Chronic diseases are more pressing than ever, affecting an astonishing number of Americans – about 1 in every six. What’s worse is that the conditions aren’t just unbearable; they degrade your life and ruin your finances. That’s why combating it has to be your priority.
Chronic diseases encompass various medical conditions, typically requiring continuous medication for at least a year. Some common chronic conditions are heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and chronic kidney diseases. Unfortunately, these chronic conditions can be fatal and rank among the leading causes of death and disability worldwide.
You need to undertake some preventive measures to reduce the risk of developing chronic conditions. Fortunately, that’s what this article is about.
Here are 7 practical ways to protect your health and keep chronic diseases at bay in 2023.
1. Adopt a Healthy and Balanced Diet
Research shows that eating healthy foods can significantly lower the risks of chronic diseases. Adding nutritious foods like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables can strengthen your immune system as they are rich in antioxidants.
As you adopt a healthy lifestyle and find ways to cope with chronic diseases, you also want to reduce your intake of unhealthy foods and drinks. Minimize sugary foods and drinks, which cause weight gain and trigger chronic conditions.
Eating healthy foods alone isn’t enough; you need enough water to keep your body running and boost your health. Drinking enough water daily prevents dehydration, kidney stones, and constipation.
2. Work on Improving Mental
People with mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, and stress are more exposed to chronic diseases. Engaging in mindfulness activities such as yoga, deep breathing, and meditation can help improve your mental health and prevent stroke, pain, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.
Additionally, it’s essential to lead a healthy lifestyle with a work-life balance. Often, work-related pressure can impact your mental health. Therefore, spending quality time with family and connecting with friends improves your health and well-being.
3. Exercise Regularly
We all know the health benefits of regular physical activities, but many people find it hard to do it consistently. One of the ways regular exercise prevents chronic diseases is by helping lower blood sugar levels. It also boosts energy and facilitates weight management. And for type 2 diabetes patients, working out reduces the chances of succumbing to heart disease.
At least 30 minutes of moderate physical exercise can help prevent chronic diseases. The goal is to exercise frequently, so you should pick enjoyable activities like cycling, walking, and dancing. You can occasionally incorporate hiking and intense activities to strengthen your bones and heart and improve body strength.
4. Get Quality Sleep
According to research, quality sleep strengthens the immune system, enhancing the body’s ability to fight disease-causing viruses and pathogens. Particularly, sufficient sleep facilitates the replenishment of T-cells, the cells in the immune system responsible for fighting infections.
On the contrary, insufficient sleep is linked to depression, obesity, and type 2 diabetes, among other chronic health conditions.
Establishing a sleep routine that gives you at least 7 hours can significantly improve your health. Other measures, such as creating a sleep-friendly environment and avoiding stimulants like caffeine before bed, can help you rest well.
5. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Excess weight or obesity can lead to life-threatening chronic diseases like heart problems and type 2 diabetes. Combining a healthy diet and engaging in physical activities regularly can help you maintain a suitable weight.
But even as you desire a healthy life quickly, avoid practices that are not sustainable. For instance, a crash diet can only give you temporary weight loss and could cause even more weight gain later.
Create realistic goals, and work with professionals to develop an effective weight management plan for lasting chronic disease prevention.
6. Limit Alcohol and Substance Use
Drug abuse increases the likelihood of developing chronic diseases, and if you’re suffering from one- it worsens the condition. Excessive alcohol consumption, for instance, increases your blood pressure and heart rate and weakens your heart muscle. All these could lead to stroke or heart attack. Additionally, certain types of cancer, like liver and stomach, are linked to alcohol use.
Overusing substances such as tobacco also introduces harmful chemicals into the body triggering chronic disease. It is important to practice moderation to avoid potential health problems. If you are an addict, seek professional help to stop the habit and reduce the risk of chronic conditions.
7. Get Regular Check-ups
In addition to adopting a healthy diet, you still need to go for check-ups regularly. Managing chronic conditions is tough, so you should do all possible to prevent their development. Regular check-ups are handy as they allow early detection and treatment of chronic illnesses before they advance to severe stages.
How often you should do check-ups largely depends on your family history, age, lifestyle, and risk exposure. If you are under 50, you should do it once every 3 years. But for older people over 50 years, doing check-ups yearly is recommended. More regular check-ups and screening, as advised by a doctor, are ideal for people at high risk or with chronic diseases.
Chronic diseases are more common nowadays due to poor lifestyle choices and engagement in risky behaviors. Unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, inadequate sleep, work-life imbalance, and drug abuse are some of the reasons for the soaring number of chronic disease victims.
Fortunately, you can embrace these practical chronic disease prevention strategies to lead a healthy and happy life. And you don’t have to undertake all these measures overnight; just make small steps to improve your health and well-being, and you’ll be amazed at the results.