The Big 5 lifestyle diseases: How your everyday living might be killing you

lifestyle diseases

Last Updated October 20th, 2019

The brutal truth about the “modern” man

Living in the deep thickets of concrete jungles, the modern-day man is ironically the biggest victim of his own creations. Around him are towering multi-storeyed buildings, fumes-belching industries,  a seemingly infinite network of roads replete with tar and automotive exhaust, and practically no greenery to supply him oxygen. Coupled with this, his lifestyle is marked by the stress of work. He faces it every day by sitting tied to a desk for no less than 9-10 hours.

Unfortunatley, to break free from this shackle, he drowns himself in the sea of alcohol, cigarettes, and lip-smacking fast food. He breathes toxic air and swallows food lined with pesticides and carcinogens. Even though he manages to live until the ripe age of 80 or 90 years, his years are riddled with a series of chronic ailments.

Likewise, popping pills, be it for blood pressure and heart or for the sake of diabetes, has become the foundation of his existence. He manages to survive in this noxious environment, but he is definitely not the fittest. And just like the 7 billion others inhabiting this planet, you too are a modern man. Your lifestyle, too, is a tragic consequence of the post-industrial revolution era.

We are collectively standing at the pinnacle of technological and intellectual progress. Yet, we are stranded on the brink of the worst epidemic of non-communicable chronic disease.

A virus that is the modern lifestyle

The modern-day living can be best described as a delusional attempt to live longer and fuller lives, while simultaneously having an unnatural relationship with the environment. This lifestyle is rife with bad habits.

These habits are often completely opposed to the way our bodies have evolved. Our species once hunted its prey and climbed tall trees to look for food and shelter. We were always on the move.

We were always eating fresh and natural produce. And millions of years of surviving and thriving this way, our bodies got used to this kind of healthy and active living. Comparitively, what we are subjecting to our bodies today borders close to inhuman. This modern lifestyle has become the source of all our bodily malfunctioning.

Not to mention, food habits, physical inactivity, stress, contaminated air and water, stress, insufficient sleep– we are proudly living amidst the ingredients of a disastrous life. And are largely in denial of the consequences of this kind of lifestyle.

As per latest WHO reports…

WHO, aka World Health Organization, released a report which best quantifies how these unhealthy lifestyle choices are raging a hell for us. According to WHO, non-communicable chronic diseases are collectively responsible for more than 70% of all the global deaths. Genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors cause these diseases.  Sadly, 70% of all global deaths roughly translates to 40 million people dying each year as a result of poor lifestyle choices.

Who are the biggest killers of our generation?

Cardiovascular ailments (17.7 million), cancer (8.8 million), respiratory disorders (3.9 million), and diabetes (1.6 million). And mind you, these figures are representative of deaths per year. These are also the primary causes of “premature” deaths. Tobacco use, physical inactivity, and alcohol abuse are the major players here. Additionally, physical inactivity alone is responsible for 2.2 million deaths per year. And going by our current lifestyle trends, these numbers are predicted to witness an upward trajectory in the future.

Understanding Lifestyle Diseases

These statistics and figures reveal the harsh truth about modern living.  They are also indicative of where we are going wrong in maintaining basic levels of heath. But how can our everyday living contribute to such deterioration? How can living a so-called normal life be so bad that it requires a complete overhaul? Can exercise and good eating habits really save us from this impending doom?

Let us find out.

1. Heart and hypertension

  • cardiovascular diseases

    Heart diseases or cardiovascular ailments is actually an umbrella term describing all the ailments related to heart rhythms, heart defects, coronary artery, and blood vessels.

  • Narrowed or blocked blood vessels can lead to a host of life-threatening conditions. These include cardiac arrest, angina, and even stroke.
  • Strong and flexible blood vessels are required for proper blood circulation and blood pressure. Also, the transportation of oxygen and nutrients within the body depend upon the condition of your cardiac muscles.
  • Any event or habit that deteriorates the quality of the blood vessels and the pumping ability of the heart is a cause of heart disease.
  • Not to mention, tobacco consumption (smoking, chewing, snuffing), alcohol, illicit use of drugs, and obesity are the primary elements which render our blood vessel and heart weak. Physical inactivity alone is responsible for 30% of all ischemic heart diseases.

2. COPD – Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

  • Refers to the ailments of the respiratory tract caused by the poor flow of oxygen within the body. This is progressive in nature.
  • It comprises of conditions such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Lung cancer is one of the co-morbidities regarding COPD.
  • As of 2015, 174.5 million people were affected by COPD globally. 3.2 million died as a result of it in the same year.
  • There is no cure for COPD.
  • Tobacco smoking and environmental pollution are the leading causes of this disease.
  • Similarly, people who exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet are much less prone to COPD than those who practice unhealthy lifestyle habits.
  • Also, obesity can also add to restricted breathing since the excess weight puts more pressure on the lungs and heart. In COPD, the airways in the lungs get blocked or collapse.
  • People who are exposed to harmful pollutants in their occupation such as those working in rubber and cement factories are at high risk of COPD. Second-hand smoking is also a major factor.

3. Lifestyle diseases in the kidneys and liver

liver and kidney diseases

  • High-blood pressure can trigger kidney diseases. Also, the deadly combination of poor diet, smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity can make you three times more vulnerable to chronic kidney disease.
  • Similarly, obesity has strong links to kidney cancer, chronic kidney disease, and end-stage renal disease.
  • Not following your body’s circadian rhythm and increased blood sugar are also close indicators of bad kidney health.
  • Moreover, almost as high as 10% of the global world population remains affected by Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).
  • Not to mention, liver diseases are one of the leading causes of digestive diseases in the world. Studies indicate that there are 50 million people across the globe who are suffering from liver ailments.
  • Also, 33% of liver patients remain asymptomatic till the last stage (liver cirrhosis). By 2020, liver cirrhosis will become a leading cause of global deaths.
  • As a matter of fact, the main lifestyle factors involved in both kidney and liver functions are – alcohol abuse, obesity, lack of physical activity, high cholesterol, and of course smoking.

4. Poor lifestyle choices and metabolic syndrome

metabolic disorders

  • Metabolic Syndrome (MS) refers to a group of ailments caused by visceral fat deposition, insulin resistance, hypertension, obesity, fatty liver, and high levels of uric acid. In short, it refers to everything that makes up for a dysfunctional metabolism.
  • Metabolism refers to those life-sustaining chemical processes which involve the conversion of food to fuel and its transportation at a cellular level.
  • These ailments make you more and more vulnerable to diabetes, cardiac arrest, dementia, stroke, kidney diseases, liver failure, and even vision impairment.
  • , men who have a waist circumference more than 40 inches and women who have it more than 35 inches are at a high risk of falling victims to various MS diseases.
  • MS begins when our body starts resisting the insulin production. This is caused by poor diet (a diet low in essential nutrients and high in processed sugars), smoking, physical inactivity, and stress.
  • Likewise, higher is the weight loss in obese and overweight individuals, larger are the improvements in overall metabolic processes.

5. The perils of Sitting Disease

sitting disease

  • The ill-effects of remaining sedentary for long hours on our metabolism and overall health come under Sitting Disease.
  • Unfortunatley,our lives revolve around sitting – commute to work, sitting during office hours, relaxing in front of a TV or laptop, online shopping, online banking.
  • More than 70% of the global population remains sitting for more than 6 hours every day. This cannot be completely countered by an increase in physical activity, scientists contend.
  • Not to mention, people who are chronically sedentary are 94% more likely to die because of lifestyle diseases.
  • Also, remaining sedentary for longer hours results in obesity, hypertension, cancer, and cardiovascular ailments.
  • Sitting disease leads to large depositions of fats around your waistline, shooting cholesterol levels, and high blood sugar.
  • Around 2 million deaths globally are due to sedentary lifestyle.
  • It is not just adults who are victims of this condition. Even 66% of all children remain largely inactive, which has a more pronounced effect on their overall health.

lifestyle diseases fatal

All deaths and long-term chronic illnesses are a result of our unhealthy lifestyle choices.

Tobacco, alcohol, obesity, stress, poor diet – these are the common culprits responsible for millions of deaths worldwide every year. Moreover,each lifestyle disease is related to the other. Problematic blood sugar can lead to renal failure. High levels of diabetes and obesity could wear out your heart and lungs. Sugar and stress can halt your metabolic processes.

The bottom line is by following the eating and physical habits of our ancestors we can curb this epidemic of lifestyle diseases. This can prevent the onset of these lifestyle diseases. With little more self-control, awareness, and discipline from your side, you can add more life to your years and years to your life!


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