LOS ANGELES (CBS) — For Bethany and Jason Winters, getting sick is a worst case scenario. The pair have two boys and their hands full.
“There seriously is not a moment when there’s not something happening,” said Jason Winters.
But one thing is a constant in their life: their health.
It’s that idea that’s behind Dr. David Agus’s new book “The End of Illness.”
“I’m a cancer doctor. I see death two or three times a week and I can’t handle it. So I put together everything I know and developed a new way of approaching health to prevent disease,” he said.
The USC doctor and pioneer in cancer research wrote the book to help people begin to take charge of their own health care.
Using a kit, the doctor says you can start by testing your DNA. He co-founded one but says several companies now offer tests that can measure your lifetime risk for 35 diseases from Alzheimer’s to heart disease.
He also believes in full body scans and on the simplest level, blood tests your doctor should be doing but may or may not be. These include, among others, testing your thyroid stimulating hormone and inflammation marker.
But Dr. Agus says a lot of what can put an end to illness starts at home. The following are simple changes he recommends:
Start with Sleep
“There’s no magic number for sleep. Whether you get eight hours a night or five hours a night. Both of them can be adequate as long as it’s regular. Once you stick to a schedule, your body will start to regulate how you benefit from that sleep,” he said.
Eating and Exercise
The doctor recommends keeping a consistent schedule.
“You’re going to get improvements in how you think, in your athletic performance, and also overtime, actually lose weight because your stress will go down,” he said.
Sitting for long periods of time may be as bad as smoking, according to the doctor.
“What I mean is, if you look at the data, walking during the day is one of the best things you can do to prevent disease. Every half hour, get up and walk around two to three minutes. It makes a big difference in health in the long run,” he said.
Stay Away from High Heels
Heels can put stress on joints and muscles and cause inflammation.
“Over weeks, months, years… that adds up. Inflammation yields heart disease, cancers and other diseases,” he added.
He also recommends asking your doctor about getting on a statin, which is usually prescribed for high cholesterol; as well as baby aspirin. Both drugs have been found to lower the risk of heart disease and cancer.
And finally, Dr. Agus recommends the following tests along with any others personalized for you by your doctor:
• Fasting lipid (Cholesterol) Profile
• Complete Blood Cell Count
• Inflammation Marker (High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein)
• Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
• Thyroid Stimulating Hormone
For more information on Dr. Agus and his book, visit “The End of Illness” online.