The Top 5 Lifestyle disorders in India
In my previous blog, City life – an invitation to Lifestyle Disorders, I reflected on how lifestyle disorders are spreading in India at an alarming rate. This blog is the second part of a three part primer on lifestyle disorders that threaten us.
Osteoporosis, Obesity, Diabetes, Arthritis and Blood pressure are the most common lifestyle disorders in India. They are caused by the unhealthy and abusive lifestyle that a person knowingly or unknowingly follows.
They are called Lifestyle disorders and not Lifestyle diseases because they are not caused by external agents like bacteria or viruses. Normal diseases are temporary in nature and can be cured by medicines which remove the toxins from the body or kill the germs that cause the disease. Lifestyle disorders, in contrast, are caused by the lifestyle that a person chooses to follow. If the person follows a healthy and disciplined lifestyle, he / she can prevent these disorders.
I do not have specific data but based on my experience and people I have interacted with, I rank Osteoporosis as number one Lifestyle disorder in India. Osteoporosis is called the silent killer as there are no symptoms until it is too late. Due to lack of symptoms, people do not know what is happening with their bones. Hence are not worried about it and take no care to modify their lifestyle. Meanwhile, The minerals and calcium levels in the bones are silently being reduced on a daily basis for want of adequate calcium by the body system.
Obesity ranks second in my experience. Diabetes and arthritis are number three and four. According to WHO, India is fast becoming the world capital of diabetes. Many people above 40 experience stiffness of joints. This is more so if they are obese as there is more pressure on joints. If people have a deskbound lifestyle, confined to a chair for hours together, there is always stress of joints or knee caps since they do not always sit in the right posture. Stress and unhealthy lifestyle also can lead to blood pressure. It is number five in my opinion. These five are the most prevalent lifestyle disorders in the people I have dealt with.
While Osteoporosis is number one in India, Obesity hovers on top in Western countries. Obesity is more prevalent in west due to their food habits. People there consume more pizzas, burgers, red meat and fatty foods.. Obesity can lead to other lifestyle disorders too , like Arthritis, blood pressure, diabetes etc.. Lifestyle disorder trends differ in different geographical regions based on their food habits.
In India, the scenario looks grim because the focus is still on medicines and hospitals. Healthcare in India is more about treatment and cure. Few people talk of prevention. However in lifestyle disorders, there is no cure. Prevention is the only alternative.
Meanwhile, more and more people wake up each day to the grim reality that once you suffer from a lifestyle disorder, it remains with you for life.
In the next blog I will focus on how to prevent lifestyle disorders.
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