Lifestyle Diseases And Its Management
By the middle of the 20th century, we were introduced to a new gamut of health problems handed on a platter of high tech life, increased work hours, globalisation, increased networking, etc. Starting with people in their sixties, we are pushed ¡n to a vortex of more work hours, bizarre meal times, high calorie fast foods and beverages. This has resulted is a pandemic and which medical experts call lifestyle disorders.
Unfortunately, these lifestyle disorders are no longer restricted to people in their forties and fifties but has (trickled initially) flooded the young adult zone, colleges and schools alike. Technically speaking, lifestyle disorders are issues emerging as a direct result of the way either a person or group of people live. In India, approximately 15 million people between the ages of 40 to 60 years are dying prematurely of these lifestyle diseases. Some of the few common issues are as follows.
- Irregular eating habits
- Increased work hours
- Prolonged travel time
- Late sleeping time
- Night shifts
- Changing shills
- Desk jobs
- Excessive screen exposure
A Few Prominent Disorders
Obesity – Starting with a SMI of above 24 kgkn2 it is disaster at work. Inconsistent ettorts towards weight loss and short cut dietary interventions lead to more resistant weight gain. Many cancers are associated with obesity. Example, colon and rectum, breast, thyroid etc. Also, obesity and weight gain related to endogenous oestrogen secretion is well known.
Diabetes Mellitus – No longer a disease of the affluent, diabetes is the leading cause of heart attacks, strokes and complications of other acute problems in India today.
Hypertension – The diagnosis of increasing blood pressure with age has become a thing of the past. It is very common now to have mildly elevated blood pressure by late 20s and early 30s. Constant lack of sleep and chronic neck pain are hallmarks of increasing blood pressure other than unexplainable headaches.
Insomnia- Persistent sleeplessness or difficulty in sleeping due to changing work schedules can cause havoc with the system. Starting with decreased concentration at work and ending with depression, it is reported that people dev&op a suicidal tendency due to the inability to sleep.
ObstructIve Sleep Apnoea – As the name suggests. it slowly cuts oft oxygen due to mechanical obstruction to the breathing while sleeping. A person ends up breathing more through the mouth than the nose adding to further obstruction. It causes day time sleepiness, fatigue and snoring.
Metabolic Syndrome – This is a cluster of five disorders which impact our energy utilization and storage. The big fives are obesity, elevated blood pressure, elevated fasting blood sugars, elevated triglycerides and low HDL (good cholesterol). Three out of five is enough to diagnose MS which indicates increased risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Heart Diseases – These are not only hereditary but can make a first time appearance due to unstructured lifestyle and high stress.
Strokes – High adrenaline routine. poor eating habits, lack of sleep plus family inheritance hypertension, hypercholesterolemia are sure shot equations for strokes. Each of these is individual as well as combined risk factors for a cerebrovascular event.
Alcohol, drug abuse and smoking adds to these problems. Easily available fast food, beverages, high calorie pastries and short eats fill in the stopgap till meal times has become the norm, adding to childhood obesity. Also, a lack of space for a playground in schools and areas where they live, discourages kids from playing. The developed world has gone through this painful process and the evidence is in front of us. Young teenage girls with menstrual irregularities, high BMI and impaired sugars are increasing in numbers.
Managing Lifestyle Disorders
Each disorder has a complex origin with a lifestyle external factor and a genetic intrinsic non modifiable factor. Problems in treatment range from acceptance to motivation and consistency. Thankfully, since the external factors are modifiable, it is possible to have broad guidelines with every physidan adding value to individual patients.
Watch Your Diet: Low carbs, low fat, high protein. Three portions of vegetable and two portions of fruits works wonderfully.
Watch Your Weight: Imbalance of overweight and underweight, both are dangerous. Low weight or overzealous weight loss can cause many menstrual irregularities.
Maintain A Daily Routine: It is mandatory to take care of the sleep, eat, work cycle.
Exercise Regularly: Get physically active for a minimum of one hour a day, at least five days a week. Goal oriented workout is more tun and hence sustainable rather than a routine gym workout.
Avoid Alcohol: Drinking alcohol at social events or gatherings is now a way of lite but alcohol is high in calories and low in nutritive value. Binge drinking is not only imbibing too much at one go, but regular drinking of 250 ml also exceeds the regulatory levels of alcohol.
Avoid Smoking: Smoking is an absolute No. Even one cigarette harms.
Have Adequate Water: Keep yourself hydrated by drinking sufficient amounts of water as this helps to flush out the toxins and impurities from the body.