According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Chronic diseases and conditions—such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and arthritis—are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems. Other common chronic health problems include, asthma, allergies, autoimmune diseases, chronic fatigue, peptic ulcers, digestive disorders, skin diseases, headaches and migraines, backache, neuro degenerative diseases like, hormonal imbalances, recurrent infections, infertility, sleep disorders, and so many more.
Putting aside health problems that are as a result of poverty, it is known that 6 or the leading 7 causes of death are caused by diseases that are related to our lifestyles including (Heart Disease, Cancer, Strokes and Diabetes). According to CDC, cancer is ranked as the second leading cause of death.
The number of people who are just being diagnosed and dying from cancer even in a developing country like Uganda is quite worrying. It is said that in developed nations 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will develop cancer in their lifetime. But many of us now live lives similar to and lead lifestyles even worse than people in western countries.And we now know that these chronic diseases are linked to our lifestyles, environments and daily choices.
In my everyday practice, the most common health problems I see (in the working upper and middle income people) are obesity, hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, asthma, digestive problems, back pain and allergies. I have discovered that the cause of these and similar chronic problems is usually not genetic or due to bad luck. The causes are usually related to the lifestyles they lead, their habits and choices as well as environments that they live in.
It is now known that 10 of the leading contributors and causes chronic disease include
A poor diet (nutritionally inadequate and high in processed and refined foods)
Lack of proper hydration
Increased exposure to toxins
Lack of adequate exercise and physical activity
Stress and emotional imbalance
Exposure to allergens
Think about yourself. Do you eat a healthy diet? Do you exercise regularly? Do you have significant amount of stress in your life? Have you exposed yourself to things that could be increasing your risk for disease?
I have just listed the factors contributing to disease here, to get you thinking about your life, your choices and your environment, but I shall be looking to give a better understanding of how some of these cause problems and how we can live healthier in future newsletters.
For now, simply reflect on how you are living your life and if you are making healthy or unhealthy choices.
Remember that you have only one body and one life. If you don’t take care of it, you will have nowhere to live