Chronic diseases such as cancer, respiratory conditions, arthritis, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes are caused by risk behaviors, while in some people, they are genetic. Therefore, there are some important common health practices for people living with chronic diseases that can help them effectively manage such conditions on a long-term basis.
Categories and impact of chronic diseases
Some of the chronic diseases caused genetically or whose causes are not well known include cystic fibrosis, type 1 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis; are they are not preventable. Others such as stroke, HIV/AIDs, HPV, and type 2 diabetes are developed due to risk factors that can be prevented. Common health practices can manage both categories of chronic diseases caused genetically and by risk factors.
For example, in developed countries such as the USA, chronic diseases have been the leading causes of disability and death besides the extensive socio-economic impact on economies, health care budgets, and employee productivity. These socio-economic impacts on individuals, communities, states, and countries make managing chronic diseases an important focus by all.
Common health practices for people living with chronic diseases
There are direct relationships between dietary factors, lifestyle factors, and chronic diseases. So, specific changes in diet and lifestyle will greatly speed up and stabilize chronic diseases in individuals.
People living with chronic diseases need to roll out comprehensive and active plans in managing their conditions. The following are some of the common health practices for people living with chronic conditions:
Avoiding Smoking: People living with chronic diseases and are active smokers should stop smoking, while those who are not smoking should never start smoking at whatever cost. Avoiding tobacco use, for instance, would reduce the risk of some critical health problems such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, lung disease, and heart disease. It is also important to avoid smokeless tobacco to prevent oral cancer.
Maintaining Daily Physical Activity: Regular physical exercises such as walking, digging, and bicycle riding is essential for people living with chronic diseases as it helps in controlling the conditions. Regular physical exercises control body weight while preventing obesity. Besides maintaining a healthy weight, regular physical activity reduces the risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes, colon and breast cancer, erectile dysfunction, osteoporotic fractures, and depression.
Maintaining a Healthy Diet: The type of diet has a great impact on conditions such as diabetes, renal stones, congenital disabilities, and cataracts. It is advisable for people living with chronic diseases to adopt new measures to ensure a healthy diet to control such conditions. The measures include: replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats, ensuring generous consumption of vegetables and fruits, consuming cereal products in their high-fiber form, limiting consumption of sugary food, limiting excessive intake of calories, and limiting sodium intake. Medical experts continue to provide evidence to show how comprehensive change of diet and lifestyle can control specific conditions such as diabetes, stroke, and colon cancers.
Maintaining a Healthy Body Weight: Generally, this bodyweight is normally ascertained by measuring the waist circumference, a strong predictor of type 2 diabetes and stroke. It is easier to assess the abdominal circumference, and an increase by more than five centimeters would lead to recommending a change in diet, lifestyle, and physical activity. Controlling body weight helps in managing chronic diseases.
Getting Sufficient Sleep: Lack of enough sleep is linked to the development and poor management of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and depression. People living with chronic conditions need enough sleep daily, and it is recommended that adults sleep for at least seven hours per day.
Understanding Your Family History: It is worth noting that risk behaviors cause most chronic diseases while some are genetic. Some families have a history of chronic diseases such as heart diseases, diabetes, and cancers. Siblings of such families easily get such chronic diseases through hereditary take-over. Knowing your family history can help you manage the chronic illness effectively as you know very well that the cause is genetic. Once you share that history with the doctor, the doctor will help you develop a comprehensive managing plan.
Specific modifications in diet and lifestyle can help a person living with chronic disease adopt healthy behaviors which are critical in managing chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and obesity.
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