A report states that cardiovascular disease (CVD) is one of the leading causes of chronic disease mortality among women today.
According to this same report, various chronic illnesses also affect women from across the globe, including diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, depression, and other mental illnesses.
But what are chronic diseases?
Practitioners of family medicine in the UAE explain that these are illnesses that persist for a long time. When you have a chronic disease, you may need ongoing medical care and have difficulty going about your daily activities.
Most of these diseases do not pose immediate life-threatening effects, which is why you might underestimate their long-term impact on your life expectancy and quality of living.
Preventing the Onset of Chronic Diseases
Although the prevalence of chronic diseases continues to increase every year, you can lower your risk for these illnesses.
You can do so by following these tips:
Improve your eating habits.
Changing your daily diet and eating habits is an important part of being healthy and lowering your risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and other lifestyle-related or chronic illnesses.
Below are some specific tips you can follow to improve your eating habits and overall health significantly:
Consume well-balanced meals every day.
Your daily diet should include various fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. These foods are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fibre, and other nutrients that reduce your risk for cancer, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic diseases.
Lower your sugar intake.
Minimise the sweet beverages and food you consume daily, including the sweetened coffee and tea you have at home. Aim to cut all sugary drinks and treats from your diet completely in the long run.
Reduce your sodium intake.
Regular excessive salt intake is one of the main factors that cause high blood pressure. Minimise your risk for this chronic disease by considering alternative, healthier flavourings, such as fresh and dried herbs and spices, garlic, onion, and chilli.
Follow healthy cooking habits.
Eating too much deep-fried, grilled, smoked, and preserved meats puts you at a higher risk of developing heart disease and cancer. Choose healthier cooking methods, such as baking, steaming, and boiling, to improve your well-being.
Stop excessive snacking.
Snacking round the clock or whenever you feel like eating can cause you to gain weight, which can lead to heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Try to minimise your snacking and when you can’t wait until the next meal, munch on fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and other healthier treats.
Drink more water and healthier beverages.
Drinking at least two litres of water every day helps prevent the onset of bladder and colon cancer, hypertension, obesity, and other lifestyle diseases. Therefore, you would do well to make this a daily habit.
You can supplement your water intake with unsweetened herbal tea, fresh fruit juices and smoothies, and herb-infused water.
Be more physically active.
Engaging in regular workouts or any type of physical activity plays a crucial role in helping you delay and prevent the onset of chronic illnesses.
To get the most benefits from exercising frequently, aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activities every week.
Examples of moderate-intensity activities you can include in your weekly routine include:
- Easy jogging
- Brisk walking
- Jogging or walking on a treadmill
- Swimming leisurely
- Water aerobics
- Ballroom dancing
- Gardening and doing household chores, such as sweeping and vacuuming the floor
Playing doubles tennis, baseball, and volleyball for at least 150 minutes each week also ensures you meet this fitness requirement.
Limit your alcohol consumption.
Excessive alcohol consumption refers to both binge and heavy drinking.
Binge drinking means consuming four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men consecutively within a few hours.
Heavy drinking refers to consuming eight or more alcoholic beverages for women and 15 or more for men per week.
Reducing your alcohol consumption can help you avoid various chronic diseases.
To lower your alcohol intake, create a schedule for alcohol-free days every week and stick to it. Also, set a drink limit and count the bottles or glasses you consume.
Also, cut down your consumption by opting for low-alcohol or non-alcoholic beverages.
Quit smoking and using tobacco products.
If you smoke or use other tobacco products, you have a higher risk for chronic illnesses and other severe health conditions, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD.
Kicking this habit can be challenging, which means you may need help with accomplishing this goal.
If you want to quit smoking and using tobacco products, it’s best to get support from your primary healthcare provider.
By working with a specialist, you can come up with a plan that can help you kick this habit successfully within your target timetable.
Get at least seven hours of quality sleep.
Inadequate sleep has been linked to various chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and depression.
To lower your risk for these health issues, try to get at least seven hours of quality sleep at night.
Quality sleep means falling asleep within 15 to 20 minutes after calling it a night. It also entails spending more time asleep rather than awake in your bed.
Additionally, quality sleep means staying asleep throughout the night or waking at least once and dozing off immediately.
If you want to get more quality sleep, follow a strict bedtime and wake time every day, even on weekends. Limit your alcohol and caffeine intake in the afternoon and at night.
Avoid bright lights from digital devices, including your smartphone and TV screen, one to two hours before sleeping as well.
Lastly, keep your bedroom dark, cool, and comfy to enjoy a better quality of sleep.
Work on your mental health.
If you have difficulties dealing with stress or are suffering from depression, your likelihood of having hypertension, diabetes, and other lifestyle illnesses becomes higher.
Because of this, you need to learn how to manage your stress, anxieties, depression, and other mental health issues.
Getting enough quality sleep and exercise can help you manage these conditions and improve your mental health.
Learning relaxation techniques, including breathing and mindfulness exercises, can also help you boost your mental wellness.
Make it a habit to schedule some regular “me time,” such as going to the beach, spa, or your favourite restaurant or café, to unwind, de-stress, and forget your worries.
Aside from following these tips, schedule regular check-ups with your family medicine specialist to have a better chance of reducing your risk for chronic diseases.