According to the EURO Symposium, a chronic disease has been defined as “An impairment and/or function that necessitates a modification of patient’s normal life, and has persisted over an extended period of time”. According to a report by WHO, the total number of people dying from chronic diseases is double that of all infectious diseases (including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria), maternal and perinatal conditions, and nutritional deficiencies combined. The exact cause of any chronic disorder is not yet known, though it is concluded that it is multifactorial and many theories have proved there are associated risk factors.
Prominent of chronic diseases are
- Coronary artery disease including blood pressure
- Ischemic stroke
- Mental disease
- Some Cancers
Main causes for these are
- Lack of physical activity
- Addictions like smoking, alcohol, tobacco etc.
- Poor sleeping habits
- Stressful lives
These lead to raised blood pressure, glucose levels, abnormal blood lipids, overweight and obesity. If you indulge in the above, you are at risk! There are numerous other factors which cause chronic disorders and are beyond your control, for instance:
Conditions before birth and in early childhood influence health later. E,g, low birth weight is known to be associated with high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
- The impact of risk factors increases with age.
- Social, economic and cultural change – globalization, urbanization, pollution, population ageing, and the general policy environment have impacted health.
- Psychosocial and genetic factors also play a role.
Listen to your Body– Meet a medical practitioner if you have the below symptoms –
- Unusual pain/ discomfort in your chest, neck, jaw or arms, pressure or tightness in the chest usually points towards a heart attack
- Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting with exercise or exertion
- Shortness of breath with mild exertion, at rest, or when lying down or going to bed
- Ankle swelling, especially at night
- A rapid or pronounced heartbeat
- Lower leg pain when you walk, which goes away with rest
- Frequent urination, excessive thirst, increased hunger, weight loss, tiredness, lack of interest and concentration, a tingling sensation or numbness in the hands or feet usually point towards diabetes.
What can be done?
You can’t blame the government for your health! You play a VERY IMPORTANT role in being healthy
- Eating healthy won’t kill you! Include fruits & green vegetables in your meals. Indulge, but complement it with exercising & prevent risk factors like cholesterol, diabetes and all metabolic syndromes
- Get Moving! People don’t swear by Yoga, gym workouts and walk for nothing! Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system to work efficiently.
- Tobacco, alcohol and drugs run havoc with your system. The nicotine makes your heart beat faster; the particulates will make it harder for your lungs to exchange gasses; the carbon monoxide will make it harder for your blood to carry oxygen efficiently, and the carcinogens make it harder for your body to keep itself cancer-free. Illegal drugs can damage the brain, heart, and other important organs.
- It is a good practice to conduct basic medical tests. The symptoms discussed are just a tip of the iceberg. Many times when symptoms set in, all the physiological compensatory mechanisms also set in, so to pick up a disease early in an annual checkup plays a major role. To know more, read the blog “A stitch in time saves nine”.
A detailed account of all chronic disorders is difficult to mention in this blog, but be rest assured, you are shaping your health every moment. Your attitude, mental health, physical habits and way of living life at this moment decide your next. So you take a call whether you want to stay healthy and cherish this creation or be a victim of chronic disorder tsunami which is engulfing us today. CHOICE IS YOURS…….