illnesses

Protecting Against Preventable Illnesses

As humans we’re generally pretty robust, but things can still go wrong in a very bad way. Being such complex creatures allows us to do everything we can, however it also means there are so many different things that can stop functioning as they should. There are diseases we can develop or catch, and all kinds of other problems. While you shouldn’t fret about your health, you should still take steps to look after it. By doing so, you avoid all kinds of preventable illnesses and are more likely to go on and live a long happy and healthy life. Here are just a few of the preventable illnesses a proper lifestyle will help you to avoid.

Cancer

With good health care meaning, we’re now living longer than ever, it’s now estimated that one in two people will get cancer in their lifetime. While the majority of these are in much older patients, cancer doesn’t discriminate and affects people of all ages, backgrounds and ethnicities. Of course, not all cancers are preventable, and many occur seemingly out of the blue and due to nothing that the person has done wrong. However there are an awful lot of cancers caused by lifestyle choices too.

Smoking, drinking too much alcohol, not eating the right foods, even working shift patterns can all contribute to certain cancers. Making a conscious effort to live well and look after our bodies can help to prevent many of these. Eat a diet with plenty of fresh produce, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats to keep it nourished and running like a finely tuned machine. Exercise to keep it lean and strong, protect your skin from the sun and avoid toxins and chemicals as much as possible. You’re never going to be able to be 100% perfect, but taking steps to live in a healthy way will certainly prevent and protect against a wide range of cancers.

Cancer has a devastating effect on lives, once diagnosed you are likely to need radiation therapy and chemotherapy which can be hard on the body. Depending on the type of cancer you might need surgery too, for example, a facial tumor would need to be treated by a specialist such as DrAllison.org. Cervical or ovarian cancer could result in a hysterectomy surgery, or breast cancer, a mastectomy. The key to successfully avoiding certain cancers is to attend all of the screenings you’re invited to. These allow any changes to be picked up early where they’re in the most treatable stages.

Type Two Diabetes

In type two diabetes, the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, or the body’s cells don’t react to insulin. As a result of this, glucose isn’t utilised by the body as fuel and instead stays in the blood. It causes all kinds of problems, from uncomfortable symptoms to life-changing conditions such as blindness and infections in the feet that can lead to needing amputations. Staying at a healthy weight, eating the right foods and exercise can all help to protect you against type two diabetes. It’s more common in certain groups of people: African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. It’s more likely to occur as you get older, and most importantly occurs most in those who are obese. Keeping your weight in check is incredibly important, you can’t change your age or ethnicity but you have control over this so take advantage of that.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US, accounting for almost one in four deaths. The scariest thing is, it’s a preventable illness. Heart failure, stroke, angina, cardiac arrest and hypertension are just a few of the illnesses in the category of heart disease. They mainly occur due to fatty deposits in the arteries around the heart. They’re made up of cholesterol and waste substances, and restrict the flow of blood to the heart. Smoking and eating the wrong foods can contribute to this, as well as other diseases such as diabetes. Again, simply living a healthy life where you eat the right foods and do enough exercise are enough to protect you. Give up smoking and look after your body.

Osteoporosis

Once believed to be an inevitable part of growing old, research has now shown that osteoporosis is largely avoidable. Osteoporosis occurs when the bone loses density quicker than it’s replaced. This leads to weak and brittle bones, which can cause painful fractures very easily and in many cases a broken hip which can be fatal. Living healthily throughout your life, ensuring you get enough calcium and regular exercise will help to build up your bones.

Obesity Related Issues

As well as cancers, heart disease and diabetes, there are other obesity related issues that can be completely avoided with a good diet and exercise. Musco-skeletal problems such as back, hip, knee and foot issues can occur when you’re carrying too much weight for your frame. This can be disabling in some cases and create a vicious cycle where you’re unable to exercise and therefore gain more weight.

It can also cause sleep apnea, a condition where you stop breathing periodically in the night. This can lead to disturbed sleep and further health problems, particularly with the heart. It can lead to fertility issues, gallstones, and if you have a negative body image then mental health concerns such as anxiety and depression too. Find an activity you enjoy and stick with it to ensure you’re getting enough exercise. Stick to a food diary to track your macros to stop you from underestimating your food intake. If you have ongoing issues with your weight, try speaking to your GP. They will be able to refer you to a nutritionist or dietician and provide invaluable advice on getting on track.

What’re Your Thoughts

When your body is strong and healthy, you keep it functioning well, and also boost your immune system to give you better defences against disease. Follow common sense health advice, and don’t wait until things start going wrong before making a change!

Ally Gonzales is the creator of RunningSoleGirl. The go-to place for everything healthy lifestyle and conditioning for running. She’s a runner, speaks a total of five languages, and is a soon-to-be college freshman majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

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