Lifestyle Diseases – The silent killers

Published at: 03.06.2022 13:23

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Lifestyle is simply the way of life. The physical, mental, and social well-being of a human is hugely affected by his lifestyle. Lifestyle diseases are mostly diseases we bring to ourselves because of the way we live, eat, work, and go about our everyday lives. Lifestyle diseases are non-communicable and are caused by lack of physical activity, unhealthy eating, alcohol, drug use disorders, smoking tobacco, etc. An unhealthy lifestyle mostly results in the development of lifestyle diseases, specifically heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and some types of cancer.

What are the Most Common Lifestyle diseases?

According to WHO, 60% of related factors to individual health and quality of life correlate to lifestyle. Poor diet and its consequences like obesity are one of the common health problems in urban societies. It is estimated that more than 36% of the world population is overweight or obese. Around 32.6 percent of both men and women in the United States self-report that they are obese, compared to 14.6 percent of women and 18.1 percent of men in Germany. The rates of obesity can differ drastically from country to country as various factors like income, activity level, diet, stress, and work environment affect the rate of obesity.

The world is undergoing some drastic changes due to globalization and urbanization. These processes have an impact on the health and lifestyle of society. Local cuisines and tastes are on the verge of extinction, and more and more processed food items are getting a place on our menu. Also, the increase in physical inactivity due to the increasingly desk-bound nature of our work, changing modes of transportation, increasing urbanization, rising income, and higher women’s labor force participation, etc. have caused a surge in the rate of obesity and overweight. In today’s world, the number of people killed due to being underweight is less compared to the number of people who are overweight or obese. The most common lifestyle diseases are;

Obesity

Hypertension/ High Blood Pressure

Heart disease and Stroke

Type 2 Diabetes

chronic respiratory diseases

Prevention of Lifestyle diseases

There are a few ways you can help yourself prevent these diseases, here are some of them:

Having a Healthy Diet

Replace both saturated fats and trans-fats with unsaturated fats, with polyunsaturated fats.

Include more fruits and vegetables in the diet.

Limit the excessive caloric intake.

Limit the consumption of sugar.

Limit the consumption of baked and fried foods, and processed snacks and foods.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. The BMI is defined as the body mass divided by the square of the body height and is expressed in units of kg/m².

BMI (Body Mass Index)

Range

<18.5

Underweight

18.5 to 24.9

Normal or Healthy

25.0 to 29.9

Overweight

>30.0

Obese


Maintain Daily Physical Activity

According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention of America (CDC), Adults should follow the exercises as specified in the following options.

Moderate-intensity aerobic activity (e.g., Brisk Walking) - 150 min/week & Muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms). Vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (e.g., Running) - 75 min/week & Muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms). An equivalent mix of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity on 2 or more days a week & Muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).

Avoid Drinking Too Much Alcohol

Excessive drinking can lead to:

High blood pressure 

Various cancers 

Heart Attack 

Liver disease

Get Enough Sleep

In the long term, insufficient sleep may lead to a lot of health problems including:

Obesity 

Diabetes 

Cardiovascular disease

Know Your History & Get Check Up on Time

It is better to know your family history of chronic diseases, like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc.

Visit your doctor regularly for a regular check-up.

Share your family health history with your doctor.

Non-communicable diseases (NCD) including lifestyle diseases kill approximately 40 million people each year. This is equivalent to 70% of all deaths globally.  If we keep our lifestyle in check, these diseases can be reversible and prevented from causing serious damage to our health.

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