Diseases attributed to unhealthy day-to-day living habits are referred to as ‘Lifestyle Diseases’. It includes obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart diseases, chronic liver disease/cirrhosis, constipation, gassy abdomen and cancers. They have become a major health hazard in upcoming economies such as India and China.
Obesity on the rise
Presence of obesity increases greatly the chance of occurrence of other lifestyle diseases in the same person and they all work together to shorten the lifespan of the affected person. Additionally, obesity itself is associated with a huge number of complications and they could be the cause of early mortality
Heart disease–a major killer
Around 74 per cent of urban Indians faces the risk of heart attack, with their heart age greater than biological age.
Uncontrolled hypertension, smoking, excessive drinking and sedentary lifestyles are other contributing factors for an increased number of heart diseases.
Non-alcoholic liver disease
The liver cells get clogged up with excess fat (triglycerides) as a by-product of increased insulin resistance. The underlying factors are believed to be the same as for other lifestyle diseases i.e., excess calorie intake and lack of physical exercise and the only effective treatment is reversing these factors. In addition, of course, supportive treatment is required for the complications of liver disease.
The onset of these lifestyle diseases is insidious; they take years to develop and, once established, do not lend themselves easily to cure. Thus, they require regimented and individualised treatment comprising a combination of drugs, diet and physiotherapy. Importance of each of these components of treatment differs from disease to disease.
Most of the lifestyle diseases are preventable and reversible to a large extent with the adoption of a healthy lifestyle including a balanced diet, regular physical activity and avoidance of excessive alcohol consumption, smoking and drug addictions. Some sort of physical activity every day for at least 10-15 minutes is extremely necessary to keep healthy.