Health-related New Year's resolutions are popular this time of year. These tips will help you get started

After a full holiday season of snacks and indulgences, it’s no wonder some of the most common New Year’s resolutions are health-related! 

Whether the goal is to lose weight, exercise more, cut down on alcohol, eat better or quit smoking, most resolutions are doomed to fail before Spring sets in. Make small, realistic changes that you can maintain, and you’ll be much more likely to achieve your goals. Here are 3 key places to start:

1. Prevention is the key to long-term health. Preventive health care is vital to prevent some of the most common health conditions. However, too many people forget or ignore their basic preventive care. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control suggests that Americans neglect their preventive services 50 percent of the time. Schedule your annual check ups and supplementary appointments. As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

2. Schedule your bloodwork and studies. Depending on age, scheduling specific diagnostic tests should be taken care of to help ensure a healthy new year. According to the United States Preventive Services Task Force, some of the most important tests depending on age include:

Get a colonoscopy to identify and remove any polyps or growths before they can develop into colon cancer (men and women). This test starts at age 50 for most unless there are family risk factors. Depending on the results, the doctor will recommend an appropriate follow up schedule.

Get bloodwork to monitor cholesterol levels and assess risk for heart disease, stroke and other health conditions (men and women) beginning at age 35-45 or sooner depending on risk factors.

Annual pap tests are recommended to detect abnormal cells that could indicate cervical cancer (women) age 21-65.

Mammogram to detect breast cancer early in a very treatable phase (women); age 50-75 or sooner depending on risk factors.

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