Various reports and statistical data pertaining to the health and well-being of Indian citizens point to one common cause of concern. While we are surrounded by conveniences, owing to the rapid advancements made in technology, especially in the home appliances segment, we have also been falling into the same trap as Americans.
While the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that around 50.8 million Indians suffered from diabetes in 2018 — the highest number in the world, the organization also projected that 155 million Indians were obese, exposing them to the risk of various lifestyle-related diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, blood pressure and hypertension among others.
While we can argue about the correlation versus causation aspect, it is clearly a cause for concern. Other estimates don’t make for a pretty reading either. In 2018, it was reported that twenty five million Indians suffered from cardiovascular diseases, which accounted for 60 percent of the global stats! Furthermore, with coronary heart diseases, asthma and cancer also seeing an uptick, it has become important for us to understand about lifestyle-related diseases, their causes, and the precautions and measures to be taken to bring them under control.
What exactly are lifestyle diseases?
Lifestyle-related diseases are illnesses and diseases that are now becoming pervasive, owing to our lifestyle changes. These can be caused by environmental triggers or health-related issues, and are non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
According to the World Health Organization, there are four main triggers, which are alcohol, tobacco, poor diet, and lack of proper exercise or physical activity. It was also estimated that a staggering 61 percent of deaths in the country in 2017 could directly be attributed to lifestyle diseases!
Types and reasons for this surge in lifestyle diseases
With India being home to more than 1.3 billion people, overcrowding, and as a result, bad living conditions are seen as two of the primary reasons for lifestyle-related diseases, which directly result in an increase in stress levels.
This in turn could result in asthma, or coronary heart diseases. Furthermore, urbanization, and our increasing dependence on technology and digital channels have also resulted in more number of Indians suffering from obesity. However, these are by no means the only reasons.
The stats also revealed that every third child in our nation’s capital in 2016 had impaired lungs, with more than 35 million people suffering from chronic asthma and with the help of a health card they can get their diagnosis done easily! Furthermore, the findings also revealed that around 30 percent of all the premature deaths in India could be attributed to air pollution, which causes Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD).
Because of these factors and environmental triggers, the most common types of lifestyle diseases today include:
Poor diet leading to obesity: Indians, in their efforts to emulate their American counterparts, have also taken the bad with the good. Either because of unreasonable working hours, stressful lifestyle, or being too lazy to do any physical activity and depending on unhealthy food, more Indians are now becoming obese, with their weight reaching unhealthy limits. Obesity can lead to breathing difficulty, high blood pressure, diabetes or cardiovascular diseases among others.
Type-II diabetes: Similar to obesity, type-II diabetes is also now becoming prevalent in the country, mostly in adults who have poor eating habits. Furthermore, it was also revealed three years ago that India had the most number of people suffering from type-II diabetes, at a staggering 40.9 million!
Smoking and high cholesterol leading to heart diseases: More number of Indians are picking up the unhealthy habit of smoking, which, along with diabetes and high cholesterol can result in serious heart-related issues. India also has the most number of people that are afflicted with heart-related problems.
Mental health: For decades, there wasn’t wide-spread knowledge, or proper understanding of mental illnesses in our country. Today, more than 10 percent of the young adults who are 18 years or above suffer from mental illness. There are various triggers for mental disorders, including economic instability and poor diet, which also lead to lifestyle-related diseases.
Cancer: There are two million plus cancer patients in our country, which could’ve been caused by smoking, unhealthy diet, lack of exercise or any physical activity, or even stress. Furthermore, household chemicals and cosmetics, along with environmental exposure of toxins including air pollution are also considered as primary triggers.
While these are just some of the common reasons and types of lifestyle diseases, there are numerous other causes, resulting in high blood pressure, stroke, hormonal disorders and food allergies. It thus becomes important to protect ourselves, and our family members from lifestyle-related diseases.
While common practices like daily exercise, and refraining from smoking and consuming alcohol can help us combat these diseases to a certain extent, it also becomes imperative to opt for health insurance, or health cards. You can apply for a health card online, and obtain one with relative ease. In fact, opting for a health card, such as the Bajaj Finserv Health EMI Card goes a long way in protecting you and your family members from unforeseen situations. In the event that you get hospitalized, you can use the Health EMI Card to convert all the bills into easy EMIs, and pay them in monthly instalments, with flexible tenors of up to 24 months!