Lifestyle related disease

Lifestyle related disease

Lifestyle related disease or non-communicable diseases as they are also known are by definition, diseases associated with the way a person or group of people live their lives, either as an individual or based on a population level.

Lifestyle diseases include

• Cardio heart disease (CHD)
• Cardio vascular disease (CVD)
• Stroke (CVA)
• Atherosclerosis, narrowing of the arteries
• Hypertension, high blood pressure
• Type 2 diabetes, formally known as non insulin dependent diabetes
• Some types of cancer, mainly lung and bowel cancer
• Alzheimer’s disease
• Arthritis
• Cirrhosis of the liver
• Metabolic syndrome
• Osteoporosis
• Depression
• Obesity

What’s the cause

In most if not all cases of lifestyle related disease, the disease/illness and the symptoms can be avoided by changing our behaviours and the choices we make everyday. Smoking or tobacco use, alcohol abuse, lack of exercise and poor diet all increase the risks of developing one or more of the above listed illnesses and especially later in life.

However in more recent decades the incidence of some of these diseases in younger people is becoming more prevalent. Of particular note is the worrying increase of type 2 diabetes and hypertension in younger populations.

The cause of these non communicable diseases has been linked to our personal lifestyles, our societal conditions and economic development. Since the 2nd world war every passing decade has witnessed major advances in technology and urbanisation. This has changed the way in which we as humans now live our lives, even when compared to how recently our grandparents lived their lives.

Industrialisation and mechanisation along with technology has taken the labour out of all human activities. Machines and motor vehicles encourage less physical activity than ever before. People’s work practices have changed dramatically; many people now commute long distances to sit at a desk all day promoting a further reduction in activity levels.

Along with this reduction in physical activity we now have very easy accessibility to food at all times of the day and night. Most of these highly processed convenience foods contains a lot of saturated fat and are high in sugar. These types of cheap and addictive high calorie food products are not only driving up convenience food sales but are also expanding people’s waistlines.

Disposable income due to improved economic growth in the western world has lead to a huge increase in the food sectors but also in the amounts of tobacco use and alcohol consumption. All the combined factors of reduced physical activity levels, nutritionally poor food choices, increased smoking and alcohol use have the prolonged affect of an increase in lifestyle related diseases in all populations.

What’s the solution

In order to avoid these diseases over the longer term people need to consider the daily choices they make. It’s the little adjustments and modifications that can make a difference in the short term but by creating new habits these can become long term changes in our behaviour.

We all know that a healthier diet and more physical exercise, stopping smoking and reducing our alcohol intake are very beneficial to us all in reducing the risks of developing one or more of these diseases. However if this is the case, why doesn’t everybody take action and make the necessary changes before damage has occurred. Apathy leads people think it will never happen to them until it’s too late and they begin to notice the signs of an illness. It’s only then when they present to their doctor that they are diagnosed with a lifestyle related disease.

Think how you want your life to be! Do you really want to have to take medications that could be avoided? Do you want a lifestyle related disease to shorten your life expectancy or limit your abilities later in life? Make the time in your day to take some exercise, educate yourself on what you should be including and excluding in your diet and make those adjustments and modifications. You only get one shot at this life, make it great and become the best version of yourself that you could possibly be.

If you would like information or advice on lifestyle change contact ‘Goalgetters’, we will be happy to help you in any way we can. Thank you.