Top FirstLine Therapy Health Tips of 2013

Don’t skimp on sleep.
Why are those ZZZs so vital? Because getting too little sleep can have serious health effects. Research has shown that chronic sleep deprivation increases your risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, depression, heart attack and stroke. Sleep problems have also been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, as well as increased risk of liver disease in heavy drinkers. Most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep a night — so you should go to bed early enough to get that much. If you regularly have trouble falling asleep, discuss it with your doctor.

Stretching can protect your knees — whether or not you exercise.
Stretches that focus on the calf, hamstring and quadriceps muscles take pressure off of the knees and kneecaps. Some good stretches to protect the knees include step-ups, hamstring curls and straight-leg lifts. Additionally, stretches that focus on building flexibility in the hips can help alleviate knee pain.

Avoid going to extremes — like eliminating carbs — in your diet.
It’s become such a cliché — moderation and finding a balance. But when you look at all the components of both weight loss and weight maintenance, that’s really what it’s about: finding behaviors that you can stick with and that don’t feel like deprivation. Instead of deprivation, look at making improvements. How often are sweets a part of your normal routine now? If it’s every day, cutting back to two or three days a week is an improvement.

Women with average breast cancer risk should start getting mammograms at 40.
The American Cancer Society, the American College of Radiology and the Society of Breast Imaging, as well as various other groups, recommend that an average woman (a woman with no significant risk factors such as family history or testing positive for the BRCA gene mutation) should undergo annual screening mammograms starting at age 40.