Our health is significantly influenced by the way we live. A healthy lifestyle, physical activity and healthy diet have a positive effect on our health and help prevent illness.
Illnesses due to wrong diet
Scientists believe that more than 70% of all diseases in the western industrialized countries are nutritionally and lifestyle-induced. In particular, malnutrition, lack of exercise and overweight play a major role. But nicotine consumption and alcohol consumption also contribute to this. Many diseases are linked to lifestyle and nutrition, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus and cancer.
Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in Germany. Last year, it accounted for more than 43% of deaths. It has long been known that at least half of all cardiovascular diseases and deaths could be avoided by just making the best possible change in lifestyle. According to the study, cigarette smoking and an unfavorable ratio of certain blood lipids are the most dangerous ones. With sufficient exercise, healthy diet and non-smoking, those affected could gain additional years of life. Smoking alone shortens life with each cigarette by about 30 minutes.
It is worrying that there are many risk factors in children and adolescents, especially overweight and lack of exercise. This creates the basis for a later heart attack early on. But lifestyle changes are not very popular even in heart attack patients. In a study, a group of researchers from Dresden surveyed nearly 800 patients 6 and 12 months after a heart attack to life habits and the tablet. While the majority of patients were very conscientious about taking medication, the outcome was less positive on exercise and diet.
Diabetes mellitus (diabetes)
Approximately 6 million Germans suffer from type 2 diabetes mellitus and the rate rises by 5% every year. It is one of the most common and expensive chronic diseases. In addition to genetic predisposition and age, obesity, hypertension and lipid metabolism disorders are the most important risk factors for the development of diabetes. Unlike type 1 diabetes with absolute insulin deficiency, the pancreas produces very large amounts of insulin in type 2 diabetes at the onset of the disease. However, this is not properly recognized by the body cells, there is a reduced insulin sensitivity or insulin resistance.
Normally, insulin helps in sugar uptake into the cell. If there is insulin resistance, there is an influx of sugar (glucose) in the blood associated with elevated blood sugar levels. The insulin resistance of the body cells is promoted by overweight, poor diet and lack of exercise. In the case of type 2 diabetics, a change in diet, the reduction of obesity and regular exercise therefore come first.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Germany. In 2007, over a quarter of all died of cancer. In men, carcinomas of the digestive and respiratory organs predominate. In women, tumors of the digestive organs and the breast dominate. In cancer, the relationship between lifestyle and disease development is not as clear. According to a study by the WHO (World Health Organization), about 30 percent of cancer cases in the western countries are due to poor diet and lack of exercise.
There seems to be a link between the cancers that are most common in Germany - colon and rectal cancer and breast cancer. Obesity, lack of exercise, and low fruit and vegetable intake increase the risk of these cancers. Experts believe that, for example, the risk of colon cancer with a healthy lifestyle and diet could be reduced by about half. Other tumor types such as leukemia, lymphoma and brain tumors are likely to develop regardless of lifestyle.
Positively influence lifestyle
With a health-conscious lifestyle, many diseases can be avoided. But even with existing diseases, a lifestyle change can make a difference. On the following pages, we give you tips on how you can positively influence your lifestyle and thus contribute to many healthy years of life.