The way you live your life every single day defines your lifestyle. Your bad health habits, no matter how small, can take a serious toll on your overall health and wellbeing as they accumulate over time. This is where lifestyle diseases enter the picture.
What Do The Statistics Say?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), lifestyle diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide, and the statistics are steadily increasing* each year.
In 2015, ischemic heart disease and stroke were the primary causes of death in the world. These two diseases are non-communicable and are included in the bracket of lifestyle diseases.
In American countries, the top 5 leading causes of death are lifestyle diseases. Topping the list is ischemic heart disease, followed by stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and diabetes mellitus.
The probable causes of Alzheimer’s disease are a combination of genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors while the other 4 are mainly influenced by lifestyle choices.
Are You At Risk?
Risk factors are conditions that can increase* your likelihood of developing a chronic disease. They are divided into two categories. Non-modifiable risk factors are those that cannot be changed or controlled. Non-modifiable health risks include your age, family history, ethnicity, and sex.
However, in the case of lifestyle diseases, the risk factors are largely modifiable and dependent on your lifestyle choice.
Modifiable risk factors are those that can be adjusted or changed mainly through lifestyle modification. They include:
- Alcohol Drinking:Studies have shown that heavy alcohol intake can increase* your risk of total stroke. Interestingly, low alcohol intake can reduce* the risk of stroke morbidity (disease condition) and mortality (death).
- Cigarette Smoking:Smoking results in an increase* in blood vessel inflammation and clotting mechanism, leading to a variety of cardiovascular diseases such as stroke, atherosclerosis, erectile dysfunction, aneurysms, and ischemic heart disease.
- UnhealthyEating Habits: Poor eating habits can increase* your risk of developing type II diabetes mellitus, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases. These habits include eating foods that have too much salt, sugar, and fat content as well as too much intake of processed foods.
- Physical Inactivity:A sedentary lifestyle means that you have little to no physical activity. Physical inactivity can double your risk of having lifestyle diseases, particularly cardiovascular disease, obesity, osteoporosis, and diabetes.
Common Lifestyle Diseases
Due to the alarmingly high number of deaths associated with an unhealthy lifestyle, it is important to understand the diseases that you might develop if you fail to change the modifiable risk factors mentioned in this article.
Sclerosis means hardening. In atherosclerosis, plaques build up and harden in the walls of your arteries, leading to arterial narrowing or blockage.
Smoking is a major risk factor for atherosclerosis because the nicotine content of your cigarette narrows your blood vessels, raises cholesterol levels, and increases* your chances of developing blood clots.
Obesity is already considered as a pandemic disease. It is estimated that 2.1 billion people are suffering from obesity around the world.
A sedentary lifestyle is a strong contributor to obesity and if no action is taken, this might progress to other serious diseases such as diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease.
In osteoporosis, the bones become brittle and fragile due to loss of bone mass attributed to a deficiency of Vitamin D and Calcium. It usually presents with a stooped posture, loss of height, and back pain.
Chronic alcohol drinking and cigarette smoking have been linked with osteoporosis. Adding foods that are rich sources Calcium and Vitamin D in your diet can reduce* your risk of developing osteoporosis.
An active lifestyle can also strengthen your bones. Back pain can be managed by applying a cold or hot pack to the affected area. Using seat cushions for back pain  can also help reduce* your discomfort by relieving the pressure on your spine.
Stroke or brain attack happens when the blood supply to an area of the brain is cut off. This can happen in two ways. One is when the blood vessels in your brain are occluded by blood clots, blocking the supply of oxygen and glucose to the brain tissues.
This is known as ischemic stroke. Another is known as hemorrhagic stroke. From the name itself, a hemorrhagic stroke happens when an artery in the brain ruptures and bleeds (like in the case of a ruptured brain aneurysm), cutting off blood supply.
5) Type II Diabetes Mellitus
This type of diabetes is chronic in nature and presents with lack of insulin production and insulin resistance in the cells, leading to a high glucose level in the blood. People who have an active lifestyle have a lower risk of developing diabetes.
Read More: Healthy Lifestyle To Maintain Your Weight
Lifestyle diseases can be fatal but the good thing about them is they can be prevented through a healthy lifestyle. This is their quality that you have to take advantage of.
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