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6 January 2024

Embrace a Healthier You in 2024: Pledge to Positive Habits!

With the start of 2024, we look ahead to the new year, it’s a great time to reflect on our habits and lifestyle and what we could change. We’d encourage you to think about trying to make sustainable changes which impact your health, as well as scheduling in preventative health habits, such as wellness checks and screenings.

Just changing a few small things can make a big difference over time, and there’s no need to be drastic! Below are a few things recommended by our medical specialists in Gibraltar to improve your health and help avoid the risk of illness in 2024.

Schedule in routine health tests and screening

One of the very best things you can do to make sure you’re healthy, or to catch any health condition early, is to undergo health screening. An annual well-person check is an excellent investment in your health and can include annual smear tests and regular screening for breast, prostate, bowel and lung cancer.

If you smoke, are obese, have diabetes, pre-existing heart disease, or a family history of heart disease, you should have a yearly cardiac check-up from around the age of 45-50 (or in the case of pre-existing disease, from the time this first presents).

If you’re at increased risk of developing skin cancer, we’d recommend using mole mapping to ensure any issues are spotted early.

Finally, for post-menopausal women, DEXA scans are the best way to measure bone density, a reliable way of assessing the bone strength and the risk of fracture. If you’re interested in having a scan, please contact your medical practitioner for a referral.

Find out more about health screening.

Improve what you are eating and your eating habits.

According to our Holistic Nutritionist and Health Coach, Nikki Robertson, what we eat and how we eat it is critical to our health. “One of the biggest changes you can make for your health in 2024 is to avoid or reduce processed food and deep-fried foods, and eat real whole foods as often as possible – I cannot stress this enough.  

I’d also suggest increasing your water and fibre intake and incorporating regular exercise into your routine.

When you’re plating your food, aim for half of the plate to be vegetables or salad, to make sure you’re getting the nutrition that you need in each meal. Also, try to avoid snacking, to give your digestive systems a break and reduce your risk of overeating over the day.

Find out more tips from Nikki on How to improve your diet for better health

Take control of your weight and waistline

Unfortunately, being overweight, or obese, puts you at risk of a wide range of health problems which can be life-threatening, it’s best therefore to face problems head on.

Check if you are at risk by calculating your BMI. There are lots of great BMI calculators online, and you simply need to know your height and weight to calculate your BMI. A healthy range is between 18.5 and 24.9, over that and you could be putting your health at risk.

There are lots of ways to lose weight, and plenty of help out there too. Laura Soiza, our Dietetic Nurse and Nutrition Specialist explains, “There are plenty of simple steps you can take to lose weight, starting with eating five times a day, with three balanced meals and two snacks of fruit each day. Then make some swaps in your diet – changing a high-calorie, processed food for a healthier and lower-calorie option. Don’t forget your five-a-day and incorporate exercise into your routine. But you don’t need to go it alone – we’re here to help you to change those bad habits for good!

Our GPs also have the following advice, “If you are overweight and struggling to lose weight, don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. Visiting your GP is a great first step to reaching a healthy weight and improving your health and wellbeing. Take control in 2024 – your body will really thank you for it!

Read our weight loss tips for better health.

Take steps to improve your heart health.

Unfortunately, coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide and is killing more people than ever. So, if you want to take steps to improve your health and extend your life, looking after your heart is a very good place to start!

Our cardiologist in Gibraltar Dr Bernd Reisbeck explains, “It’s important to pay attention to your body and not ignore the warning signs when it comes to heart health. If you have an irregular heartbeat, or are experiencing chest pain or shortness of breath, these may be indicative of a heart problem. Other symptoms include epigastric pain/gastritis which, especially in women, can be the only presenting problem. If you’re experiencing any of these issues, or heart attack symptoms like pain in the arms, chest, neck and throat, seek medical attention.

There are a number of simple steps you can take to keep your heart healthy –

  • Stop smoking.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Try to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, incorporate wholegrain and wholemeal carbohydrates and high fibre foods, lean protein, low-fat dairy, beans, pulses and two portions of fish per week. Drink 6-8 glasses of water and healthy fluids a day. Reduce your intake of saturated fat, salt, sugar and alcohol. Find out more about a healthy diet for heart health
  • Take regular exercise to improve heart health. People who don’t exercise are almost twice as likely to get heart disease as people who are active. Aim to do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week to raise your heart rate, such as a brisk walk, cycling, swimming, dancing. Also try and incorporate resistance exercise and balance and flexibility exercises for optimum health.
  • Maintain your BMI within a normal range.
  • Control your cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes.

Find out more about heart health.

Happy New Year from all the team

All our medical professionals in Gibraltar wish you a very happy and healthy 2024! If you have any concerns about your health or lifestyle choices in general and how they could be impacting your health, please do make an appointment. We are committed to preventative care and are kind, understanding and patient, so come in and put your mind at rest in 2024! Contact us to make an appointment.