The world is moving towards a chronic disease epidemic. Today more and more people are suffering from one or more chronic illnesses. Heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and chronic lung disease are responsible for the main understanding of chronic disease. Early causes of these diseases include physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, alcohol consumption and tobacco use. We all know that ‘prevention is better than cure’ – so it is important to develop a healthy lifestyle early in life to prevent the development of chronic diseases. However, there are some unavoidable environmental factors that can affect our health.
World Health Day is marked on April 7 each year to raise awareness of a specific health issue of global concern. The theme for World Health Day 2022 is ‘Our planet, our health’. Also, Onlymyhealth has launched a ‘Focus of the Month’ campaign, where we will feature stories each month with many expert insights on a variety of topics. And, this month’s focus is on ‘healthy living’. So, the editorial team talked to two experts, Shimi Sundaran, MD. (Biochemistry), Head – Research and Development and Academic CellAnd Dr. Srikanth HS, Senior Naturopath, Jindal Naturecure Institute, Learn about the impact of environmental factors on overall health and well-being and some ways to deal with it.
How does the environment cause chronic diseases?
Our planet is our home, the place that sustains us, but are we living in harmony with nature? Due to increasing carbon emissions, deforestation and land degradation, ethnographic activity is having a detrimental effect on our ecosystem and ecological biodiversity. Negative trends in biodiversity and ecosystem conservation indicate that we need to do more.
Also read: Learn about the effects of air pollution on human health and the environment
Now, for those who already have a chronic disease, it is important to control them and learn to live with them. Chronic condition management is a major challenge for healthcare systems around the world. Patients with chronic illness have a variety of non-specific symptoms such as pain, fatigue, sleep disturbances and mood disorders and specific symptoms of their illness. These indefinite symptoms lead to stress over a period of time and cause frustration, anger, frustration and occasional depression. Therefore, it is important to treat chronic diseases in a multifaceted manner – patient education, symptom control through treatment, regular follow-up for disease monitoring, diagnostic screening for any complications, medications to reduce the progression of the disease, diet management, stressful strategies like meditation. Regular blood tests to track physical activity and disease control.
Ways to deal with the effects of the environment on health
Some healthy lifestyle choices to implement include:
1. Regular exercise
Exercise helps secrete endorphins – feel good hormones. Regular physical activity helps to achieve ideal body weight and prevent cardiovascular risk.
2. Healthy balanced diet
To include more vegetables and fruits in the diet as it is rich in vitamins and fiber, avoid sugary and processed foods, drink plenty of water and choose healthy fats.
3. Good sleep routine
The quality of sleep is more important than the amount of sleep. The body needs about 8 hours of peaceful sleep on average.
4. Reduce stress
Stress is a part of everyone’s life but learning to deal with it is important. Meditation, listening to music, reading books, pursuing hobbies, playing sports help to control stress levels.
5. Quit smoking
Smoking is responsible for many respiratory ailments like bronchitis, chronic obstructive lung disease, and lung cancer.
Also read: World Health Day 2022: Environmental factors and their impact on bone health
6. Limit alcohol intake
Long-term alcohol use can cause persistent mood swings, sleep disorders, memory and concentration problems, alcoholic liver disease, cirrhosis, and liver cancer.
7. Invest time and money for health
One should take health as a priority and focus on every aspect of health: physical, mental, social, spiritual and intellectual.
8. Get regular health check up
It is important to screen yourself for various diseases such as. Annual blood glucose tests to check for diabetes, Pap smears to screen women for cervical cancer, etc.
Here are a few more tips to deal with:
- Recycling is an effective way to save resources and reduce carbon footprint
- Buying local products and products is a great way to reduce the carbon footprint, as the products do not have to travel long distances and consume more fuel for transportation.
- Instead of trashing everything, separate plastic, paper and metal waste and store it in a recycling bin.
- Water conservation is crucial for freshwater ecosystems. By doing simple things like taking small baths, avoiding washing small clothes and turning off your faucet while brushing, one can save a gallon of water.
- Similarly recycling of unwanted paper will reduce the demand for raw materials for paper production, thus preserving the ecosystem of trees and forests.
- It is equally important to minimize the use of plastic in reusable bags when shopping, discard single-use water bottles, bags and straw, and avoid plastic-made or packaged products whenever possible.
- People should focus on living a fulfilling life by buying only what they need as it can reduce the amount of waste generated and thus reduce pollution. Since natural resources are limited, our overuse can be counterproductive and damage the biodiversity of our planet.
All image credits: Freepick