Mankind has become a victim of sufficiency. We learned to control birth rates and infections and increased life expectancy. We don’t have to toil on fields in order to get food on the table. Labor-saving technologies save us lots of time and energy we can spend on things we love. Life is great apart from the negative impacts these civilizational benefits have on our health.
In the 21st century, we can see a rise of chronic diseases that have to do with our passive and rich-in-pleasures lifestyle such as diabetes, cardiovascular and obstructive pulmonary diseases, some cancers, and obesity. Chronic diseases – not acute illnesses (as it was a century ago) – are the main causes of disability and deaths in the USA today.
While millions of Americans are dying slowly from chronic conditions, we should raise awareness about the dangers as most of these diseases can be successfully addressed if diagnosed early. Health care providers should encourage regular comprehensive health assessments through all possible means including mass media campaigns and websites (a doctor template helps create one in a blink).
Risk factors of civilization diseases in the 21st century
- Excessive alcohol and tobacco consumption
- High pressure
- Unhealthy diets
- Physical inactivity
Half of the adult Americans (50.9%) have at least one chronic disease while 26% suffer from more than 2 chronic conditions. According to the report by the Institute of Medicine, the USA continues to outpace its 16 peer countries in tempos of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, disability, and chronic lung disease. Eliminating risk factors help prevent chronic conditions and enjoy a longer, healthier life.
Although the cigarette smoking rate in the USA has declined since 2005 by 7%, 14% of adults still retained the habit in 2017. Smokers are 6 times more likely to develop emphysema and are more prone to vascular/heart diseases than non-smokers.
While a low dose of alcohol is said to be safe and even beneficial for our health, moderate and high alcohol consumption can cause cirrhosis, epilepsy, cardiovascular disease, and cancers. Once alcohol enters the blood flow, it impacts the entire body damaging our brain, immune system, heart, pancreas, and liver. Unlike cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption doesn’t have a tendency to decline, rather the opposite. And unlike smoking, alcohol abuse is highly detrimental in a social sphere as it leads to legal problems and puts personal growth and relationships at risk.
Obesity and diabetes type 2 are called the twin epidemics of the 21 century. The rates of the obesity caused by high consumption of foods rich in carbs, sugars, and fats (“empty calories”) are constantly rising. More than 35.7% of the adult population in the USA is obese. Overweight people are at highest risk of developing diabetes type 2, which can go undiagnosed for years. Regular weight and blood pressure assessments as well as a qualified help of dieticians help to get back to optimal weight range, prevent diabetes type 2, and ensure and longer, happier life.
In the digital era, most jobs don’t require physical exertion. Our daily commute no longer requires walking for miles. Leisure activities also become increasingly inactive. Most of us prefer binge-watching TV shows to exhausting hikes in woods and mountains (or at least a stroll around the block). All this in total results in more than 10 inactive hours per day. Such a passive lifestyle makes us more prone to such health issues as diabetes, high levels of cholesterol, heart disease, and overall sluggishness. At least half an hour of physical activity a day can not only repulse the above-mentioned diseases, but also alleviate anxiety, cope with stress, and boost self-esteem.
The 21st century has lots of exciting things to enjoy without putting your health at risk. Chronic conditions can be easily removed from our life making room for great events – through personal responsibility and early diagnostics.