Common Diseases – A Matter of Choice?
Take control of what you can to get the most out of life!
There are many factors that contribute to some of the most common medical conditions including genetics and lifestyle. We of course do not have control over our genetics, but the lifestyle choices we make can play a big role in determining our health future. Lifestyle includes among other things, our choices in nutrition, fitness, stress management, our environment, smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol, and illegal drug use.
Diseases Commonly Considered “lifestyle related” Can Include:
- Asthma – Chronic inflammation, spasms, and obstruction of airways
- Some cancers – among other issues, cells grow uncontrollably and invade the body
- Chronic liver disease – The liver is responsible for detoxification and protein synthesis
- Lung Disease or COPD – Destruction of lung tissue that can cause other conditions
- Heart disease – blockages of the arteries supplying blood to the heart
- High blood pressure - a resistance to blood flow through the body as the heart pumps
- High cholesterol – cholesterol builds in arteries causing blockages to blood flow
- Kidney disease – damage to the kidneys eventually causing the inability to urinate
- Osteoporosis – weakening of bones that can lead to fractures
- Stroke – Blockage to blood flow to the brain that can cause brain damage
- Depression – a continued mood of sadness, hopelessness and anxiety
- Obesity - being overweight to the point that it is likely to cause other health issues
Some experts use the terms “lifestyle disease” and “disease of civilization” interchangeably as these diseases appear to increase in frequency as countries become more industrialized and people live longer. Many of these diseases occur primarily in older people, but many also have been documented from childhood onward. Historically, and in parts of the world where people are active throughout their lives, consume little to no alcohol, tobacco, or drugs, and rely on a primarily plant based diet of whole foods, eat very little meat and dairy products, processed foods, sugary foods, or vegetable oils, even in old age, very little evidence of so called “lifestyle diseases” exist.
Our lifestyle choices play a huge role in our health. Even if you are healthy now, taking the steps to continue to improve your health can dramatically improve your likelihood of staying healthy. And likewise, if you already have health conditions, doing your best to develop a healthy lifestyle can often improve and sometimes even completely reverse some medical conditions. If you have further questions about lifestyle related diseases and how they may relate to you, please speak with your doctor. Work with your doctor to make a plan and involve other professionals to help you along the way. The key is taking things one step at a time and setting manageable goals to take you all the way there. There is no “right way” to reach your own wellness peak, keep an open mind and try something new.
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Sources: Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food, Wikipedia
Author: Tony Montijo, BS Kinesiology, CPT, CES