There was a time when communicable diseases (infectious diseases) were very common and there were regular epidemics killing millions. This was up until the 19th century. The last major and deadly epidemic was the pandemic of influenza in 1918 infecting 500 millions and killing 50 millions.
Thanks to the advancement in science and modern lifestyle, these epidemics of communicable diseases are history now. However, in this modern world non communicable diseases are on the increase. These may be called lifestyle diseases and are in a way related to the stress of the current lifestyle.
One has to realise that stress is not always bad and is a necessary part of your life, as stress can bring out the best in many people. It is however, constant and unwanted stress which can cause various problems. It affects your daily routine, upsets your mood, causes headaches, backache, muscle stiffness, stomach upsets and is a factor in the onset of many lifestyle diseases as you continue to ignore health issues and healthy lifestyle because you are preoccupied with stress and quite often are unable or unwilling to deal with it. Some people go for therapy sessions which may help, but there are many things you can do to counter the damage stress may cause to your health.
Some of the common lifestyle diseases are:
Stress can be added to this even though it is not a disease but it upsets many body systems and derails the daily routine and may predispose to many so called lifestyle diseases and anxiety disorders.
More and more women are getting affected by these illnesses as they are getting increasingly involved in jobs and financial responsibility apart from raising children and family commitments. This results in ignoring health issues because they are too stressed for time.
The factors affecting women’s health and which are regularly ignored due to the present lifestyle are as follows and can be tackled by simple measures:
1. Lack of Exercise
Spending hours sitting in an office chair or in front of TV with minimal physical exercise. Along with this eating fatty and sugary foods leads to obesity, high BP and depression amongst others. One does not need lots of exercise to prevent the onset of diseases. 30 to 40 minutes a day, five times a week is helpful.
2. Not Drinking Enough Water
This is very important, one needs to drink eight glasses of water per day. Not drinking enough water leads to dehydration which affects all body functions. Staying hydrated is good for skin also.
3. Eating Too Much Salt
Salt is an essential item in every kitchen for daily use. We do not need a lot of it but most people have developed a habit of sprinkling salt on food items like chips, eggs, salads etc. Many processed foods contain exceeding amount of salt. Increased salt intake can lead to high BP and Cardiovascular diseases. Too much salt also leads to water retention causing bloating. Reduction in salt intake will benefit bloating.
4. Extreme Dieting
Due to prevalence of obesity, dieting amongst women has become very common due to social pressure to look smart. They get advice from family, friends and others and try out unscientific diets which are totally wrong and cause fatigue, malnutrition, irritability, depression and in some cases anorexia and bulimia. If you have to diet there are scientific ways to diet which are safe and give results. Consult a doctor before dieting or try out PALEO diet (check it on the web).
Smoking is a very bad habit and many women are turning to smoking. Smoking is bad for both sexes and leads to lung cancer, cardiovascular disease and hypertension. There is some research that cigarette smoking increases the risk of breast cancer especially in those women who start smoking as a teenager and continue for more than three decades.
6. Drinking Alcohol Excessively
Alcohol is bad for both sexes but women have to be particularly careful as heavy consumption can contribute to high BP, insomnia, depression osteoporosis and poor nutrition. Pregnant women should especially avoid as alcohol crosses the placental barrier affecting the baby.
Aspirin is taken in low doses daily as preventive treatment for heart disease. Latest research reveals that it does more harm than good and can result in gastrointestinal bleeding.
8. Microwaving in Plastics
Due to pressure of a busy lifestyle, many households tend to use microwave rather than traditional ways of warming food. It is especially bad if you microwave in plastic because of a chemical found in plastics known as Bisphenol-A (BPA). This chemical has been linked to cancer and premature puberty birth defects.
Heating plastic in microwave may cause BPA to leak into the food being heated.
Apart from above factors there are some lifestyle changes which help to manage and reduce stress:
- Morning walk
- Meditation, Namaz, yoga etc
- Music has a strong effect on a person’s mood, listen to your favourite music whenever you are stressed.
- Organise and discipline the use of your cell phone. Don’t use it all the time.
Modern women are twice as likely to suffer from stress then men as they have to balance multiple responsibilities and relationships.
Workers are under more stress than bosses as they feel lack of job security and having less control over their work, and few working women are bosses.
Do find some time to look after your health, it is not difficult and very simple measures are enough to keep you healthy and away from diseases.