As human beings, we are susceptible to all kinds of diseases. Sometimes it’s from our genes, while sometimes, it’s from inevitable, unavoidable accidents. However, some conditions are highly avoidable. One kind of preventable disease is a lifestyle disease.
Lifestyle diseases are relatively common in the U.S. and many countries that are like them. It’s partly because of the access to all sorts of consumer products and a population with a high purchasing power. Added alongside the fact that the priorities of the younger generation are concentrated on living life to its fullest, then you have a looming health problem in the country.
The worst part of it all is that many Americans believe that lifestyle diseases are inevitable, that it comes with age, and that everyone is bound to get it. But it’s not. Many medical experts have run studies regarding these lifestyle diseases and found many are avoidable. But what are lifestyle diseases exactly, and what are different examples of them?
The Nature of Lifestyle Diseases
Lifestyle diseases are forms of diseases that come out of a set of lifestyle behaviors. The United Nations claims that the three lifestyle behaviors that lead to lifestyle diseases are the unhealthy consumption of food, vices such as smoking, and overall physical inactivity.
In the U.S., these behaviors are commonly seen as ways to cope with occurring stress in everyday lives. The most common lifestyle diseases in the U.S. are diabetes, obesity, and arthritis. Therefore, we must talk about these diseases to understand more about lifestyle diseases.
The U.S. has one of the highest rates of obesity in the world. It’s the most common lifestyle disease in the country and probably the whole world. Becoming obese comes from the mix of the three behaviors we’ve indicated above. However, obesity doesn’t directly cause fatalities, the diseases that go alongside it, such as diabetes.
Another lifestyle disease that is common not only in the U.S. but also worldwide is diabetes. The difference between obesity and diabetes is that diabetes is fatal. It’s one of the leading causes of death in Latin America and is considered an unavoidable disease by many in the region.
Lastly, arthritis is a fairly common disease in the U.S., especially among the aging population. Seniors who have severe forms of arthritis usually require home care services to take care of them due to their mobility issues. They are likely to perform normally with the help of these services. But this is another preventable lifestyle disease even for the aging population.
These diseases are caused by lifestyle behaviors that are highly modifiable. For example, the consumption of unhealthy food can easily be stopped if given healthier alternatives. Physical inactivity can be fixed by exercise, while vices can be quickly stopped if the person can be reasoned with. However, that’s the main problem with people that have this disease. They are likely too stubborn to understand that it’s killing them.
The prevention of lifestyle diseases is not as simple as telling people to eat healthier or to exercise more, but instead convincing them that they have good alternatives to the current lifestyle they are living right now.
It’s all about understanding the person’s perspective and positively reinforcing good behavior (e.g., exercise) while letting old unhealthy behaviors extinct. Moreover, being surrounded by people who actively do healthy behaviors can help as well. It normalizes such behaviors, making them much easier to accept.
When it comes to vices, it’s all about community prevention. Lifestyle diseases caused by vices such as smoking are the deadliest, and the community should be on-hand with this approach.
Support groups that help deal with alcohol and smoking addiction can help. Furthermore, behavior modification experts can help these people go sober in the coming years. Community members should also be on-board with the events that can help people avoid these lifestyle diseases.
Creating a Better Life
Lastly, our children should know what lifestyle diseases are, and we should be the ones who teach them about them. If we don’t, our future generation can easily fall into the same cycle. By preventing the future generation from getting into this cycle, we can create a better life for our species.
Lifestyle diseases are highly preventable. It’s up to us to make the conscious decision to stop it entirely. It will take one step at a time, and slowly and surely, we can eradicate ourselves from such diseases and pave the way for a brighter tomorrow.