What are Lifestyle Diseases?

22 November, 2017

Lifestyle diseases are diseases that are associated with adverse ways of living that end up harming our health. Common lifestyle habits that lead to lifestyle diseases include alcoholism, drug abuse, smoking, physical inactivity, chronic stress as well as unhealthy eating.

Inflammation is the primary result of most lifestyle disorders and includes diseases like arteriosclerosis, cancer, hypertension, heart disease, strokes, obesity, apnea, liver disease, cirrhosis, nephritis, type II diabetes, COPD, arthritis, gout, gallstones, chronic backache, anxiety disorders, depression, sleep disturbances, etc; the list can just go on and on as unhealthy ways of living eventually get to impact on all the systems and organs of the body.

While communicable disease like malaria, cholera or tuberculosis can easily be treated with medications, treating lifestyle diseases can be more challenging – as it means a change of a variety of daily habits, which may be hard to break. Unfortunately, these lifestyle diseases aren’t limited to adults only, but increasingly affecting all ages of children too. Meals are no longer nutritious, balanced or home-cooked, games are no longer outdoors, but in front of a blinking screen and emotional isolation are increasing as a result of everyone sitting sedentary glued to their own screens and gadgets, leading to a breakdown of the family system along with health.

Globally, lifestyle diseases result in the premature death of about 14.2 million people every year in the age range of 30-69 years. Infectious diseases and hereditary diseases are no longer as fatal as some of the lifestyle diseases, including diseases like heart attacks, hypertension and diabetes. Some of these lifestyle diseases include:

Obesity –Obesity is glaring India in the face as its ranked second in the world with a whopping 155 million obese people, and this number is set to rise at the rate of 33-51% annually! It results from unhealthy dietary habits, reduced physical activity and stress.

Type II Diabetes – India has the largest number of diabetics, standing at 40.9 million and counting. It’s due to the direct result of obesity and poor eating habits.

Heart disease – India again stands at number one in heart diseases with over 50 million patients. Smoking, diabetes and cholesterol are some of the culprits.

Arteriosclerosis – It refers to thickening and loss of elasticity of blood vessels and is linked to diabetes, obesity and hypertension. About 30-40% of cardiovascular deaths among Indians aged 34-64 is due to arteriosclerosis.

Hypertension – Obesity, stress, unhealthy diet and hereditary factors are responsible for hypertension which has about a 100 million patients in India.

Stroke – When the blood vessel carrying blood to the brain develops a block, an area of oxygen deficiency is created, resulting in a stroke. Hypertension also leads to stroke.

COPD – This condition is a result of permanent obstruction of the airways and India has over 4.3 million sufferers. It gets aggravated by air pollution.

Cirrhosis – Chronic alcoholism and hepatitis can result in a group of liver disorders called cirrhosis – a common lifestyle disease.

Cancer – Unhealthy foods and stressful lifestyles lower immunity and loss of ability to fight off viruses that could trigger off cancers.

Modern lifestyles where everything happens with a press of the button have led to grievous damage to our health. Time to step back and take a second look!