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10 ways to live better in 2019

December 27, 2018 | Heather Shannon
new year’s resolutions, healthy resolutions

A new year is a chance to wipe the slate clean.

If you weren’t so kind to yourself and your health in 2018, take some time to reflect and consider making improvements. We’ve got a few ideas to get you started. Have any resolutions of your own? Share them in the comments!

Review your lifestyle habits

We all face risk factors — of age, gender and family history — but adopting healthier habits can go a long way to preventing disease and reducing risk.

This year, consider altering behaviors that could be harmful. The longer you wait to make changes, says cardiologist Dr. Ailin Barseghian, the more your risk for heart disease multiplies.

Once you work in healthy behaviors, including regular exercise and improving your diet, you can control things like:

Improve your mental health

Traffic, careers, money woes, relationship difficulties — life can be stressful. And stress isn’t just an unpleasant sensation: Too much of it can create a vicious cycle of yet more stress.

Start taking control by:

Remember that if you’re ever in serious trouble and think you may harm yourself or others, call 911 for help.

Safeguard bone health by quitting smoking

We all know that smoking is bad for our lungs. Did you know it can destroy your bones, too?

Smoking has a negative effect on your bone health in all sorts of ways:

  • It blocks hormones responsible for building bones
  • It increases hormones that break down bones
  • It damages the blood vessels, interrupting the supply of blood to the bones

As one ages, bone health becomes critical. One stumble can lead to a broken hip, which can ultimately be fatal.

Consider quitting smoking this year and your bones will thank you.

Try interesting new foods

Have you tried quinoa? Pronounced keen-wah, it’s one of the few foods on this planet that contain all nine essential amino acids.

What’s more, it’s versatile. Try it in:

And if you’ve been looking for an alternative to potatoes, consider cauliflower instead. You can have all the flavor and none of the starch with our recipe for mock roasted garlic cauliflower mashed potatoes.

Get a smart colonoscopy

There has never been a better time to get a colonoscopy. At UCI Health, colonoscopies are more accurate than ever before, thanks to the advent of artificial intelligence technology.

This technology enables our gastroenterologists to locate precancerous polyps with almost 100 percent precision. Colonoscopies have already long been the gold standard in colon cancer prevention, but this takes them to another level.

If you’re 45 or older, schedule yours today.

Look out for your hearing

Today’s noisy world has made hearing loss all too common in young- and middle-aged adults, not to mention children. According to UCI Health ear surgeon and hearing specialist Dr. Harrison Lin, one in five people over 20 have some level of hearing loss.

First, find out if your hearing is damaged by scheduling an exam with a licensed audiologist.

Next, learn how to protect what’s left of your hearing going forward. A good start is by carrying and wearing ear plugs during loud situations, such as concerts.

Have your skin checked

In Southern California, sun exposure is a concern all year round. If you have any patches, bumps, moles or scars that seem off to you, make an appointment to have them examined.

After that, make sure you’re wearing sunscreen of at least SPF 50 during daytime hours.

Get an eye exam

It’s a fact: Your eyesight will change as you get older. Staying on top of your eye health can help preserve your vision.

Schedule an eye exam with your ophthalmologist to make sure you don’t need glasses or contacts (or to get your prescription updated), as well as to rule out conditions like cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration.

Learn how to save lives

Saving a life is as easy as donating blood. It’s a simple, safe process that takes no more than an hour from start to finish.

Blood donors are needed all year round, but supplies dip in the winter and summer months. An hour of your time can mean the difference between life and death.

You can also learn to save lives by attending a Stop the Bleed class. Uncontrolled bleeding is a leading cause of death in trauma. In this class, you’ll learn how to stabilize people until medical personnel arrive. If you don't live near UC Irvine Medical Center, locate a class near you at

Learn the basics of first aid

Is it better to keep a wound exposed to air or covered with a bandage?

Should you run cold water over a burn?

Before an accident strikes, learn proper care for common household injuries. While you’re at it, review the contents of your home first-aid kit and replace anything that has expired.

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