5 Most Common Health Mistakes

Over the course of a lifetime, bad habits and misapprehensions about health matters are unfortunately easy to accumulate. Given the fact that knowledge is power, educate yourself on the following five mistakes you can make concerning your health:

Neglecting to floss. Sure, it's a pain to thread that bit of string between your teeth and gum line, but allowing the bacteria to fester in those pockets can eat away at the bone that keeps your teeth in place and lead to heart disease. Studies have found that people who suffer from periodontal disease are twice as likely to develop cardiovascular ailments. Flossing once a day should keep those periodontal problems at bay.

Abusing antibiotics. We seem to labor under the delusion that there's a pill to cure every ailment, and usually it's some form of antibiotic. The problem is that antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections, not viral ones that are responsible for illnesses such as the common cold, the flu, or most sinus infections. And because of this overuse of antibiotics, infections caused by drug-resistant strains of bacteria have reached epidemic proportions. So use antibiotics only if you're suffering from a bacterial illness.

Smoking cigarettes. It is a rarity when a bodily organ isn't harmed by cigarettes. Outside of being responsible for 87 percent of lung cancer cases, one in five deaths in the U.S., and millions of illnesses every year, smoking can also alter you brain's chemistry, constrict your blood vessels, and damage your reproductive health. The solution is simple: If you smoke, quit; if you don't, keep it that way.

Drinking and eating too much. Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol taxes your liver, stomach, kidneys, bladder, and brain. Overeating to the point of obesity can cause diabetes, heart disease, and several types of cancer. Additionally, alcohol abuse is estimated to kill some 75,000 people in the U.S. each year, while obesity is tied to the deaths of 112,000 Americans over the same period, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). So heed the advice of Benjamin Franklin and practice "moderation in all things."

Mishandling stress. Every now and again we all feel stressed out. In fact, a little stress can do us some good. But long-term sustained stress has been linked to hair loss, headaches, depression, insomnia, cardiovascular disease, and irritable bowel syndrome, among other conditions. Also, excessive stress can make us take up other bad habits like smoking, overeating, and drinking. Exercise, deep breathing, yoga, and meditation have proved to be effective tools in combating stress.