It may seem early for young adults to start thinking about preventing chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis, but the habits you are developing now will influence your future health. Taking care of your health now can also help prevent high insurance costs now and later in life.
Diabetes is one chronic condition that affects many Americans. This condition not only affects well-being, but can also affect health, life, and auto insurance coverage and rates. In fact, dmii insurance can be reasonably priced and easy to obtain as long as blood glucose levels are controlled and will not affect driving ability.
Chronic diseases have controllable and uncontrollable risk factors. Controllable risk factors would include healthy eating and physical activity. Uncontrollable risk factors are things like age, race, ethnicity, sex, and a family history of the disease.
This article will discuss some of the main chronic diseases as well as steps to prevent or manage those chronic diseases. Prevention and management of diseases start with individual participation in healthy habits.
Diabetes is a condition that affects blood glucose levels. After we eat carbohydrates and sugar, our body breaks them down into glucose. Glucose is used by the cells of the body and is the body’s preferred source of fuel and energy.
Insulin is a hormone that acts as a key to unlock the cells to allow blood glucose to enter the cells as needed for energy. In Type 2 diabetes, the insulin does not work properly to unlock the cells, which is called insulin resistance.
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that requires daily maintenance. Those with diabetes must check blood glucose levels regularly, take medication, manage carbohydrate intake, and stay active.
Cardiovascular (Heart) Disease
Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans across age, ethnicity, and sex. Cardiovascular disease includes conditions like high blood pressure, heart attack, high cholesterol, and stroke. Certain risk factors like age and family history put you at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease.
Certain ethnicities and races also have a higher risk of developing heart disease. Males are more at risk for heart disease before middle age, but females are at a higher risk after menopause. This is because estrogen is thought to be protective against heart disease.
Osteoporosis is caused by low bone density. A healthy diet and physical activity are keys to lowering the risk of osteoporosis. Calcium, vitamin D, and weight-bearing exercise help keep bones strong.
As we age, especially if we are inactive, our body will gradually lose bone mass. Low bone density puts adults at higher risk for fractures, which can lead to hospitalization, disability, and even death.
Cancer is a complicated disease and includes many different types and many different causes. The best things we can do to prevent or lower the risk of cancer is healthy eating, managing weight, participating in health care screenings as recommended, and staying active. A plant-based and heart-healthy diet is important to lower the risk of developing many types of cancer.
Eating healthy is one of the best things you can do to prevent and manage chronic health conditions. A well-balanced diet with a focus on fruits, vegetables, lean protein, fish, low-fat or fat-free dairy products, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and soy products is the way to prevent or manage many chronic conditions.
Eating a heart-healthy diet like the Mediterranean diet or a plant-based diet can help prevent or manage heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer. Two servings of fish weekly give you important omega-3 fatty acids which play a role in heart, brain, and joint health.
Eating plenty of calcium and vitamin D from milk, yogurt, cheese, and soy products is a great way to keep bones strong and prevent osteoporosis.
Limiting or avoiding processed foods, solid fats, fried foods, and foods and beverages with added sugars helps manage weight and prevent diseases. Too much processed food and added sugars can lead to more inflammation in the body, which is the cause of many chronic diseases.
Emotional stress is related to many chronic diseases and can increase inflammation in the body. Chronic stress can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer. When stress is combined with an unhealthy lifestyle, the risk of chronic diseases increases too.
Everyone experiences stress, but the key is to manage stress in ways that help you. Exercise and physical activity is one important tool to help manage stress, especially activities like yoga, strength training, and aerobic activity. Another way to help manage stress is to make sure you are getting enough sleep every night. Self-care, socialization, meditation, and relaxation are other great methods to manage stress.
Physical Activity and Exercise
Regular physical activity is also one of the best lifestyle habits you can do to prevent and manage chronic health conditions. Getting started with a regular fitness routine improves energy levels and optimizes health.
Weight-bearing exercises like walking, running, dancing, and strength training help keep bones strong and prevent osteoporosis. Aerobic or cardiorespiratory activities like running, walking, dancing, swimming, and cycling are excellent for improving heart health.
The ideal physical activity routine should include cardiorespiratory endurance activities like walking or running, muscular fitness activities like strength training, and flexibility activities like stretching. Any amount of physical activity is better than none, even 10 minutes daily. Try to make physical activity part of your daily routine and do something active every day.
Follow Medical Advice
It is important to keep up with annual health care providers’ visits and screenings. This includes following the recommendations from primary care providers and specialists. Yearly screenings, consultations, and annual blood work are important for catching issues early in order to plan effective treatment.
It is also vital to take medications as prescribed. Make sure to tell your health care providers and pharmacies about all medications and supplements to prevent any interactions among them.
Start Now to Prevent Diseases
No matter what your age, you can start now with healthy habits to prevent, delay, and manage chronic diseases. Healthy eating, managing stress, keeping up with medical advice, and physical activity are a few steps to becoming a healthy adult.
Melissa Morris writes for the auto insurance comparison site, AutoInsurance.org. She has a master of science in exercise science, is an ACSM certified exercise physiologist, and an ISSN certified sports nutritionist.