Health is the biggest blessing one can possess. It is a state of complete mental, physical and social well-being that allows individuals to perform their tasks with maximum potential and energy. Staying healthy prevents disease and keeps a person happy and energetic to enjoy the bounties of life.
If you are physically and mentally fit, you can comfortably perform simple and complex tasks. On the contrary, people with chronic diseases or even minor illnesses experience discomfort or difficulty carrying out even the simplest tasks.
Chronic disease is a condition that persists for one year or more and requires some medical care or limits daily life activities, like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control, chronic diseases occur because of numerous factors like tobacco use, poor nutrition, physical inactivity, alcohol abuse, etc.
However, lifestyle changes can help prevent chronic diseases and aid in a happy and healthy life. If you are want to know how to prevent chronic diseases, here are some tips you can look into:
- Get Screening Done
To prevent chronic diseases from recurring, you should get regular screening done. Visit your doctor for regular checkups every six months or at least once a year. The screening procedures you undergo will give your doctor a clear picture of your mental and physical state. It will help your doctor monitor your vital organs and detect any possible causes of chronic illnesses.
Screening an illness can detect it early and save you lots of time and money. Managing the costs of chronic diseases requires some disease management, but what is disease management?
Disease management is the concept of lowering the costs of chronic conditions and minimizing the effects of disease via integrated care. According to the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy, disease management helps create guidelines about patient self-management and supplies improved quality care at lower costs.
Hence, screening tests and disease management strategies can help your doctor determine chronic disorders and recommend a cost-effective treatment.
- Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating a well-balanced, healthy diet is essential for staying healthy and preventing chronic diseases. Avoid highly processed foods because they are high in fat and sugar content, and prefer home-cooked meals that contain healthy fats (Omega 3’s). According to a study in NCBI, excess consumption of ultra-processed foods can cause a 62% increased risk for all mortalities. It also states that death rates increase by 18% after every serving of unprocessed food.
There are various diet plans on the internet for healthy eating, for example, the Mediterranean diet, DASH diet, flexitarian diet, etc. However, according to WHO, a healthy diet contains 400 g of fruits and vegetables, 50 g of free sugars, and less than 30% energy from healthy fats (unsaturated), 10% energy from saturated fats, less than 1% of energy from trans-fat, and less than 5g of salt.
A healthy diet maintains overall health and prosperity. According to CDC, eating healthy prevents, delays, and manages heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic illnesses.
- Stay Active
To prevent chronic illnesses, you must stay physically fit. Exercising contributes to heart health, muscle health, and brain health. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise prevents many chronic diseases, for example, stroke, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, depression, anxiety, etc.
To ward off chronic diseases, make exercise a part of your routine. According to CDC, aim for moderate-intensity physical activity for at least 150 minutes, with muscle-strengthening activities two days a week.
Also, exercising can improve your mood and make you feel happy. It aids in weight loss and is a rewarding activity that stimulates happy hormones in your body. Seeing the number on the scale falling is a relieving feeling for many overweight, obese or chronic disease patients.
Exercising is a fun activity that you can do at any time. If you are bored or unhappy, do some physical activity with your friends or family like dancing, sports, or hiking to have some fun.
- Avoid Alcohol
If you need to stay healthy and fit throughout your life and keep chronic illness at bay, you need to cut down alcohol from your system. According to NIH, consumption of alcoholic beverages can cause cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer.
Alcohol is a mind-altering substance, and it has long-term side effects on the brain. According to National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol causes impaired memory, slurred speech, blurred vision, and difficulty walking. Moreover, it also hinders the development of new neurons.
Therefore, you should limit alcohol use; NIAAA states that the recommended dose for men is 1.2 mg/day and 1.1 mg/day for women.
- Get enough sleep
The human body needs time to recover from all the pains of everyday life. Therefore, your body has several recovery processes that happen in your body while you are asleep. If you do not receive ample sleep, your body will get less time to heal itself, and this can cause harmful effects and several illnesses. According to CDC, insufficient sleep can cause type 2 diabetes, depression, obesity, and heart disease.
Adequate sleep is essential for overall fitness and health. According to CDC, for adults, the average sleep time is 7-8 hours per night, and the optimal sleep time for adolescents is nine hours.
Therefore, sufficient sleep is mandatory for the natural functioning of the brain and body.
- Know your family history
Some chronic diseases have genetic factors. If someone in your family suffered/suffers from heart disease or diabetes, you are more likely to develop this illness yourself. According to twin studies published in Oxford Academic, genes contribute to chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, RA, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, and depression.
Genetic testing is a way to know about your family’s history and known predisposing factors for chronic diseases. According to NIH, genetic testing is helpful in the determination of chronic kidney disease, and the diagnostic yield is 30% for children and 6-30% for adults.
- Quit smoking
Smoking is known to cause numerous health concerns. It affects the lungs and the heart. Moreover, cigarettes contain carcinogenic substances that can cause cancer. According to CDC, smoking causes cancer, stroke, heart illness, COPD, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis. It also causes disease and disability in almost every organ of the body.
Long-term smoking can cause the death of a person, and John Hopkins Medicine states that there are 480,000 fatalities each year caused due to smoking. It also explains that people who stop smoking reduce their likelihood of heart, lung disease, and cancer.
Although having a chronic disease is not under your control, several preventive measures can help lower its risk and present overall physical and mental health. It will help you live a happy, healthy, and beautiful life.