Merck Manual

Please confirm that you are not located inside the Russian Federation

Some Strategies for Preventing Major Health Problems *

Some Strategies for Preventing Major Health Problems *

Health Problem

Preventive Measures

Do not smoke (to prevent lung cancer and many other cancers).

Eat a balanced diet high in fiber, fruits, and vegetables and limited in fat (particularly saturated fat and trans fatty acids) and calories (to prevent breast cancer and colorectal cancer).

Reduce consumption of salt- or smoke-cured food (to prevent stomach cancer).

Avoid too much sun exposure, and use sunscreens with a high sun-protection factor (to prevent skin cancer).

Make sure children get the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine (to prevent cervical cancer and throat cancer).

Consider taking drugs recommended to prevent cancer (such as tamoxifen for women at high risk of breast cancer).

Get recommended screening tests.

Do not smoke.

Avoid exposure to toxic substances (especially in industrial settings).

Diabetes (type 2)

Exercise regularly.

Eat a balanced diet.

Maintain recommended body weight.

Maintain normal lipid levels through diet and, if necessary, drugs.

Maintain normal blood pressure through diet, exercise, stress reduction, and, if necessary, drugs.

Do not smoke.

Maintain normal cholesterol and other fat (lipid) levels through diet and drugs (if necessary).

Maintain normal blood pressure through diet, exercise, stress reduction, and drugs (if necessary).

Consume a balanced diet high in fiber, fruits, and vegetables and limited in fat (particularly saturated fat and trans fatty acids) and calories.

Maintain recommended body weight.

Do not smoke.

Exercise regularly and include aerobic exercise (such as brisk walking, bicycling, and jogging) and muscle-strengthening exercise (such as training with free weights or weight machines).

Take aspirin and lipid-lowering drugs if recommended (for most adults at high risk of coronary artery disease).

Do not use cocaine.

High blood pressure (hypertension)

Consume a balanced diet high in fiber, fruits, and vegetables and limited in salt, fat (particularly saturated fat and trans fatty acids), and calories.

Exercise regularly and include aerobic exercise and muscle-strengthening exercise.

Maintain normal cholesterol through diet, exercise, and drugs (if necessary).

Maintain recommended body weight (through diet and exercise).

Do not smoke.

Get the influenza vaccine every year (particularly infants, older adults, and people who have a heart, lung, or immune system disorder).

Drink alcohol in moderation if at all.

Get the vaccine for hepatitis A and B (for all children and for adults with risk factors for the disease).

Do muscle-strengthening and stretching exercises.

Remain physically active.

Maintain recommended body weight.

Consume adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D (in the diet or in supplements).

Do weight-bearing exercises (for example, walking, jogging, tennis, and dancing) every day for at least 30 minutes.

Take bone-strengthening drugs if prescribed by a doctor.

Limit consumption of caffeine and alcohol (to one drink a day).

Do not smoke.

There are two vaccines for pneumonia:

Get the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV 13) for all babies and children younger than 2 years old, all adults 65 years or older, and people 2 through 64 years old with certain medical conditions.

Get the pneumococcal polysaccharide (PPSV 23) vaccine for all adults 65 years or older, people 2 through 64 years old who are at increased risk for disease due to certain medical conditions, and adults 19 through 64 years old who smoke cigarettes.

Practice abstinence or limit the number of sex partners.

Use condoms and follow safe sex practices.

Depending on your sexual activity, discuss with your doctor whether you should take preventive medicine for HIV infection.

Brush teeth and use dental floss regularly.

Limit how often sweets are consumed.

Visit a dentist regularly.

Take supplemental fluoride if needed (for example, if the water source for preschool children older than 6 months is fluoride-deficient).

*In addition to these preventive measures, people should have recommended screening tests (see Table: Some Recommended Screening Tests* ,†).

1 drink = one 12-ounce can of beer, one 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor (such as whiskey).