Lifestyle diseases are defined as diseases that are connected with the way people live their lives. Furthermore, lifestyle diseases are diseases that are based primarily on people’s habits. Habits that distract people from activities and push them into a sedentary routine can lead to chronic non-communicable diseases that have life-threatening consequences.
In addition, these habits might include the abuse of alcohol, drugs, and tobacco, lack of physical activity and unhealthy eating. Diseases that primarily affect people’s lifestyles are heart disease, stroke, obesity, and type II diabetes.
The diseases that appear to increase as countries become more industrialized are Alzheimer’s disease., arthritis, atherosclerosis, asthma, cancer, chronic liver disease or cirrhosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, chronic renal failure, osteoporosis, stroke, depression, Obesity and Vascular Dementia.
Causes of Lifestyle Diseases
Diet and lifestyle are important factors that influence susceptibility to many diseases. Drug abuse, smoking, and alcohol use can also increase the risk of developing certain diseases, especially later in life.
In many Western countries, the consumption of meat, dairy products, vegetable oils, tobacco, sugary foods, sugary drinks, and alcoholic beverages began to increase in the second half of the 20th century. People have also developed sedentary lifestyles and higher rates of obesity. Additionally, in 2014, 11.2 million Australians were overweight or obese.
Rates of colorectal cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, endometrial cancer, and lung cancer began to increase after this dietary change. People in developing countries, whose diets are still heavily dependent on foods with low starch content have a smaller rate of these cancers.
Adults can develop lifestyle diseases because of behavioral factors that affect them. These can be unemployment, a dangerous and unhealthy life, a poor social environment, working conditions, stress and family life. All these can change a person’s lifestyle and increase the risk of developing one of these diseases.
However, lifestyle diseases do not affect adults alone, lifestyle diseases also affect children. The evolution of purchasing power and the arrival of technology have changed our way of life. With less physical activity, more resources available and no spare time, we have become prey to extremely rare diseases.
Although there are communicable diseases such as malaria, cholera, and polio, which can be treated with the help of proper medication, there are lifestyle diseases that can be prevented if a healthy lifestyle is maintained.
Worldwide, 14.2 million people between the ages of 30 and 69 die prematurely from diseases such as heart attacks, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Many of these diseases have become more fatal than hereditary or even infectious diseases.
Additionally, in the United States, the top three causes of death as of 1900 were pneumonia/influenza, tuberculosis, and diarrhea/enteritis. Communicable diseases accounted for 60% of all deaths. In 1900, heart diseases and cancers were number four and number eight respectively. Since the 1940s, most deaths in the United States were due to heart disease, cancer, and other degenerative diseases. And, in the late 1990s, 60% of all deaths were linked to degenerative diseases (source).
Furthermore, in 2013, there were 147,678 deaths in Australia, mostly due to lifestyle diseases such as smoking, alcohol and other drugs, violence and unhealthy weight. The leading cause of death among Australian men is heart disease with 11,016 deaths, lung cancer follows in second place with 4,995 deaths and then chronic lung disease that killed 3,572. All of these conditions were mainly due to smoking, alcoholism or an unhealthy lifestyle (source).
In 2013, coronary heart disease was the leading cause of death for 8,750 women because of their lifestyle. The second was dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, which affected 7,277 women and thirdly, cerebrovascular disease, which killed 6,368 people (source).
Some Lifestyle Diseases
Some of the most common types of lifestyle diseases include:
1. Heart Disease
Heart diseases or Cardiovascular diseases are a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels. Any irregularity or abnormality affecting the heart muscle and the walls of blood vessels may be called heart disease. Smoking, diabetes and high cholesterol contribute to its development in the body.
Heart diseases may include:
- Ischemic heart disease
- Peripheral arterial disease
- congenital heart disease
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the world and accounts for more than 17 million deaths a year. It is estimated that this number will increase to more than 23 million a year in 2030 (source). Another study shows that India ranks first among cardiovascular patients with 50 million heart health problems.
We all know the word and yet we tend to ignore it. To see if you have reached this stage, check your Body Mass Index (BMI). If it is above 25, then you are in the obese category. Unhealthy eating habits, stressful lifestyle, reduced physical activity results in obesity. Anyone who is overweight suffers from respiratory problems, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, etc. It is also the first step for your body to attract all kinds of lifestyle diseases.
According to the National Family Health Survey, India ranks second with 155 million obese citizens, increasing at 33 to 51 percent each year.
Cirrhosis, also known as liver cirrhosis or hepatic liver, is a condition in which the liver does not function properly. This damage is characterized by the replacement of normal liver tissue with scar tissue. Usually, the disease develops slowly over months or years.
When the disease gets worse, the affected person may become tired, weaken, itchy, and have swelling in the lower legs, develop yellow skin, get bruises easily, have fluid build up in the abdomen or develop spider-like blood vessels on the skin.
Other serious complications include hepatic encephalopathy, bleeding from dilated veins in the esophagus or dilated veins of the stomach, and liver cancer. Hepatic encephalopathy is confusing and may lead to unconsciousness.
Cirrhosis affects approximately 2.8 million people and resulted in 1.3 million deaths in 2015 (source). Of these deaths, alcohol caused 348,000, hepatitis C, 326,000, and hepatitis B, 371,000 (source).
This has become one of the common lifestyle diseases as many people drink alcohol daily to cope with stress.
Nephritis is an inflammation of the kidneys and can affect the glomeruli, tubules or interstitial tissue surrounding the glomeruli and tubules. it occurs when inflammation in the kidneys leads to abnormal function.
In fact, nephritis has many causes, including an allergic reaction to a drug or an antibiotic. Apart from this, it can also be caused by bacterial infections, which can enter the human body through street food which was not prepared hygienically.
Nephritis is the most common cause of death for all women in the United States and the fifth leading cause among non-Hispanic black women.
Globally, the highest rates of nephritis are 50 to 55% in African or Asian descendants, followed by Hispanics with 43% and Caucasians with 17%.
The average age of this inflammation (lupus nephritis in this case) is about 28.4 years for a person diagnosed.
5. Type II Diabetes
Type II diabetes (T2D), formerly known as adult-onset diabetes, is a form of diabetes characterized by high blood sugar, insulin resistance, and relative insulin deficiency. Common symptoms include increased thirst, frequent urination, and unexplained weight loss. Symptoms may also include increased hunger, feeling tired and wounds that do not heal. Often, symptoms appear slowly. Long-term complications of these lifestyle diseases include heart disease, stroke, diabetic retinopathy that can lead to blindness, kidney failure and poor blood circulation in the extremities, which can lead to amputation. Type II diabetes primarily occurs due to obesity and lack of exercise.
As stated in the second point, obesity is one of the leading causes of type II diabetes. Type II diabetes is a non-insulin form that develops in adults because of their poor diets and unhealthy lifestyles.
India has the highest number of Type II diabetics with 40.9 million.
A stroke is a medical condition in which there is poor blood flow to the brain that causes cell death. There are two main types of stroke: ischemia due to lack of blood circulation and hemorrhage due to bleeding. Both results in some parts of the brain not functioning properly. The signs and symptoms of a stroke may include difficulty in speaking and understanding, inability to move or feel on one side, dizziness or loss of vision to one side.
High blood pressure, if not treated in time with proper treatment, can cause a stroke. Hereditary reasons can be another cause of stroke.
Arteriosclerosis is the thickening, hardening, and loss of elasticity of artery walls. This process gradually restricts the flow of blood to the organs and tissues causing severe health risks brought about by atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis is a form of Arteriosclerosis caused by the accumulation of fat plaques, cholesterol and certain other substances in the artery. the walls. This is one of the common lifestyle diseases caused by smoking, poor nutrition, or many genetic factors.
8. Swimmer’s Ear
Otitis externa also called the swimmer’s ear, is the inflammation of the ear canal. This often comes with ear pain, swelling of the ear canal and there is a decrease in hearing although occasionally. Typically, there is pain with a movement of the outer ear. In general, there is no high fever, except in severe cases.
Otitis externa can be acute (less than six weeks) or chronic (more than three months). Acute cases are usually due to bacterial infection while chronic cases are usually due to allergies and autoimmune disorders
When you make use of your earphones constantly and you’re exposed to loud music more than you should be then the result will be the swimmer’s ear. The swimmer’s ear causes inflammation, irritation or infection of the ear canal or the outer ear. According to studies, approximately 12.5% have damaged their hearing permanently because of constant exposure to noise. This number is increasing every year.
9. High Blood Pressure
Hypertension (HTN or HT), also known as high blood pressure (HBP), is a long-term medical condition characterized by persistent elevation of blood pressure. High blood pressure usually causes no symptoms. However, long-term high blood pressure is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, stroke, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, peripheral arterial disease, vision loss, kidney disease chronic, and dementia.
Some very common reasons for high blood pressure are stress, obesity, genetic factors, and unhealthy eating habits. When the blood pressure indicated by the machine is 140/90 or higher, your blood pressure is high. Once this happens, you will feel a serious discomfort.
This is one of the lifestyle diseases that is very common in people.
10. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPB) is a type of obstructive lung disease characterized by long-term respiratory problems and low airflow. Symptoms include difficulty breathing and coughing with sputum production. COPD is a progressive disease that generally worsens over time. Finally, daily activities such as walking or dressing will become difficult.
Smoking is the most common cause of COPD. Factors such as air pollution and genetics play a minor role. In developing countries, one of the common sources of air pollution is poorly ventilated heating and cooking fires. Long-term exposure to these irritants causes an inflammatory response in the lungs, resulting in narrowing of the small airways and decomposition of lung tissue.
The increase in air pollution due to smoking, gas leaks, etc can make this lifestyle diseases worse.
Cancer is a group of diseases that involve abnormal cell growth that can potentially invade or spread to other parts of the body. These contrast with benign tumors, which do not spread. Signs and possible symptoms include a lump, abnormal bleeding, prolonged cough, unexplained weight loss, and changes in bowel movements. Although these symptoms may indicate cancer, they may also have other causes.
Because of the stressful lifestyle that we now lead, the immunity of our body has diminished. This means that white blood cells lose their ability to fight viruses that enter our body. For this reason, there may be irregular cell growth, which can be considered as cancer. Cancer can be caused by many reasons like smoking (lung cancer), too much exposure to the sun (skin cancer).
Control and prevention of lifestyle diseases
Lifestyle diseases are preventable for children if parents put them on the right track because early childhood decisions and influences can affect people later in life. Reduction in smoking helps prevent lifestyle diseases.
The prevention of overweight and obesity can be through a balanced lifestyle of healthy eating and exercise. It is advisable to perform 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day or 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. Examples of moderate-intensity exercises are a brisk walk, swimming, cycling or it can also be daily activities such as mowing the lawn or cleaning the house. In addition, animal studies have suggested that early life exercises may reduce the risk of developing metabolic diseases in adulthood.
Reduced alcohol consumption, giving up smoking and other drugs, reduction in the consumption of processed meats (such as bacon and sausages), red meats (such as pork, beef, and lamb), letting go of fatty food and engaging in exercises are good ways of preventing lifestyle diseases.
Summary and Recommendation
Lifestyle diseases pose a threat to the socio-economic aspects of countries around the world and the appropriate actions to manage them are the need of the moment. The management of lifestyle diseases includes the proper diagnosis, detection, and treatment of these diseases. There should be a quality intervention in the treatment of lifestyle diseases using the primary care approach.
For you reading this, to help prevent the occurrence of these lifestyle diseases do not engage in anything that would cause them. Eat healthy and well-balanced meals, exercise daily, reduce your intake of alcohol, quit smoking tobacco and other drugs. Remember good health is true wealth.
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