Chronic disease is the primary cause of death and injury in the United States. 75% of the deaths are from one or more of the five most common chronic diseases. These include coronary disease, stroke, asthma, chronic respiratory diseases, and cancer. In reality, chronic illness affects 7 out of 10 deaths in the United States. However, the number of people living with these diseases is increasing rapidly. Let’s look at the strategies for the prevention of chronic diseases.
About half (45% or 133 million) of Americans are chronically sick. One in four American adults has two or three of these diseases at any given time. These chronic diseases induce long-term disabilities, decrease quality of life and lead to multiple hospital admissions, negatively affecting health and long-term survival.
Prevention of Chronic Diseases often requires patients to make changes in their lifestyles. Some may feel stressed at the thought of changing an already busy schedule. But, it’s important to note that lifestyle changes don’t have to be major or complicated.
What are chronic diseases?
“Chronic disease” is characterized as a disease that progresses slowly and lasts a long time. Chronic diseases cannot usually be prevented by vaccines or treated by medication.
Examples of chronic diseases include cancer, coronary disease (heart disease, stroke, hypertension), diabetes, obesity, respiratory diseases and asthma. Chronic disorders are the main leading cause of death and injury worldwide.
Can chronic disease be prevented?
Yes, you can prevent chronic illness. Five important factors can affect a person’s risk of chronic disease:
- Physical activity
- Alcohol use
- Long-term stress
These factors are often things that people can change.
Prevention of Chronic Diseases focuses on encouraging people to be healthy. The goal is to stop the disease before it starts or gets worse.
Here are 8 Common Strategies for the Prevention of Chronic Diseases:
1. Quit smoking
Stopping smoking (or never starting) decreases the risk of serious health problems. These include cardiovascular disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and early death for long-term smokers.
Quitting smoking is one of the most important steps that you can take to improve your health. This is so no matter how old you are or how long you smoke.
Many people who smoke become addicted to nicotine, a drug contained naturally in tobacco. This could make it hard to quit smoking. But the positive thing is that there are proven treatments that can help you quit.
2. Eat healthily
Eating healthy helps prevent, delay, and control heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic diseases. A healthy diet of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and low-fat dairy products is essential. If you are overweight, losing between 5% and 7% of your body weight can help with the Prevention of Chronic Diseases.
An eating schedule that helps control your weight requires a range of nutritious foods. Add a variety of colors to your plate and think of it as a rainbow meal. Dark, leafy greens, oranges, and tomatoes—even fresh herbs—are loaded with protein, fibre, and minerals.
Using frozen peppers, broccoli, or onions to stews and omelets gives them a simple and easy boost of color and nutrients.
3. Get regular physical activity
Regular physical exercise can help you delay, treat or Prevention of Chronic Diseases. Just aim for moderate physical exercise (such as cycling) for at least 150 minutes a week.
Daily physical exercise is one of the most important things that you can do for your health. You can experience physical exercise’s health benefits – regardless of age, abilities, ethnicity, shape or height.
The benefits happen right after a moderate-to-vigorous physical exercise session. Benefits include increased thinking or cognition for children 6 to 13 years of age and decreased short-term anxiety for adults. Daily physical training will help keep your thinking, listening, and judgmental skills as sharp as you age. It will also reduce your risk of depression and anxiety and help you get more sleep.
4. Manage emotions
The all-encompassing nature of chronic illness and the way it disrupts your life and plans will give rise to a wide range of emotions. These reactions may include:
Keep experimenting with different approaches to manage stress and painful emotions. When you find a technique that works, add it to your every day or weekly schedule.
Some of the ideas are:
- Listening to music
- Deep breathing
- Writing in a journal
- Spending quality time with family and friends
It can help to plan time for daily breaks and self-care in your calendar.
5. Avoid drinking too much alcohol
Over time, excessive drinking can lead to elevated blood pressure and different types of diseases. If you don’t drink too much, you will lower your health risks.
Drinking too much can be dangerous to your well-being. Excessive drinking was also responsible for one out of every ten deaths among working-age adults aged 20 to 64. So, the economic cost of increased alcohol intake in 2010 was measured at $249 billion or $2.05 per drink.
6. Get screened
Visit the doctor regularly for medical care to Prevention of Chronic Diseases early.
You will need to get your blood sugar tested to determine whether you have pre-diabetes, type 1, type 2, or gestational diabetes. Also, testing is simple, and results are usually readily available.
7. Get enough sleep
Insufficient sleep has been associated with the development and poor management of diabetes, heart disease, obesity and depression. Adults should sleep for at least 7 hours per day.
Understanding how a lack of sleep impacts your health can help you to make better choices. Sleep disturbances and lack of sleep can affect the health of a person dealing with a chronic illness.
8. Know your family member
You could be more likely to experience chronic illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, or osteoporosis if you have a family history with them. So, share your family health records with your doctor to help you with the prevention of chronic diseases or detect them early.
The Bottom Line
Living with a chronic illness can be difficult. But you can take measures to treat your disease and maintain a healthy quality of life. So, learn as much about your illness and health conditions as you can.
By making healthier habits part of your everyday life, you can prevent illnesses such as high blood pressure or obesity that increase the risk of contracting the most common and dangerous chronic diseases.