Lifestyle diseases are ailments that are primarily based on the day to day habits of people. Habits that detract people from activity and push them towards a sedentary routine can cause a number of health issues that can lead to chronic Non-communicable diseases (NCD) that can have near life-threatening consequences.
Non-communicable diseases (NCD) are chronic in nature and cannot be communicated from one person to another. They are a result of a combination of factors including genetics, physiology, environment, and behaviors’. The main types of NCDs are cardiovascular and chronic respiratory diseases in addition to cancer. NCDs such as cardiovascular diseases (CVD), stroke, diabetes and certain forms of cancer are heavily linked to lifestyle choices, and hence, are often known as a lifestyle disease. These are caused, to a massive extent, by four behavioral risk factors: tobacco use, unhealthy diet, insufficient physical activity and harmful use of alcohol.
The modern high-pressure office jobs and comfort traveling in air-conditioned cars and other automobiles have replaced the traditional occupations and walking habit, that is resulting into less physical activity and more brain exertion has also become a major cause of New World Syndrome.
New World Syndrome (NWS) is an assemblage of maladies brought on not by microbes or parasites but by lifestyle and dietary habits. It is a set of non-communicable diseases characterized by obesity, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and shortened life span.
Some of the most common types of lifestyle diseases are the following:
i.Obesity: In most people obesity is caused by eating too much and moving too little. If you consume high amounts of energy from your diet but do not burn off the energy through exercise and physical activity, the surplus energy will be turned into fat.
- Our modern lifestyles are also causing more people to be obese. Unhealthy eating habits, stressful lifestyles, reduced physical activity translates to obesity. Anybody who is overweight suffers from breathing issues, blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes etc. This is also the first step to your body attracting all kinds of other lifestyle diseases.
ii.Arteriosclerosis: Arteriosclerosis occurs when the arterial blood vessel walls thicken and lose elasticity. This usually causes blood circulation disorders, chest pain, and heart attacks. Arteriosclerosis is also linked to obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
iii.Cancer: Due to the stressful lifestyle that we lead now, our body’s immunity has decreased. This means that the white blood cells lose their power to fight the viruses that enter our body. Because of this, there may be irregular cell growth, which can be concluded as cancer. Cancer can be caused due to many reasons like prolonged smoking (lung cancer), too much exposure to the sun (skin cancer).
iv.Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: is caused by the permanent obstruction of the airways. The increase in air pollution due to factors like gas leaks and smoking can worsen this condition. Cigarette smoke is by far the most common reason people get COPD. You can also get it from tobacco products, such as cigar and pipe smoke, especially if you breathe in the smoke.
v.Stroke: When the blood vessel carrying blood to the brain has a blockage leading to an oxygen deficiency for the area of the brain it carried blood to, the result of this is called a stroke. High blood pressure, if not taken care of in time with proper treatment, can lead to a stroke. Stroke can also be caused due to hereditary reasons.
vi.Swimmer’s ear: When you use headphones constantly and are exposed to loud music more than you should be the ultimate result of this is the swimmer’s ear. Swimmer’s ear causes inflammation, irritation or infection in the ear canal or the outer ear. According to studies, 12.5% approximately have suffered permanent damage to their hearing due to constant exposure to noise. This number is said to be increasing by the year.
vii.Hypertension: Millions in India suffer from high blood pressure. Some very common reasons for high blood pressure are stress, obesity, genetic factors, and unhealthy eating habits. When the reading in the blood pressure machine is 140/90 or higher, your blood pressure is high. Once this happens, you will feel severe discomfort.
viii.Heart diseases: Any irregularity or abnormality which affects the heart muscle and blood vessel walls can be referred to as heart disease. Smoking, diabetes and high cholesterol contribute to its development in the body. India ranks number one when it comes to cardio patients with 50 million suffering heart health issues
ix.Cirrhosis: Cirrhosis is a late stage of scarring (fibrosis) of the liver caused by many forms of liver diseases and conditions, such as hepatitis and chronic alcoholism. The liver can be severely affected by heavy alcohol consumption and chronic hepatitis. This has become a common lifestyle disease as many people consume alcohol on a daily basis to deal with stress.
x.Nephritis: When there is swelling in the kidneys leading to abnormal function, it is known as nephritis. There are many causes of nephritis, one of them being an allergic reaction to a medication or antibiotic. Other than this, it can also be caused due to bacterial infections, which may enter through street foods not prepared in hygienic conditions.
xi.Mental health: Each individual’s own genetic make-up can contribute to being at risk of developing a mental illness and traumas to the brain (via a form of head-injury) can also sometimes lead to changes in personality and in some cases ‘trigger’ symptoms of an illness. Misuse of substances (such as alcohol or drugs) and deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals in an individual’s diet can also play a part. Lack of social support, changing diets and economic instability are the main triggers of mental disorders. Increased intake of sugar, too, has been linked to mental illness.
While there are Communicable diseases like malaria, cholera and many more which can be managed with the help of proper treatment, there are lifestyle diseases that can be prevented if a healthy active lifestyle is followed.
Aerobic exercise can help improve your heart health and endurance and aid in weight loss. High-intensity interval training is generally safe and effective for most people and can take less time. In high-intensity interval training, you alternate exercising at high levels of intensity and exercising at a less intense level for short periods of time. Even activities such as walking at higher intensities count.
Strength training can improve muscle strength and endurance, make it easier to do daily activities, slow disease-related declines in muscle strength, and provide stability to joints.
Flexibility exercises may help you to have an optimal range of motion about your joints, so they can function best, and stability exercises may help reduce the risk of falls.
Your life only gets better when you get better; don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay. Change your life today!!