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Living longer but sicker says study

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

A new comprehensive study provides alarming statistics for Namibia and beyond.  The published research of more than 480 researchers in 50 countries shows that people may be statistically living longer but the rates of chronic disease are skyrocketing nearly everywhere. 

The last comprehensive study of this magnitude was conducted in 1990.  A comparison of these two studies provides us with the unacceptable regional and global health trends of many of the most deadly conditions.  Chronic or long-term diseases associated with personal choices have become the biggest health threats.

It may appear that we winning the war on childhood diseases but the statistics show that we are only exchanging them for another far more expensive form – chronic diseases. 

"The biggest contributor to the global health burden isn't premature (deaths), but chronic diseases, injuries, mental health conditions and all the bone and joint diseases," says researcher Christopher Murray, director of the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

Individuals have become more likely to suffer the damaging health effects of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, smoking and alcohol with living longer.  The impacts of these conditions can be greatly reduced with effective lifestyle intervention.

Heart disease top killer

The study confirms that cardiovascular diseases have cemented themselves in as the top killers once again. Some heart attacks are sudden and intense but the majority will start slowly, with only mild pain or discomfort, then progress over time.

You may be at an added heart attack risk if you find yourself shooting out of bed in the morning according to Harvard University.  They have estimated that up to 40 percent of heart attacks happen first thing in the morning.  This is often associated with sharp fluctuations in hormones that affect one’s blood pressure and can place additional stress on the heart. 

A similar study showed that up to 20 percent of heart attacks occur on Mondays than any other time during the week. Stress is once again the stated reason and is associated with hectic morning commutes and un-healthy work environments that raise blood pressure, heart rate, and adrenaline levels.

A heart disease lifestyle

What one eats has been found to impact the health of one’s heart.  Studies confirm that eating large meals that have high amounts of trans-fats, denatured saturated fats and unhealthy processed carbohydrates can constrict and clog blood vessels. 

Processed carbohydrates can be found in bread, pasta, rice and nearly everything that is made from flour and sugar products.  Sugar is a leading cause of inflammation, weight gain, type-2 diabetes and eventual heart problems. 

The most common times and situations are clearly not the problem as they are merely side effects of a far greater problem.  We cannot avoid mornings, Mondays or many of the foods that science is now showing us that cause heart attacks.

The secret is to take care of one’s body so one’s body can handle the added stress of these activities.  As we age, one’s body does not respond to stress as well and the effects of stress hormones can be more damaging. 

One can improve their response by improving lifestyle factors.  The secret is to stay well hydrated, eat lots of fiber, reduce sugar, exercise regularly and reduce stress.  These choices will prevent aging, improve the stress response and help prevent the common situations that can place you at significant risk of a heart attack or stroke. 

Dr. Cory Couillard is an international healthcare speaker and columnist for numerous newspapers, magazines, websites and publications throughout the world. He works in collaboration with the World Health Organization's goals of disease prevention and global healthcare education. Views do not necessarily reflect endorsement.

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Twitter: DrCoryCouillard

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