You wouldn’t need us to tell you that India has undergone quite a sea change in the last few decades. We’ve seen rapid economic growth and urbanization rise at an unprecedented rate. Sure this has brought the country people a lot in terms of monetary prosperity – but along with the progress comes the rise of lifestyle diseases. Related: The Alarming Rise of diabetes among children
Let’s elucidate with a study. A research was conducted on 767 participants – all from different ranks of the Indian military. The study aimed to gauge the prevalence of prehypertension. Prehypertension is the precursor to high blood pressure and indicates a high risk for lifestyle diseases like diabetes, high cholesterol, and obesity. One would imagine the military personnel with regular exercise and better nutrition would have a rosy picture of health. The results though said otherwise. The study showed a high overall prevalence (>80%) of prehypertension. It doesn’t then come as a surprise that another study – this time of urban residents in Kerala showed that only 11.4% of those surveyed had healthy blood pressure.
According to various estimates by global and local health organizations, one in four Indians is at risk of dying of a non-communicable disease like diabetes, cholesterol, high blood pressure, or cancer. By 2021, the death toll by non-communicable diseases is expected to rise to 42%!
The question arises, why are urban Indians so susceptible to lifestyle diseases? Experts attribute a lot of the rise to a variety of lifestyle changes that Indians, especially urban Indians have undergone over the last few decades this includes:
SMOKING AND CONSUMPTION OF TOBACCO
Scientists have proven linkages between tobacco use and several non-communicable diseases including cancer, diabetes, cholesterol, blood pressure, and a host of other cardiovascular and respiratory ailments.
Urbanization and modernization have made life easy, but one can argue we have it too easy. Desk jobs, coupled with a sedentary lifestyle make us more susceptible to lifestyle diseases.
A growing fast food habit and changing dietary patterns have left serious dietary gaps in its wake, in terms of essential vitamins, nutrients, minerals, and more than the body requires for smooth functioning. Modern processed foods are known to strip foods of their valuable nutrients and antioxidants, often to make the product more “stable.”
DISTURBED BIOLOGICAL CLOCKS
9-to-9 is the new 9-to-5. The excess work we put ourselves through, the hours of binge-watching television programs, the late nights, and the early mornings – all take their toll on our health.
Studies have proven that Indians have a genetic predisposition for diabetes and cardiovascular illnesses. It is no wonder then, that instances of these illnesses are rising in the Indian populace.
The silver lining here though is that not all is lost. With lifestyle changes like smoking cessation and exercise, dietary changes, and a little help from nutraceuticals – we can not only prevent and manage but even reverse these dietary issues.
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