As we usher in a new year, many take the opportunity to look at unhealthy habits they may have accrued in the previous year. Maybe you want to spend less and save more, spend more time with loved ones, get organized, go back to school or even floss a bit more than you tell your dentist you do. According to a YouGov poll, the top three aspirations in the new year in the United States are to live healthier, personal improvement or happiness, and losing weight. But does our health stop at just that?
We compiled a list of healthy resolutions to consider making this year to make 2023 your best year yet!
Partner with a Primary Care Physician
If you can’t remember the last time you made a trip to the doctor’s office, don’t worry; you’re not alone. Of the more than 860 million office visits recorded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2021, only about half of those visits were to a primary care physician. According to the DFWHC Foundation, about 72 percent of North Texas adults regularly see the doctor for a routine checkup.
Outside of providing medical care for acute issues, like the flu you caught at your office or that time you sprained your ankle, Jessica Ngo, M.D., an internal medicine physician on the medical staff at Texas Health Dallas and Texas Health Internal Medicine, a Texas Health physicians group practice, says that seeing a primary care physician is about building a relationship with a provider you know and trust to have your best interests in mind.
So if you haven’t seen a primary care physician in a while, but you are not ill, where can you start? Ngo says an annual physical or wellness check is a great first step, especially at the beginning of the year.
“The annual physical is a good time to review your health and address anything that may be falling through the cracks, such as immunizations, cancer screenings, and questions you may have forgotten at your last visit,” she explains. “It is also a good time to screen for medical issues early before they become a long-term chronic illness.”
With more than 460 primary care providers and over 360 specialists across 200-plus locations, Texas Health is dedicated to serving you and your family throughout a lifetime of changing medical needs. Find a Texas Health Family Care provider near you to get the ball rolling.
Stop Ignoring Pain
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health Interview Survey, one in five Americans, or about 50 million people, suffer from chronic pain. The most common complaints are lower back pain, migraine/severe headaches and joint pain (most commonly the knee).
Norin Ukani, a Texas Center for Joint Replacement certified family nurse practitioner who focuses on pain management and pre- and post-surgical care, says that chronic pain has become a significant national problem.
“Pain patients suffer a lot, but often they don’t know what to do,” she explains. “I make sure to ask about their whole history, not just their pain. We talk about lifestyle and family history, so I get an overall picture and then start working on a plan. Once the patient understands the plan thoroughly, we work together to break the cycle.”
With the current focus on preventing opioid abuse, many people are concerned about how to appropriately treat their pain without causing additional harm. Texas Health offers multiple traditional and complementary treatment methods for pain management, such as:
- Myofascial release
- Chiropractic adjustment
- Spinal manipulation
- Deep tissue massage
- Manual therapy
- Medication therapy
- Nutrition counseling
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Pain management and physical medicine
- Exercise plans
- Minimally invasive surgery
- Pre and post-surgical therapy
- Aquatic therapy
Pain doesn’t have to be a constant this year. If you’re dealing with pain, partnering with a physician to create a plan that manages your pain — no matter the type — can be one of the best things you do for yourself and your health in the upcoming year. To schedule a consultation with a pain management physician through Texas Health Resources, visit TexasHealth.org/Doctors.
Get Well-Acquainted with Your Heart Health Risks
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women and cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease and stroke, account for more than one-third of all U.S. deaths.
Your heart health, just like your general health, is highly personal. Knowing what your individual risk factors are and how they play into your heart health can help get you on the right foot toward better health. Take the Texas Health Heart Risk Assessment to get your individualized report, then make an appointment with your physician to discuss your results.
As we mentioned earlier, getting active is one of the top two resolutions for the new year, but sometimes you need a little support and guidance from a trusted source.
Texas Health fitness centers offer a healthy approach to wellness and exercise in a comfortable, relaxed setting. Whatever your fitness goals — from losing weight to gaining strength, from endurance building to recreation — we can help.
Fitness center staff members are available to explain and demonstrate equipment. They also provide a supportive and motivating environment to help you stay on track.
At a Texas Health fitness center, you don’t need a perfect body, and you don’t need fancy attire. All you need is the determination to feel and look your best. To learn more about the fitness programs at our hospital-based centers, visit TexasHealth.org/Fitness.
Focus on Self Care
Psychological distress can affect every aspect of our lives and our health. According to a survey conducted by County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, more than 14 percent of North Texas adults stated that their mental health, including stress, depression and emotional issues, was not good for 14 or more of the past 30 days.
It is important to recognize and address potential mental health issues before they become a bigger problem. Occasional off days are normal, but if you experience persistent mental or emotional issues, it’s time to talk to someone about it.
If you or a loved one is experiencing mental health issues, a Texas Health Physicians Group physician or licensed professional counselor can help. Find a physician or counselor near you or call 1-877-605-1651. The Texas Health Behavioral Health helpline is also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 682-236-6023. To learn more about the services offered by our Behavioral Health centers, please visit TexasHealth.org/Behavioral-Health.
While 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fall through by February, North Texans may have a bit of a home-field advantage. After all, seven North Texas cities make the “Best Cities for Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions” list, according the WalletHub, with Plano coming in at #8.
But while that flossing resolution you made may easily fall to the wayside, making a commitment to your health is an everyday endeavor. Take it one day a time and before you know it, you’ll be sitting down to make your resolution list for next year. Texas Health is here to guide you every step of the way, and we wish you a happy and healthy new year!