Seven Cleveland Clinic physicians — from oncology to wellness to orthopaedics — weighed in with their top suggestions for patients’ health in the coming year. Commit to making these physician-recommended resolutions in 2013, and you just may have your healthiest year ever.
1. Get moving
Steven E. Nissen, MD, MACC, Chairman of the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine and Professor of Medicine at Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, recommends regular exercise as the top resolution to his patients. “Many studies have shown that individuals who exercise regularly live longer and have a better quality of life,” he says. “Exercise doesn’t have to be uncomfortable to be beneficial; brisk walking for 30 minutes a day would be a terrific New Year’s resolution.”
2. Eat less fat
“Generally, what’s good for the heart is good for the prostate, so exercise daily and eat a low-fat diet,” advises Eric Klein, MD, Chairman of the Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute. “Doing so reduces the risk of getting prostate cancer and other prostatic diseases.”
3. Stop smoking
Did you know that fracture healing and soft tissue repair of tendons and ligaments are inhibited by smoking? In addition, the outcome of orthopaedic surgery in smokers is reduced as a result of smoking. “It is for this reason and many others that people should stop smoking or using nicotine based products,” says Joseph P. Iannotti, MD, PhD, Chairman of the Orthopaedic & Rheumatologic Institute.
4. Drop those excess pounds
Tommaso Falcone, MD, Chairman of the Ob/Gyn & Women’s Health Institute, says weight loss is the most important New Year’s resolution for his patients. “Excess weight has a significant impact on every part of a woman’s life,” he says, “including fertility and increased risks during pregnancy and menopause.”
5. Screen for cancer
“My No. 1 health resolution is for people to get all appropriate cancer screenings,” says Dale R. Shepard, MD, PhD, with the Department of Solid Tumor Oncology at the Taussig Cancer Institute. Dr. Shepard notes the survival rates for patients with cancers caught early are much higher than those who wait for symptoms to develop. “Too many people put off screening due to concerns about the time required for the tests, the tests themselves or the fear they may actually find a cancer,” he says. “The time and procedures necessary for treating advanced cancers that weren’t caught early are significantly more burdensome than any screening tests and usually result in diagnosing a cancer with a much poorer outcome. Be proactive!”
6. Get a colonoscopy
John Fung, MD, PhD, Chairman of the Digestive Disease Institute, agrees, saying that a screening colonoscopy is his top recommendation for patients. “Colorectal cancer is one of the few preventable cancers,” he says. “Colonoscopy is the best procedure to check for colorectal polyps and cancer.” Screening for colorectal cancer should begin at the age of 50, when the risk for developing colorectal polyps and cancer starts to increase.
7. Make “you” a priority