Annual exams and regular monitoring of vitals go a long way toward healthy living.

The little things done to maintain your mind and body have a big impact on your overall well-being. Simple actions like reducing the amount of sugar you eat or taking a 15-minute walk in the middle of your work day can make a lasting difference in your health.

Another way to make a difference is through regular health screenings. With a couple of simple tests and physical examinations, you can detect the early onset of some serious medical conditions. Annual exams with your primary care physician (PCP), supplemented with regular health screenings, can help monitor any changes in your health.

As we age, having a record of some basic, vital statistics can help detect some medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and high cholesterol.

Blood pressure
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends keeping a log of your regular blood pressure readings. Because your readings can vary throughout the day, and sometimes there is anxiety associated with a doctor’s visit, these other blood pressure measurements throughout the year will help show your PCP a clearer picture of your blood pressure over time.

Blood glucose
Blood glucose monitoring is one of the primary tools for detecting and managing diabetes. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) states any sugar level higher than normal is unhealthy and could be a sign of prediabetes. ADA statistics show 86 million Americans suffer from prediabetes, and those people are more likely to develop diabetes over time.

At normal levels, glucose acts as fuel for the cells in your body. High sugar levels slowly erode your body’s ability to produce insulin and can also lead to heart disease, poor circulation to the legs and feet, strokes, complications related to your kidneys and more.

Keeping your cholesterol levels in check is another great way to stay healthy and lower your risks for heart disease and stroke. Simply put, cholesterol is a fat substance found in your blood and cells that is produced by your liver.

Bad cholesterol (also known as low-density lipoprotein, or LDL) comes from animal sources like meat and full-fat dairy products. When you eat foods high in saturated and trans fat, your liver produces more bad cholesterol. Good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein, HDL) helps break up the blockages caused by LDL. HDL can be found in omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseed, green leafy vegetables and walnuts.

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