Health professionals, policy makers and individuals can potentially improve the chances of having a healthier life by addressing the complex interactions between genetics, development, and life events and lifestyles. This is a good idea for everyone, and especially for people with a mental illness as some of those affected can be at greater risk of physical health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease. This can be due to the effects of weight gain combined with high blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar (sometimes called ‘metabolic syndrome’).
The latest data on healthy life expectancy (the number of years lived in self-assessed good health) (2013 to 2015) show that it is now 63.4 for males and 64.1 for females. Even moderate exercise—a quick, 30-minute walk each day, for example—can lower your risk of heart problems. Studies have revealed that longer telomeres have been linked to a longer lifespan, while shorter telomeres have been linked diseases such as heart disease and dementia. Longer telomeres can also be inherited by the next generation.
The HLY is a health expectancy indicator that combines information on mortality and morbidity and partitions the total years lived at any age into those spent in different ‘health’ states, however ‘health’ is defined. This indicator was preferred to other possible health expectancy indicators such as Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALY) or Health Adjusted Life Expectancies (HALE).
Being healthy should be part of your overall lifestyle, not just a New Year’s resolution. Living a healthy lifestyle can help prevent chronic diseases and long-term illnesses. Feeling good about yourself and taking care of your health are important for your self-esteem and self-image. Maintain a healthy lifestyle by doing what is right for your body.
Join Jean Hailes naturopath and herbalist Sandra Villella in the Jean Hailes Kitchen as she makes it easy to see how eating well and simply, cooking from scratch and understanding the nutritional content of what you eat can make a big difference to your health, and the health of your family. Remember to keep an eye on your mental as well as physical health. If you start to feel down and like not bothering, it could be a sign that your mental health needs some extra care, so make sure you tell your doctor or case manager about it.