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Lifestyle and its diseases

Lifestyle and its diseases

By Angela Adu-Asomaning

According to the World Health Organization, non-communicable diseases of which lifestyle diseases are a part, claim many lives annually, which is over 70% of all deaths across the globe.

Of these, over 15 million deaths occur among people in the age band of 30 to 69 years. Lifestyle diseases include atherosclerosis, heart disease, stroke; obesity,type 2 diabetes, and diseases associated with smoking, alcohol and drug abuse.

Reports say, diabetes, cancer, heart and respiratory diseases will be the leading killers by 2030 if care is not taken to contain them. Heart disease, one of the lifestyle diseases, has remained the leading cause of death at the global level for the last 20 years and it is now killing more people than ever before. The number of deaths from heart disease increased by more than two million since 2000, to nearly nine million in 2019.

Heart disease now represents 16% of total deaths from all causes. Deaths from diabetes- another lifestyle disease, increased by 70% globally between 2000 and 2019, with an 80% rise in deaths among males. Diabetes mellitus, cancers and cardiovascular conditions have been identified as the three fatal lifestyle diseases wreaking havoc to many lives. Senior Lecturer and Head of Department of Pathology at the University of Ghana Medical School, Dr Afua Abrahams, says modifiable, non-modifiable and metabolic reasons are the major contributory factors to these lifestyle diseases. Dr Abrahams who also doubles as a Senior Pathologist at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, however said, ”though these diseases are not curable for now, they can be managed or prevented”.

She emphasised the importance of adopting healthy lifestyles to combat these diseases.

She says there is the need to be active, exercise regularly and eat well balanced meals, avoid addictive things like alcohol and tobacco as well as the need to minimise anger and have good sleep.

A Nursing Officer at the Kekeli Hospital in Accra, Blaise Ackom says there is a need to sensitize people on the effects of tobacco smoking, sniffing of glue and other narcotic drugs, especially, among young people. He said intensive education is required to raise awareness on the dire consequences of substance abuse on the human body.

He emphasized the need to reduce the intake of junk, oily and fatty foods and avoid red meat, and rather opt for fruits and vegetables.

Health is wealth and this common saying holds a lot of weight because there is truth behind it.

As a people, we need to make healthy food choices, avoid ultra-processed foods. watch our blood pressure, check our cholesterol levels, watch our body mass, manage our blood sugar levels, quit smoking, go for regular check-ups and adopt regular physical exercise as a lifestyle.

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