Many of us will remain mentally and physically healthy well into our 60s. Some people, however will become ill or die before others of a similar age. To some extent this is a matter of chance, environment, and heredity. But there are some very important factors in determining how healthy you are now and how healthy you will be in your later years that are under your control. 
You can stay healthier throughout your life by making positive lifestyle changes and by having regular checkups, so that any disease that develops can be detected and treated early. 
Of course, prevention does not mean simply "diseases prevention". You can risk illness, injury, and even early death in many other ways. For example, young people in the world are more likely to become disabled or die as a result of motor vehicle and work injuries and violent assaults involving alcohol and illegal drugs than as a result of motor vehicle and work injuries and violent assaults involving alcohol and illegal drugs than as a result of diseases. Because of AIDS, sexual behavior also has become a significant factor in determining both health and survival. 

Adopting a healthy lifestyle does not mean that you have to stop enjoying life. It does, however, mean taking responsibility for your actions. If you smoke, stop now. Smoking is the leading cause of death before age 55 in the world. You can find suggestions on how to quit smoking. A healthy diet means eating a wide variety of naturally occurring foods and maintaining your weight at a desirable level. Regular moderate exercise, such as walking, can lead to a gradual, but significant, improvement in your physical conditions as well as improved mental energy and alertness. The section two of the pages will help you to guide a healthier lifestyle. 
Medical research performed during the past 20 years clearly shows how a healthy lifestyle can help prevent a variety of deceases that cause most deaths before age 55. For example heart diseases and cancers are major causes of premature death, but you can take steps to prevent some of these deceases. 
If disease develops and is detected at any early stage, treatment often is more effective. Detecting and treating cpmdotopms that cause no symptoms, such as high blood pressure, have saved millions of lives, and tests have been developed to detect heart and lung disorders and many types of cancer. Evaluating vision and hearing problems is another important part of the regular check ups that are essential to a healthy lifestyle. On coming pages you will find a guide to screenings tests and checkups that physicians generally recommend for adults. 
The recommendations made in this section of the guide are based on scientific research. Six basic rules for healthy living are described in the box on the following page. They sound simple and they are but they are valuable guidelines to positive steps that you can take to improve your health both now and in the future.



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