Lifestyle Diseases- Global Killer

Lifestyle diseases, also known as non-communicable diseases, are defined as the diseases associated with a person’s day-to-day habits. Over the last few decades, our lifestyle has changed drastically; lack of physical activity, unhealthy diet, and smoking and alcohol abuse resulted in major non-communicable chronic diseases
such as obesity, diabetes, impotency, asthma, Alzheimer’s disease, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD), arteriosclerosis, osteoporosis, heart disease and stroke.
Lifestyle diseases are expected to increase over time, which will cause life-threatening consequences if people follow the same unhealthy daily habits and diet. As per WHO Non-communicable diseases, Fact Sheet (2017), lifestyle diseases cause around 40 million deaths each year, around 70% of all global deaths. Let’s now discuss some of the lifestyle diseases in detail.

Obesity is a lifestyle disease, defined as an excessive amount of body fat, usually caused by physical inactivity and over-consumption of food rich in carbohydrates, fats, and salt.
Body Mass Index (BMI) is the most common approach to measuring obesity in adults. A BMI of 25-30 is considered overweight, and greater than 30 is considered obese in adults.
Over time, obesity can increase the risk of other health-related issues such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and many more. Eating a balanced diet accompanied by positive lifestyle changes such as proper sleep, regular exercise, etc., helps in preventing excessive weight gain.

Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes in which the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the muscle, fat, and liver cells become resistant to insulin. Insulin helps glucose in the bloodstream to enter cells of the body to get used as energy, but the lack of insulin leads to a rise in blood sugar levels.

Type 2 diabetes develops slowly and can be managed or reversed in the early stages by adopting healthy lifestyle changes such as eating healthy, reducing stress, and practicing yoga as it helps to reduce stress and increase concentration power.

If this health condition is not managed appropriately or remains untreated, it can cause serious complications, including skin problems, nerve damage, cardiovascular diseases, kidney disease and foot problems.

Impotency, also known as erectile dysfunction, is defined as the man's inability to achieve or maintain an erection. It is a very common problem caused by a combination of physical and psychological issues. Physical causes include heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, etc. It also includes some lifestyle causes like smoking, alcohol and drug abuse. Besides, psychological causes include stress, anxiety, depression and other mental condition. Treatments of this health condition include medical treatment, natural remedies, and lifestyle changes.

Asthma is an inflammatory disease that causes narrowing and swelling of the airways. Asthma results in shortness of breath, chest tightness, wheezing and prolonged coughing.
The common asthma triggers include:

  • Allergens such as pollen, dust mites, etc.,
  • Respiratory infections
  • Pollution and smoke
  • Weather
  • Emotions such as stress
  • Certain medications

Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive brain disorder that slowly causes brain cells to die, affecting memory and thinking skills. Alzheimer's disease is the primary cause of dementia, a continuous decline in thinking and behavioural skills.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD)
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a group of progressive lung diseases, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema, that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs.
Difficulty breathing, chronic cough, mucus production, and wheezing are some COPD symptoms. The most common cause of COPD includes smoking, long-term exposure to air pollution and alpha-1 deficiency.

Arteriosclerosis is a heart condition that causes the hardening and thickening of arterial blood vessels that carry oxygen from the heart to the rest of your body. Arteriosclerosis can cause blood clot, chest pain, heart attack and stroke.

The major cause of this health condition is high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, etc.

Osteoporosis is a bone-weakening disease that causes a loss of bone density. It causes your bones to become fragile and increase the risk of fracture. Osteoporosis can be caused by several factors such as lifestyle choices, calcium deficiency, estrogen deficiency in women, etc. Eating a healthy diet, calcium-rich food, and positive lifestyle changes helps to avoid osteoporosis.

Cardiovascular disease
Cardiovascular diseases are a group of diseases related to the heart and blood vessels. They are a leading cause of death globally. Cardiovascular diseases include stroke, coronary heart disease, peripheral arterial disease, aorta disease, etc. Your lifestyle choices, such as eating an unhealthy diet rich in fat and carbohydrate, physical inactivity,
smoking, etc., increase the risk of heart diseases.

Tips to prevent Lifestyle Diseases

  • Make healthier food choices, eat a wholesome diet. Include green veggies, fresh fruits, dry fruits and
    fibre-rich food in your diet.
  • Avoid junk food rich in carbohydrates, fat and salt.
  • Avoid alcohol and smoking.
  • Stay physically active; regular exercise helps to prevent many lifestyle diseases. Everyone should
    participate in some form of physical activity for at least 30 minutes daily, like:
  • Try taking stairs instead of lifts
  • Walk from your home to the bus stop
  • If possible, use cycle to your work.
  • Take a short walk after every meal.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Take good care of your health.


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