Changes in our normal lifestyle results in the body getting diseased and working sub-par. These are lifestyle diseases. They include diabetes, heart diseases, cancer, kidney, liver failure and some digestive disorders. These are also known as non-communicable diseases. Till some time back there was a great percentage of people who ate less or just had enough to eat. Today we eat more than what our body requires. Coupled with a sedentary lifestyle the body gets abused.
According to WHO in the year 2012, 38 million people of the world died due to lifestyle diseases.With urbanization and industrialization, we have made economic progress. But we are paying the price for it by having poor health. Thus diseases like tuberculosis, malaria, and smallpox have reduced while the lifestyle diseases have increased.
Reasons For The Lifestyle Diseases
Bad eating habit is one of the main reasons for poor health. Eating of unbalanced food that does not have adequate vitamins, minerals, proteins needed for maintenance of good health is very common today. Our food habits have changed and we don’t like to eat what our grandparents eat. The shift in the eating habit involves higher consumption of carbohydrates and bad fats which causes insulin resistance and is one of the reasons for diabetes.
A lot of processed food is eaten today which is calorie dense. People have less time to cook fresh food and instead go in for processed foods. These foods are high in salt, sodium, and fats and cause a lot of health issues like cancer, heart ailments etc. This is true especially in the case of rich people who overeat foods containing a lot of sugar, carbohydrates, and fats. Thus a balanced diet is a key to good health.
1. Insufficient Time For Exercises and Activity
Though our food consumption levels have gone up the activity levels have taken a reverse direction. Thus the excess food we eat gets stored as fat in the body. This, in turn, causes weight gain and obesity. Obesity, in turn, causes lifestyle diseases. If there is sufficient physical activity the excess calories is burnt off and hence chances of weight gain will be less.
Physical activity is much higher in rural towns and villages. People still walk long distances and do physical work since all the facilities are still not fully available there. But in urban towns and cities, the people hardly walk like before. Convenient mode of transport like cars and buses take people to offices where they work. Most of the jobs are desk-based and there is hardly any physical exercise. Thus obesity is more in the urban regions.
2. Stress and Anxiety
Today people want to achieve things and become successful at the earliest. This causes a lot of stress and tension. People don’t mind working 24X7 to make fast and good money. In the process, they get burnt out and land up with health problems. In addition to physical ailments, mental ailments like depression, anger and frustration are also on the rise. When people are under stress they cannot get a good night’s sleep too.
Thus the body repair functions get diluted and body decay starts. Stress is the cause of diseases like asthma, diabetes, cardiac diseases and digestive ailments. Today in a typical household both the spouses go to work in order to lead a comfortable and financially stable life. If there are kids in the family it becomes all the more difficult for the couple. With nuclear families and no support, the total burden of managing office, travel, kids and home falls on them. This surely takes a toll on them and the kids too. Thus human beings have created situations where they get exposed to more stress today.
3. Obesity and Being Overweight
While malnutrition was a major issue the world was facing some years back, being obese is a big issue today and years to come. The excess food we eat and toxins in the body get stored as fat. This is one of the major causes for thickening of arteries and diabetes.
Abdominal fat is supposed to be a clear indicator of lifestyle diseases. The external fat clearly indicates that a lot of fat is covering the internal organs too like liver and pancreas causing it to malfunction. Eating unnecessarily under depression, bakery products, irregular meal timings are some causes for obesity.
4. Environmental Conditions
A lot of people contract diseases from the working environment they are in. It could be the heat they are exposed to in factories or it could be the chemicals they inhale from their surroundings. Poor postures and standing for long hours in a job also cause disorders in the body.
5. Inadequate Sleep
A number of people work extended hours sometimes late into the night compromising their sleep. This takes a toll on their health. The biological clock within their body also changes raising risks for lifestyle diseases. Since they work late into the night, their eating pattern also changes causing them digestive disorders.
6. Action plan
Lifestyle diseases need not be threatening if detected at an early stage. If you incorporate the corrections the problems could be solved at the earliest and you can get back your original health.
The following factors if incorporated in your life can bring about changes which would definitely improve your health.
1. Avoid Processed and Junk Food
When there are hunger pangs it is safer to go in for fruits and raw vegetables like salads rather than junk food. We know very well that we are what we eat. Thus if you give high amounts of processed or junk food to your body the result that would materialize is also junk. Thus you need to take time out to cook healthy meals and that’s a very important part of your life.
There are surplus food attractions for people today but you need to know your limits. Most of the processed foods do not provide the much-needed nutrition and are in fact disastrous to the body. There is no food ethics and many producers of junk food use hydrogenated oils, additives and preservatives which are actually banned. Finally, the sufferer is you and you cannot pinpoint fingers at anybody.
It is fine to consume these foods once in a while but it should not become a routine affair. This is also true with consumption of alcoholic drinks.
2. Breathe Fresh Air
Fresh air has become a rare commodity, especially in urban towns and cities. Most of the workplaces are air conditioned and there is no natural flow of free air. City dwellers need to take off once in a while and breathe fresh air. They can relax in the outskirts or good locations where the air is not polluted. Doing regular yoga breathing exercises also help in oxygenating the body and keeping the organs healthy.
3. Exercise Regular
A sedentary lifestyle is very harmful. Doing some kind of physical activity or exercises to burn calories or working out daily help to keep your body fit. A 30-minute walk everyday is supposed to lower risks of heart diseases. Any activity like walking, jogging, working in the garden and going to the gym is all towards a healthy lifestyle.
4. Get Enough Sunshine
Though India is a tropical country a number of people suffer from vitamin D deficiency. Exposure to sunshine helps the skin to take in vitamin D. A lot of vitamins and minerals which were available in the food during early days is not so today. The soil is not nutrient dense anymore and hence the vegetables and fruits we eat lack them. Then it becomes necessary to get it from an external source as health supplements.
5. Get Sufficient Amount of Sleep
Sleep duration should not be compromised at all. It is during deep sleep our tissues and organs repair themselves. By depriving the body of that we are always in a fight mode which results as diseases in the body. At least 7 to 8 hours of sleep is necessary per day for the body to function at its optimum level. Also sleeping at the right time and the getting up at the right time also counts. Sleeping when its night and waking up to the sunlight is how our bodies are tuned to work efficiently.
6. Be Positive Always
Though life takes us through roller coaster rides every day we need to face them with calm and patience. Money doesn’t bring all the kind of happiness we want. Disappointments, frustration and anger run high in people today and they should learn to tolerate and face it. Having a positive attitude helps in surmounting any kind of difficulties in life and would have less impact on health.
7. Do Away With Addictions
Too much of anything in life is bad for health. It could be excess alcohol, coffee, colas or tea. Many of the caffeinated drinks are bad for health and strain your digestive system. Smoking and drinking in the long run could also take a toll on your health. Hence things should be taken in moderation.
8. Drinking Enough Water
Drinking sufficient amount of water is very critical to keep our inner organs hydrated and healthy. It is recommended that we drink 2 to 3 liters of water every day. The inner organs need water for efficient functioning. Also water helps in drawing away of the toxins from the body.
9. Avoid Obesity
Being obese raises your risks for lifestyle diseases. Being obese is like being in a vicious cycle. Once we are overweight we find it difficult to exercise and even walking becomes painful. Thus with reduced exercises and binging on food the obesity factor rises further making the problem worse. Obese people need to make a conscious decision to lose weight and be fit. They should analyze the causes for their food cravings and try to attack the problem at the root cause itself.
As seen above it is not difficult to get rid of lifestyle diseases if you have any. Following the solutions mentioned above will go a long way in keeping your mind and body healthy.