Tips to Live By

Take Control of Your Health

Jan. 3, 2020

Like a machine, your body needs proper care and maintenance to function well. Regular checkups are part of good health. You can learn to stay healthy and maintain your health by building a relationship with your primary care physician, but some situations call for extra measures.

Guard against the flu

Now is the time to protect yourself and your family from the flu. “Influenza — commonly known as the flu — can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death, so it’s important to take it seriously,” says Dr. Vandana Khera, an internist with Houston Methodist.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone at least 6 months old, with few exceptions, get vaccinated annually. “People at higher risk of severe illness or complications from the flu should be especially diligent about getting vaccinated early in the fall, before flu becomes widespread,” Dr. Khera says. “That includes people with compromised immune systems or chronic health conditions, pregnant women, young children and anyone over age 65.”

Other steps you can take to protect yourself and your family include:

  • Washing your hands frequently
  • Avoiding close contact with sick people
  • Avoiding touching your mouth, nose or eyes
  • Practicing good health habits, such as getting plenty of sleep, being physically active, managing stress, drinking plenty of fluids and eating nutritious food
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces at home, school and work


Have diabetes? Follow a plan for healthy living

If you have diabetes, work with your health care providers to stay healthly. “With proactive lifestyle measures, regular health care and medication, you can limit complications from diabetes and live a long and healthy life,” Dr. Khera says. “You’ll need to keep your blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol under control.”

Stay healthy by:

  • Following a meal plan developed with your doctor or dietitian
  • Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight
  • Exercising at least 30 minutes most days
  • Taking medicine as prescribed
  • Stopping smoking
  • Staying current on vaccinations and getting a flu shot each year
  • Getting an annual eye exam
  • Seeing your dentist twice a year for exams and cleanings. Brush and floss every day
  • Keeping feet clean and dry. Check for sores, blisters or problems every day.
  • Treating cuts immediately


Are you a smoker? Quit smoking and get screened for lung cancer

Smoking is the primary cause of lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer deaths among men and women in the U.S.

“The overall five-year survival rate for lung cancer remains about 14% and most patients are still diagnosed at an advanced stage of the disease,” Dr. Khera says.

The best way to reduce your lung cancer risk is to quit smoking, and tobacco cessation programs that include counseling or medication can help you. Quitting may lower your lung cancer risk and help you live longer, no matter your age or how long you’ve smoked.

Houston Methodist has a Lung Cancer Screening Program to diagnose and treat high-risk patients at an early stage. The program for current and former smokers includes annual low-dose CT scans, health care provider consultations, tobacco cessation program access and specialist referrals if needed.

“We’re hoping the Lung Cancer Screening Program will help improve outcomes," says Dr. Khera.


Next Steps

Categories: Tips to Live By
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