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What is the risk of ignoring diabetes & hypertension?

It’s no more a surprise if someone comes up to us and shares a personal story of a chronic, unsolvable disease that stood square in his/her way. Yet, we tend to ignore and underestimate them and continue to lead an unhealthy life. The reason - we simply prefer not to face things that we presume we cannot fix because it shows our limits.

Most of the chronic diseases won’t have any symptoms!

Chronic disease affects each one of us in one-way or the other. With one of the biggest threats to public health today, the rising burden of chronic diseases affects men and women almost equally, especially the younger generation.

At least 80% of all heart disease, stroke and diabetes cases, and 40 per cent of all cancers, are preventable according to World Health Organization (WHO) estimate. There is compelling evidence to show that many chronic diseases share common causes.

Unfortunately, most of the chronic diseases won’t have any symptoms, and for years one would carry them without knowing until an acute episode pops up that would land them in an emergency care situation.

It will never beat you unless you let it!

Unless you are overwhelmed by a struggling family member or a friend, it is hard for you to empathize the difficulties that one would confront with it. In reality, these conditions can be challenged and overcome all by ourselves.

Whether you are healthy, at risk, symptomatic or with established chronic diseases, all that is required is a collective effort and sense of shared responsibility to change—having people close to you to help you realize and inspire you to make the important adjustments in your life can make a huge difference.

Both diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure) are major risk factors for coronary artery disease, heart failure, and cerebrovascular disease.

Diabetes is a chronic disease and it can strike anyone from any walk of life; it afflicts approximately 380 million people worldwide.

Diabetes is a dangerous medical condition that can affect our entire body!

On the other hand, hypertension or high blood pressure is often referred to as silent killer. You cannot actually feel when your blood pressure is too high. Per World Health Organization (WHO) estimate, it is the single biggest risk factor for deaths worldwide. Nearly, seven million people die every year from this and 1.5 billion people suffer from its complications.

Management of hypertension can become more effective when friends and family get involved in care and extend motivational support to the afflicted. Keeping a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet, engaging in regular physical activity, saying no to smoking, reducing stress levels, and taking medications on time are all part of effective management.

Maladies of unhealthy lifestyle!

There are certain risk factors that raise your chances of heart disease, diabetes, or a stroke.

High blood sugar, high blood pressure, large waistline, low HDL, and high triglycerides – all these conditions are self-inflicted maladies of unhealthy lifestyle. According to the American Heart Association, you will be suffering from metabolic syndrome if you have any 3 of these risk factors. These are early warning signs for you to develop heart disease and diabetes.

Okay, how do you sort this out? 

Self awareness is the key to allow yourself to cope with these situations. Consider motivating yourself to implement 3 modifications to your lifestyle, and you could make an incredible impact!

1)  Follow healthy food habits: One good way to start off is by limiting your portion sizes and trying to eat less during your meal. Using a smaller plate or bowl could do the trick. 

Consuming more of fresh fruits and vegetables can definitely help prevent heart disease and lower your blood pressure. You can also lower your risk of diabetes by adding whole grains (like oatmeal, whole wheat bread, or brown rice), beans, and other fibre-rich foods to your diet.

2)  Fit more activity into your daily schedule: Figure out possible ways to be more active in your regular day; it does help lower your blood pressure, triglycerides, and blood sugar. Probably, you could use a pedometer to see the number of steps you take on a given day. Find all possible opportunities where you can get more steps in. Gradually, set a personal goal of getting 30 to 60 minutes of moderate physical activity per day.

3)  Kick the butt: If you smoke, your risk of heart attack goes up by 2 to 6 times. Quitting really lowers your risk of heart disease, a heart attack, and diabetes. Also, it improves your ability to taste and smell. It’s no brainer – just give it up. 

So, examine your lifestyle and address one unhealthy practice starting this week.

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