Lifestyle Diseases: Prevention is the Cure
There’s so much written about prevention of lifestyle diseases, but the statistics are still showing alarming rates of diabetes, high blood pressure, cancers, heart disease, strokes, and other diseases around the world. These ailments usually affect adults and cause premature deaths. However, with unhealthier lifestyle habits like poor diets, drug and alcohol use, and lack of exercise, younger people are now suffering as well.
There are multiple lifestyle risk factors, which predispose us to these diseases but that most of us don’t understand clearly. These risk factors are classified as modifiable or non-modifiable. Our advancing age, gender and inherited genes are mostly non-modifiable. However, lifestyle habits are definitely modifiable. Even though habits maybe formed early in life, we can certainly change these given the right motivation and support. Clearly understanding the harm in these risk factors can motivate us to change.
Major modifiable lifestyle risk factors include:
- Unhealthy diet;
- Lack of physical activity;
- Unhealthy weight;
- High stress;
- Alcohol and drug abuse;
- Smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke.
Another issue is that many of these lifestyle diseases creep up on us without any warning signs or symptoms. The typical symptoms of diabetes may be vague or absent in adults, such as frequent peeing, or feeling thirsty and tired all the time. High blood pressure usually does not have any warning sign or symptoms. Cancers may also have no or vague symptoms, depending on the type, where they occur and how advanced they are.
Usually, there is too much information, or (mis)information in the public domain regarding many of these risk factors and the warning signs of the lifestyle diseases. We are convincingly bombarded by clever advertising into believing that unhealthy habits are cool. It doesn’t help that cheaper and easily available unhealthy choices are everywhere, such as processed, packaged and fast foods; sugary beverages; cigarettes and tobacco products; and a variety of drugs.
Rather than waiting for symptoms to occur, which means it’s probably too late to reverse your disease, it’s better to get rid of lifestyle risk factors and build healthy habits. Learning about risk factors and starting to address them as early as possible will save our loved ones and us a lot of heartache and all kinds of aches later in life. If you are a positive or optimistic person like me, get a head start on living a life of wellness. Doing things right for ourselves makes us feel good, and we can become role models for loved ones, save on health care costs in the long run, and be free to enjoy a productive and fulfilling life.
I would encourage you to take stock of where you are on the spectrum of wellness and lifestyle diseases. Please share your strategies for prevention with me. I’m always looking to learn!
This is a guest post by the ever-energetic Margaret Cornelius, (an)altruist at Alchemus Prime.