In recent years the number of deaths caused by lifestyle diseases is quite alarming. As per a white paper published by Confederation of Indian Industry and academia last year, 25% of Indians are at risk of losing their life before the age of 70. This is truly unfortunate, as lifestyle diseases are the most preventable cause of death. Although people becoming aware of health challenges with time, thanks to a number of health blogs and growing awareness about medical insurance and policies such as the HDFC ERGO health insurance plans. Experts believe that there is a far greater need to create awareness with respect to drawing a connection between lifestyle and health.
There are pertinent questions that one needs answers to. What exactly are lifestyle diseases? How does it impact our health? Does our lifestyle have a bearing on our mental health? Finally, what can we do to improve our lifestyle? Let’s explore these questions one at a time.
What exactly are lifestyle diseases?
Diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, stokes, respiratory ailments and even cancer are some example of lifestyle diseases. There are various reasons that contribute towards the onset of diseases in a person. This could vary from environment, genetic pre-disposition and lifestyle.
For instance, the cause of certain respiratory disease can be attributed to lifestyle choices as well environment one is exposed to. In about 90% of lung cancer cases, smoking (a lifestyle choice) is the real cause of the disease. Similarly, in the case of tuberculosis, a life threatening respiratory disease, environment that a person is exposed to, is the leading cause for the disease.
Then there are certain diseases that are genetically predisposed. The occurrence of certain diseases in particular diabetes and cardiovascular ailments is associated with the prevalence of the disease in the family. While one may not be able to write off genetic predisposition, many health experts are of the opinion that by adopting a holistic, active lifestyle a person can remain healthy irrespective of his or her family history with a given disease.
How do lifestyle choices impact our health?
Lifestyle is the choices we make in our day to day life. It comprises of our work life, social interaction, and daily activities, sleep pattern and of course diet. Fast passed life and urban living has had a negative bearing on our lifestyle. For instance, the urban population of this country is prone to develop a number of disease and ailment. This is mainly due to our stressful work-life balance. We work till late hours in the office, only to reach home to eat processed, ready to eat meals. Such kind of food is often rich in fat, preservatives with high amounts of MSG and sugar that directly puts one at the risk of developing diabetes and hypertension.
Does our Lifestyle affect our mental health?
There is a definite connection between lifestyle and mental health, after all we are what we eat, drink and breathe. The kinds of food we consume have a direct impact on her mood. For example, sugary snacks are an instant source of energy and gratification, however soon that feeling is transformed into lethargy as excessive sugar consumption can slow down the brain. On the contrary, raw foods such as salads and fruits are regarded as mood elevators.
Likewise, those who lead a sedentary lifestyle and spend maximum time of the day in front of the television of computer are more prone to depression. And individuals who engage in sport or any form of exercise have better control of their mood and generally feel happy. This is because when you engage in an activity that elevates your heart rate, a happy hormones known as endorphin is released in the brain that unleashes feeling of fulfillment and happiness.
What can we do to improve our lifestyle?
In order to lead a fulfilling and health lifestyle, one has to improve upon each aspect of life, which can be done by –
- Eating a balanced meal with right amount of protein, fiber, good fats and carbohydrate.
- Replacing carbonated sugary drinks to water or natural fluids such as coconut water, buttermilk etc.
- Reducing alcohol consumption and restricting it to just few times in a month.
- Limiting or quitting smoking which is the leading cause of hypertension, heart diseases, respiratory disorders, lung cancer etc.
- Breaking the cycle of a sedentary lifestyle and including moderate exercising routine in day to day life.
- Including dietary supplements to take care of your nutritional needs. Although these supplements can be purchased online or at a local pharmacy, it is highly advised to consult a doctor before taking any kind of medical supplements.
- Finally, limit the use of laptops and smartphones and instead spend time with family and friends.
In conclusion, we can say that lifestyle and health have a very deep connection. Health life choices will have a positive bearing on life; unhealthy choices will have the reverse effect. The math is simple. Having said that, health emergencies come in different forms and it is always best to be prepared for it in advance, by taking up a comprehensive health insurance policy.