how important sleep is. Lack of sleep has been associated with diabetes, high blood pressure, weight gain, weakened immunity, heart disease and accidents to name a few. Try your best to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. This does not just happen for most people primarily because our society has so many distractions and duties that can easily steal away our sleep. Sleep has to be made a priority; one that pays off in better health.

Health maintenance. It is extremely important that you take time to get regular health maintenance exams. These exams are a way to keep tabs on your health and detect problems early. Common maintenance exams include a mammogram, prostate exam in men, colonoscopy in anyone 45 years of age and older, eye exam, dental exam, blood work that includes kidney function, blood count, sugar count, electrolytes and liver function tests.

Immunizations. The need for immunizations is vital to maintaining one’s health. It is a must! It is important for everyone, from infants to adults, to be immunized from preventable diseases. Infants enter this cruel world with just the defense they gain from their mothers. Immunizations have allowed the world population to soar as children stopped dying from childhood diseases. The lack of immunizations worldwide has allowed more the six million people to die.

Now that there are immunizations for COVID-19, I encourage you to get them. One million people died of COVID-19 in the U.S. and many of those people did not have to die. Many people fail to realize that there continues to be approximately 150,000 new cases of COVID-19 a day with more than 400 deaths each day. An aggressive worldwide immunization program can change this scenario. Get your immunizations. Talk with your pharmacist and healthcare provider about receiving a pneumonia vaccination, shingles vaccination, tetanus, flu and any other vaccination you may need. They save lives.

Medication. If you are on medication, make sure you take your medication daily and as prescribed. The way you take the medication can interfere with its effectiveness so follow the instructions.

Exercise. Moving that body is an important part of health. Keeping the muscles moving and simple exercise such as walking can have benefits for the body.

Relaxation. Just like sleep, the value of taking time to relax is important to health. Studies show how these activities elongate life and fight Alzheimer’s. Invest in yourself and learn to meditate, do yoga or other relaxation techniques to help re-energize the mind, body and soul.

Remember, the body does not come with an instruction manual. Take time to create your own manual to good health. Ask your healthcare provider to help you with specifics regarding what health tips should go into your book that will help ensure your longevity and clarity of mind. Have a Happy New Year!

Dr. Veita Bland is a board-certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on N.C. A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wed. Email Dr. Bland at