Written by Chhavi Manchanda
It is rightly said that every time one eats or drinks, they are either feeding a disease or fighting it. Over the past decade, India has transitioned from an era dominated by disease burden attributed to infectious diseases, maternal and childhood deaths to an era of lifestyle related chronic diseases which are non-communicable and carry near life-threatening consequences but
what exactly are lifestyle diseases?
A Lifestyle disease, in simple terms is associated with the way a person or group of people live. It refers to the ailments that are primarily based on the day to day habits of people that detract them from any sort of physical activity and push them towards a sedentary routine that becomes the cause of a number of underlying health issues in the long run.
These include atherosclerosis, heart disease, and stroke; obesity, PCOD and type 2 diabetes along with diseases closely related with substance abuse.
With Governments of several countries enforcing restrictions on outdoor activities and announcing lockdowns amid the prevailing precarious situation, changes in lifestyle such as reduced physical activity and the incorporation of an unhealthy diet has become commonplace.
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Long-term quarantine carries serious psychological, physical, mental, emotional, and social problems all of which are directly related to stress and a sedentary lifestyle. We fail to understand the fact that an unhealthy life style can lead a person from healthy status to a patient. Under an unhealthy lifestyle, one engages in activities that are detrimental to health; whether it’s skipping breakfast or eating too much or too fast, drinking a little too much or spending too many hours planted in front of the TV, not exercising, smoking, and eating unhealthy foods among others.
Locked up in homes
some people tend to munch on different fast food and snacks while others prefer to drink alcohol to get rid of frustration and boredom. Eating in response to emotion might be appropriate at times, but other times it might lead to overeating and obesity. Additionally, lack of physical activity leads to an increased risk of lifestyle diseases.
WHO Recommendations ?
A person of age between 8 and 64 years should do at least 150 min of moderate-intensity physical exercise in a week; significant merits of which include improvement in muscular and cardiorespiratory fitness, improvement in the health of bones, reduced risk of depression, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and several types of cancer.
In the wake of certain restrictions imposed on outer activities such as shopping, walking, strolling, swimming, and gyming, people tend to avoid any kind of physical activity and are henceforth bound to live a sedentary life.
As a consequence of being home stuck, people are bound to change their diet. Turning towards ultra-processed foods and fast foods might result in soaring of obesity over time which in turn contributes to hypertension and increased blood pressure by influencing the function of the kidney.
Obese people are not only at high risk of developing type II disease and insulin resistance but also are at an increased risk of contracting cardiovascular diseases, respiratory issues, kidney stones, gout, abdominal hernias, and osteoarthritis. While some people choose to inflict the danger of lifestyle diseases upon themselves, others fall prey to this trap unconsciously, and the worst affected victims are women, especially the ones belonging to the working class.
What is PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) ?
A lifestyle disease which was unheard of in India 10 years ago is now so common that an estimated one in five (20%) Indian women suffer from it. This disease if not treated on time can lead to severe long-term health problems like, infertility, gynecological cancers, hypertension, depression and gestational diabetes. PCOS has been on a surge amid the pandemic given the unhealthy eating and sleeping patterns prevalent among the youth.
We must follow a healthy balanced diet to prevent the occurrence of lifestyle diseases. Along with this, we should try and incorporate atleast one physical activity in our daily routines. If dealt with gravity, lifestyle diseases can be avoided by adopting small changes in lifestyle and will become sporadic before you even know it!