How to reduce Your Risk of Chronic Diseases

It is always sad to hear that someone just dropped dead right in the middle of his/her activities. It sounds surreal but this happens every day in Nigeria and only those who witness it can tell you how shaken they are by such happenings. I heard about one sad incident yesterday so I decided to sound the alarm.

These deaths may happen suddenly but the signals probably have been there squirming silently or screaming loudly. Research has shown us that 26% of all deaths in Nigeria are caused by chronic diseases such as Heart diseases, type 2 Diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, stroke and cancer with heart diseases taking the lead in this category.

Many of these diseases can be prevented or the risk reduced through healthy diets, regular physical activity and avoiding tobacco smoke.

If you are too busy working to take care of your health (thinking that you can depend on drugs),   remember that you will save and make more money when you are healthy. According to the World Health Organization, if we reduce deaths (by just 2%) from such chronic diseases yearly, Nigeria can gain about 500 million dollars economically over the next 10 years.

What are some of the things that you need to focus on?

  1. Eating Healthy foods and Engaging in Physical Activity

People who are obese are more likely to have hypertension, heart diseases, diabetes and cancer. It is not a curse, it is what research has shown over time. To get rid of this excess weight, you need to eat a healthy diet (that can afford you to lose weight) as well as increase your physical activity.

Also, studies of populations where people live longer like in Japan, Hong kong show that eating lots of fruits and vegetables daily, fish (especially fatty fish) at least 2-3 times a week, reducing intake of sugar/sugar-added products, cutting back on processed food products, eliminating trans-fats from foods and reducing saturated fats can go a long way to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.

If you do not fall into the overweight category, it would serve you well to still heed the call to eat healthy foods and engage in physical activity every day.

  1. Avoid Smoking or Using Tobacco Products

You may not be in the habit of holding a cigarette or cigar, but if you stay in environments polluted by the smoke and its products, you are also endangering yourself. Say No to tobacco and ensure that your environments are tobacco -safe. Smoking, like obesity, is a risk factor for all these diseases.

Apart from tobacco smoking, also watch out for polluted environments

  1. Limiting Your Alcohol Intake

Alcohol puts people at risk of having diabetes, cancer, and hypertension. Research also shows this. Excessive alcohol intake is taking 8-15 drinks of alcohol in a week but studies have shown that even consuming 1 alcoholic drink per day has its risks. Also, don’t say wine is better than beer. It’s the about the amount of alcohol in each glass that matters and not the volume of the drink. About 350mls of beer (less than one sachet of pure water) can have more alcohol content than 140mls of wine.  So, put your health over your desire to make alcohol a part of your lifestyle.


In a Nutshell

I recognize that the government has a huge role to play in creating an enabling environment for you to be healthy, but remember that you are mostly responsible for your health and life. Don’t be part of the death (or ill-health) statistics. You need to do what you can to eat better and live better.

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