Lifestyle diseases, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, can often be managed and controlled through lifestyle changes and medical treatment.
Lifestyle changes that can help include:
- Healthy eating: adopting a balanced diet, reducing intake of processed and sugary foods, and increasing consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Regular physical activity: Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.
- Weight management: achieving and maintaining a healthy weight through healthy eating and regular physical activity.
- Stress reduction: using relaxation techniques, such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises.
- Avoiding harmful habits: quitting smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, and avoiding drug abuse.
Medical treatment may also be necessary in some cases, such as medications for high blood pressure, cholesterol, or diabetes.
Obesity is a complex interplay of genetics, environment, and other factors. The magnitude of this disorder’s impact on health can be understood when we realize that obesity impacts 236 diseases, of which 13 are cancers. (Obesity Medicine Association). We know that obesity management has three key components – lifestyle modification, nutrition, and exercise. Medication, too, is recommended in some cases.
I would rate behavior change at the top of the list of solutions. Motivation helps to improve physical activity levels and quality.
Through behavioral interventions, changes in diet and physical activity can be affected. These assist in weight loss, which in turn leads to improvements in health parameters.
According to the non-profit Obesity Action Coalition organization based out of the US, the following are the critical components of a behavior change strategy:
1. Setting up realistic goals and self-monitoring mechanisms
2. Increasing physical activity
3. Teaching the body and understanding how to nourish behavior change.
4. Engaging in a support group
Conventional treatment of diabetes, broadly speaking, is composed of the following:
1. Diet modification
Type 2 diabetes is another lifestyle disease. A healthy lifestyle, physical activity, and dietary goals that reduce calorie intake can help improve diabetes risk. Some vital recommendations for older adults with diabetes are moderate leisure-time activity and walking, higher intake of dietary fiber, and consumption of a low-fat diet, especially trans fats and easily digestible carbohydrates, cutting down on smoking and reducing central obesity. (Mozaffarian et al., 2009). As the disease progresses, there is a risk of severe short and long-term complications. Blindness, amputations, stroke, cognitive decline, decreased quality of life, and premature death can occur. (Ducat et al., 2014; Kruse et al., 2003; Lin et al., 2008)
The realization that diabetes is a lifestyle disease goes back to the time of Ayurveda. Diabetes, according to Ayurveda, is inherited or acquired by bad lifestyle habits that people learn later in life. They believed that an imbalance in the three doshas, which in Greek medicine would be comparable to ‘humors,’ causes a disease to express itself in the body. A disbalance can bring about metabolic changes in fat and muscle. Imbalances lead to diabetes. Blockages in the urinary system, according to Ayurveda, cause diabetes. Weak urine evacuation makes the patient feel the urge for frequent urination.
Treatment protocols in Ayurveda vary according to patients’ constitution and physical condition. Radical detoxification is the recommendation for individuals who are obese but healthy patients. For the frail and lean milder detoxification procedures are suggested. Other recommendations in Ayurveda include cleansing and detoxification, herbal medicines, and a strict diet.
Both obesity and diabetes are vast subjects; this, at best, is an overview.
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