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Highlights / Articles


June 11, 2024

8 Common Lifestyle Diseases

Lifestyle diseases have been receiving a lot of attention lately, thanks to the general unhealthy habits like poor diet and lack of exercise of most people. Our hectic daily lives leave little option for us to concentrate on ourselves.

Let’s explore 8 common lifestyle diseases, their causes, symptoms, prevention, and how you can manage them.

1. Obesity

The first in our list is obesity, a global menace affecting 1 out of 8 people in the world. Obesity is primarily caused by a combination of factors including excessive calorie intake, sedentary lifestyle, genetic predisposition, hormonal imbalances, and environmental factors. Obesity significantly increases the risk of various health complications, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, stroke, certain cancers, sleep apnoea, osteoarthritis, and mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety.

Prevention of obesity involves adopting healthy lifestyle habits such as maintaining a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while limiting processed foods and sugary beverages. Regular physical activity, adequate sleep, stress management, and seeking professional guidance for weight management are essential. Additionally, creating a supportive environment that promotes healthy eating and active living is crucial for preventing obesity in communities.

2. Diabetes

Another well-known lifestyle disease that is currently in the limelight, and rightly so, is diabetes. There are primarily two types of diabetes:

  • Type 1: An autoimmune condition where the body’s immune system attacks insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, leading to insufficient insulin production.
  • Type 2: A metabolic disorder characterised by insulin resistance, where cells fail to respond effectively to insulin, leading to elevated blood sugar levels.

Common symptoms of diabetes include excessive thirst, frequent urination, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision, slow wound healing, and recurrent infections. In general, the management of diabetes involves lifestyle modifications, medication, and regular monitoring.

Additionally, Type 1 diabetes patients require daily insulin injections or the use of an insulin pump, along with monitoring blood sugar levels and carbohydrate intake.

Type 2 diabetes is initially managed through lifestyle changes such as dietary modifications, regular exercise, weight management, and monitoring blood sugar levels. Medications, including oral medications and insulin therapy, may be prescribed to help control blood sugar levels.

3. Cardiovascular Diseases

Cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks and strokes, are a leading cause of death worldwide. Several risk factors contribute to the development of these conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, smoking, obesity, and lack of physical activity.

The preventative measures to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases include maintaining a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, staying active regularly through physical activities, quitting smoking, managing stress levels effectively and limiting alcohol consumption.

The treatment options for cardiovascular diseases include therapies such as medication, and surgical procedures such as bypass or angioplasty. There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy, the treatment options are recommended based on the severity of the condition.

4. Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can seriously affect your body by increasing your chances of developing heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, vision problems, cognitive decline, and complications during pregnancy.

To manage high blood pressure, you can make lifestyle changes like eating a heart-healthy diet and exercising regularly. You may also need to take medication such as diuretics, ACE inhibitors, or beta-blockers. Your treatment plan will be customised based on factors like your blood pressure levels and any other medical conditions you may have.

5. Stroke

Stroke is a common lifestyle disease caused by the interruption of blood flow to the brain, leading to cell damage. High blood pressure, cholesterol levels, smoking, obesity, and an unhealthy diet are the main causes of this deadly disease.

Symptoms of stroke include weakness, numbness, difficulty in speaking, and severe headache. To prevent strokes, lead a healthy lifestyle, exercise, eat a balanced diet, avoid smoking and excessive drinking, and monitor blood pressure and cholesterol. The management includes medication and regular check-ups for early detection and prevention.

6. Chronic Respiratory Diseases

Lifestyle factors such as smoking, air pollution, and poor diet choices contribute to the increasing prevalence of chronic respiratory diseases like asthma and COPD. Symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing, and chest tightness.

To prevent these conditions, prioritise a healthy lifestyle by quitting smoking, avoiding secondhand smoke and air pollutants, exercising regularly, and eating a balanced diet. Regular check-ups with a healthcare provider can help monitor lung health and catch issues early. Taking proactive steps to care for respiratory health can reduce the risk of developing chronic respiratory diseases.

7. Liver Diseases

Liver diseases are becoming more common due to lifestyle choices such as excessive alcohol consumption, poor diet, obesity, and certain medications or infections. Symptoms can include fatigue, jaundice, abdominal pain, and nausea.

Prevention is essential through maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol intake, vaccinations for hepatitis viruses, and avoiding risky behaviours. Managing a liver disease involves following a treatment plan, avoiding alcohol, eating a balanced diet, staying active, and regular monitoring.

8. Kidney Diseases

Kidney diseases are becoming increasingly common due to unhealthy lifestyle choices such as poor diet, lack of exercise, and smoking. These habits can lead to conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes, which are major risk factors for kidney disease.

Symptoms may include fatigue, swelling in the legs and abdomen, frequent urination, and blood in the urine. To prevent kidney diseases, it is essential to maintain a healthy weight, eat a balanced diet low in sodium and processed foods, exercise regularly, stay hydrated, and avoid smoking.

Managing kidney disease involves monitoring blood pressure levels, controlling blood sugar levels if diabetic, limiting protein intake if necessary, taking prescribed medications as directed by a healthcare provider, and attending regular check-ups with a nephrologist or primary care physician.

Lifestyle Diseases A Final Word

In conclusion, lifestyle diseases are a major public health issue worldwide, but they can be prevented by taking proactive steps to address controllable risk factors. By adopting healthy habits, getting regular check-ups, and following treatment plans, you can lower your risk of these diseases and enhance your quality of life. Prevention is the key to protecting your health and well-being.

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