Health is a hot topic. In today’s age, there are new trends popping up every day – everything from detox teas to the “purple diet” when people literally only eat purple-hued foods. In the midst of all this madness, it can be difficult to remember which health tips are absolutely necessary to keep our bodies healthy and functional as we age. While some of these health facts may sound familiar, you may not remember or understand just how important they are in preventing serious health issues. In light of all this chaos, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of the basic health facts and habits you should know and practice every day.

Kick the bad habits

For those who have been living under a rock for the last five decades or refuse to listen to Surgeon General Warnings, smoking cigarettes is bad. In fact, smoking is one of the worst things you can do to your body. Although the first Surgeon General Report on smoking cigarettes was released in 1964, people are still risking their lives every day for a smoke. Believe us when we tell you this pleasure is short-lived, as smoking cigarettes is a major risk factor for nearly all preventable diseases such as heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, kidney disease, blindness, and nearly every type of cancer. What’s more, cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, accounting for 480,000 deaths annually. Smoking is responsible for nearly one in five deaths nationwide and causes more deaths than HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol abuse, car accidents, and firearm incidents combined. Please, stop smoking.

Another vice that isn’t doing your health any favors is alcohol. While a drink or two a week won’t cause any severe health problems, binge drinking is still a major health risk. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to stomach bleeds, intestinal bleeds, pancreatitis, liver disease, liver failure, heart failure, stroke, osteoporosis, and alcoholism. If you do choose to drink, at least pace out your beverage consumption to one an hour with water breaks in between.

Prevention goes a long way

Keeping our bodies happy and healthy as we age starts with habits we develop early in our lives. One of the most important preventative activities is daily exercise. Lack of exercise can lead to a variety of health problems, including anxiety, cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancers, depression, diabetes, and more. To prevent these health issues, consider even engaging in 10 to 15 minutes of light exercise each day. This is especially important for those with desk jobs or otherwise sedentary lifestyles. The benefits of daily exercise include improved mood, weight loss, increased energy levels, and more.

Brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes is also a key habit that can prevent health issues down the line. Fixing or replacing decaying teeth can be expensive. What’s more, issues that may start with the teeth can go on to infect the jaw bone and even damage the brain. Flossing daily is important, too. If you neglect your teeth, you may run into several health problems such as gum disease, bad breath, dementia, pneumonia, erectile dysfunction, brain abscesses, diabetes, kidney disease, pregnancy complications, ulcers, and some types of cancer. Brushing your teeth every morning and night doesn’t seem like such a big hassle anymore, does it?

In addition, if you’re an avid concertgoer, invest in some quality earplugs. Unfortunately, our hearing does not regenerate as we get older. For this reason, it is important to protect our hearing early on to avoid developing hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in your ears), and hyperacusis (sensitivity to sound).

Take care of yourself down under

This isn’t the easiest thing to talk about, but it is important. Ladies, do not clean your vagina internally with soap or douching products. The inside of the vagina does not need to be cleaned, as it actually cleans itself. Using soap products inside the vagina can cause issues by offsetting the vagina’s natural pH balance. This can result in yeast infections and other uncomfortable issues. Feel free to wash around the lips of the vagina, but there’s no need to go inside.

Also, remember to take bathroom breaks when your bladder is full. If you neglect to do this, your bladder may become over-distended. Overstretching the bladder can damage the muscles in the organ and lead to dysfunctions in relieving yourself in the future. Other urinary issues, such as a urinary tract infection (UTI) should also be taken seriously. If a UTI goes untreated, the infection can spread up to your kidneys and even into your bloodstream. Although it may be embarrassing, contact your doctor about any pain you may be feeling in your pelvic area as soon as possible to avoid future complications. Finally, make sure you contact your doctor immediately if you begin to pee blood. This is a serious medical emergency. Alternatively, ejaculating blood happens more often than you’d think, and this issue will usually resolve itself within a week. Understanding the difference between peeing blood and ejaculating blood is key. Indeed, these conversations with your doctor may seem uncomfortable. However, there’s nothing too embarrassing to take to your doctor. If you find yourself in pain or wondering about the condition you are in, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment or visit an urgent care center. Getting treatment sooner can make a world of a difference for your health later in life.