Use these three tips to 'live long and prosper'

We will never find a literal fountain of youth.

But what can we all do to extend our quality of life?

"I tell people the biggest secret to a long life is to choose your parents well," joked Robert Good, DO, Medical Director of Clinical Integrated Operations at Carle. "Genetics is by far the biggest factor in how long people live."

Research finds if people have one parent who lives past age 70, they, too, will live a longer life.

While people can't control their genes, they can do three things to live longer:

  • Stop smoking
  • Get health screenings
  • Talk openly with their doctor

The leading killers are cancer, heart disease and stroke.

"Those three killers have one common factor—tobacco use. Stop smoking and using smokeless tobacco. That is the best thing people can do to live a better life," Dr. Good said.

People also need to get regular health screenings.

"Women need to get a mammogram. Everyone needs to get a colonoscopy starting at age 50. Men need to get their prostate checked. Get a blood test to check cholesterol levels," Dr. Good advised.

"Many cancers are treatable or even curable if caught early. We have many excellent medicines to help control blood pressure and high cholesterol.”

“But people have to take the first step and schedule a check-up before we can help them.”

Finally, Dr. Good says people must communicate with their doctor.

"I know that it's hard to open up to someone about health issues that are concerning or embarrassing. But physicians are well-trained to talk to their patients about delicate or serious health issues in a discreet and professional way," Good said.

The goal is to manage chronic illness or catch something small before it becomes big.

“We want to keep people out of the hospital,” said Timothy Meneely, DO, senior vice president of Population Health. “To do that, patients and providers must work closely together. We will walk with our patients every step of the way to help them live healthy and thrive.”

Dr. Good added, "Your physician is here to help you. We have medicine that can make you better. We have surgery and procedures that can manage or even cure sickness and disease.

“Take charge of your health and you will have a better quality of life."