Unhealthy lifestyle: a road to disease

Article

01. 11. 2023

In the era of information and communication technologies, the way of life in economically developed countries is changing rapidly but the population can’t keep up with the drastic changes. The number of psychological issues, which, according to the principle of psychosomatics, cause diseases of the body, is on the rise. The result? An epidemic of chronic diseases. MUDr. Milan Hrubý, internist and nephrologist at the YMCA clinic, reflects on this state of affairs.

The steadily increasing pressure for speed and results disrupts our fragile work-life balance. Also, the constant comparison and striving for efficiency in a fiercely competitive environment is exhausting physically and mentally. Add to this the fact that human relationships are often replaced by virtual reality, and it's no wonder the population is so threatened by non-infectious or chronic diseases.

According to the available data, more than 30 million people worldwide die from chronic diseases every year, and almost two-thirds of these deaths affect people under the age of 70. The most common diseases are heart and blood vessel disease, cancer, chronic lung and respiratory diseases and diabetes.

The main causes of these diseases include an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, tobacco smoking and alcohol consumption. The rapid development of urban agglomerations largely determines these factors, the preference for unhealthy lifestyles and the ageing of the world's population.

Socially disadvantaged people are more vulnerable than those with higher incomes. They die at younger ages because they have limited access to good quality healthcare. Add to this the rising cost of treatment and we are already going down the spiral of poverty.

The fundamental problem is the unwillingness or inability to listen to advice and recommendations, particularly in the period up to the end of adolescence. At this stage of life, habits and routines are formed that most people carry on into adulthood. Therefore, if a person establishes healthy lifestyle principles at an age when they are willing and able to give their best efforts into their health, the likelihood that they will not succumb to false temptations throughout life increases.

Unfortunately, it is not within the power of doctors and other health professionals to significantly reduce this epidemic of non-communicable diseases. Access to health care goes hand in hand with health education. However, simply naming the adverse developments is not enough.

A coordinated approach is needed across multiple sectors: health, finance, transport, education, industry and agriculture. This will help to create the conditions that allow early diagnosis and treatment, and hopefully prevention of non-communicable diseases. It is an investment in prevention and early treatment that pays off, as the cost of treatment for late diagnosis is many times higher.

Written for Finmag magazine.

           
MUDr. Milan Hrubý, internist and nephrologist at Canadian Medical

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