More than just finding a few gray hairs on your head and seeing wrinkles on your face, the signs of aging also include a weaker immune system. Thus, bad habits like smoking, drinking alcohol, and eating unhealthy foods will have more negative effects as you age. If you don’t make any changes, it will be more difficult to prevent or even manage the symptoms of conditions like hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease. That’s why you should start making better lifestyle choices today, so you can control and avoid the following diseases:
Hypertension, or altapresyon as it’s commonly called in Tagalog, occurs when your blood pressure is higher than the normal 120/80. There are several reasons why this happens, but some of the most common include a high-salt diet, not getting enough exercise, and poor stress management. People with high blood pressure often experience blurry or double vision, headaches, difficulty breathing, and heart palpitations.
If hypertension isn’t managed properly, it can damage your arteries and lead to heart attack or heart failure. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help lower your blood pressure levels. Aside from eating a healthier diet, you can also start a regular exercise routine and keep a healthy weight.
Type 2 Diabetes
There are three types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes. Type 2 is the most common, affecting about 90% of people who have diabetes. People who have type 2 diabetes can’t produce or use insulin well. Insulin is the hormone responsible for helping sugar to enter the body’s cells, so it can be used for energy. If the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, the body will have a difficult time breaking down glucose and there will be too much sugar in the bloodstream. This could cause life-threatening complications such as kidney disease, diabetic retinopathy, diabetic neuropathy, and macrovascular problems.
There are a lot of risk factors for type 2 diabetes, which include being overweight, lack of physical activity, and old age. That said, type 2 diabetes can be prevented, delayed, or controlled when you switch to a healthier diet, get more exercise, and keep your weight under control. If you’ve already been diagnosed, make sure to take your diabetes medication conscientiously.
Obesity is a complex disease that affects both children and adults. It is caused by a variety of factors that can stem from a person’s environment, lifestyle, and genetics. People who are considered obese weigh more than what is considered healthy for their height. If an obese person’s weight isn’t controlled, they’re more likely to develop or experience the following health conditions:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Sleep apnea
- Difficulty moving and breathing
According to the World Health Organization, at least 2.8 million people die each year due to being overweight or obese. If you’re obese or borderline obese, you can get back to a healthy weight by eating the right foods, getting more physical activity, and getting enough sleep.
There are various conditions that affect the heart, like arrhythmias, coronary artery disease, and heart valve disease. All of these are considered to be heart diseases. The symptoms of heart disease will depend on the type of heart condition, but some of the most common include:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
Making healthy lifestyle changes can greatly reduce your risk for heart disease. Aside from choosing a healthier diet, giving up smoking and drinking alcohol can help you avoid developing cardiovascular diseases.
Chronic Respiratory Disease
The term “chronic respiratory disease” refers to any condition that affects the airways and structures of the lungs, causing airflow blockage and breathing-related problems. There are many things that can contribute to respiratory disease, such as air pollution and allergens. However, heavy smokers are more at risk because smoking quickly damages the lungs.
Symptoms of respiratory disease can range from a lingering cough and wheezing, to chest tightness and frequent respiratory infections. Some of the most common chronic respiratory diseases include asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD, cystic fibrosis, and lung cancer.
Giving up smoking is one of the best ways to lower your chances of getting chronic respiratory. Avoiding tobacco smoke and air pollutants (both indoor and outdoor) can also help. People who have asthma and other respiratory conditions, meanwhile, can manage their symptoms by taking their medications as prescribed.
Certain Types of Cancers
Cancer occurs when some of the body’s cells grow uncontrollably. They’re abnormal cells that disrupt the cellular destruction and renewal process, causing excess cells to form tumorous growths. Cancerous cells can also interfere with and impair your organs’ functions. If left untreated, cancer can spread to healthy tissues and organs, which may lead to complications and even death.
The good thing is that maintaining a healthy weight, eating the right foods, and giving up vices (e.g., smoking and drinking alcohol) can lower your risk of developing the following types of cancers:
- Breast cancer
- Lung cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Colon cancer
- Kidney cancer
Getting old can be a scary thought since old age makes you more susceptible to developing illnesses and diseases. However, by making healthier lifestyle choices, you can boost your immune system and lower your risks of developing the diseases mentioned above.