Chronic diseases are medical conditions that persist for months or more and require continuing medical attention. In general, these diseases cannot be prevented by vaccines, and once you get a chronic illness, it won’t just disappear, nor is it easily cured with medications. You may be able to control or manage the symptoms, but no medication can completely get rid of a chronic disease.
Chronic diseases tend to become as prevalent as we age. But, with poor lifestyle habits, including cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, sedentary living, and bad dietary choices, according to the WHO (World Health Organization), almost half of deaths caused by chronic diseases are now occurring prematurely.
Preventing Chronic Diseases
Chronic diseases are among the leading causes of disability and death in the United States. Examples of the most common chronic diseases include diabetes, cancer, stroke, heart disease, respiratory conditions, arthritis, and obesity.
Today, many individuals develop chronic diseases even at a younger age, suffer from debilitating impacts of these illnesses longer, and die sooner. Living with the disease requires the individual to be actively involved in the management of the symptoms as the condition places many demands on the body and could very well affect the quality of life of the person. Moreover, chronic diseases are one of the significant drivers of healthcare costs in the US.
The thing is, many of these chronic diseases and complications are often preventable. The key is improving your quality of life, which you can achieve by practicing the following:
1. Engage in Regular Physical Activity
Engaging in at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week, such as backyard gardening, brisk walking, and biking at a casual place can help significantly reduce your risk of suffering from various chronic diseases. Not only is exercising physically beneficial, but it also helps boost mental health.
2. Consume a Healthy and Balanced Diet
Several chronic diseases stem from unhealthy food choices. Eating a healthy and balanced diet is crucial for health and wellness.
Add more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains in your diet. Cut back on sugar and processed foods, and drink plenty of water to flush out toxins from your body.
3. Stop (Or Never Start) Smoking
Smoking and even exposure to secondhand smoking is linked to serious health conditions such as heart disease, several forms of cancer, and lung diseases.
4. Avoid Excessive Alcohol Consumption
Too much alcohol consumption is hazardous to your health. Excessive alcohol can lead to the development of chronic diseases, including high blood pressure, liver disease, heart disease, dementia, and cancer. It can also result in injuries, violence, and social problems.
5. Get Sufficient Sleep
It is recommended that adults get at least 7 hours of sleep per day. Insufficient sleep can disrupt normal bodily functions and lead to depression, obesity, and heart disease.
6. Know Your Family’s Medical History
Do you have a family medical history of chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, or heart disease? Chances are, you are also at risk of getting the disease yourself. By knowing your medical history and letting your doctor know about it, you can take the steps needed to prevent the onset of the disease.
7. Visit Your Doctor Regularly
Maintaining good health requires commitment, and this includes having yourself checked regularly by your doctor. A regular check is helpful as a preventive measure and for medical conditions to be detected early on before they can get too serious.
With exercise, good eating habits, and healthy lifestyle choices, one can reduce or delay the likelihood of getting a chronic illness. And, even if you already have a chronic disease eating healthy foods and physical activities can go a long way to manage the symptoms of the medical condition, avoid complications, and prolong your life.