Let’s start by understanding the characteristics of chronic diseases.
- It is called lifestyle disease in Japan, so it is not acquired, it is made by itself!
- Chronic disease is not self-limiting like a cold.
- It will gradually worsen
- Chronic disease does not have a clear single cause
- Its symptoms are complex in character
The most common chronic diseases include heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and arthritis.
Chronic Disease is The Leading Cause of Death & Disability in The United States
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the world’s most complete and well-documented source of statistics on health care spending and the socioeconomic impact of chronic disease treatment.
Take a look at their official data to understand why I call chronic disease the number one killer of the 21st century.
Chronic disease accounts for 7 out of every 10 deaths in the United States, and treating chronic disease patients accounts for 86% of U.S. health care costs.
One quarter of Americans have multiple chronic diseases, defined as those requiring ongoing medical care or restricting activities of daily living for a year or more.
The proportion of Americans over the age of 65 with a chronic disease rises to 75 percent.
There are three main reasons for the dramatic increase in chronic disease: the rapid growth of the elderly population, health risk factors (such as smoking), and lack of physical activity.
As the number of chronic conditions increases, so does a person’s risk of reduced daily functioning, hospitalization, and even premature death.
The following is data from the CDC.
- By 2012, about half of all adults (117 million people) had more than one chronic condition. One quarter of U.S. adults have two or more chronic diseases.
- Seven of the top 10 causes of death in 2010 were chronic diseases. Heart disease and cancer accounted for 48% of all deaths.
- Obesity is a serious health problem. During 2009-2010, more than one-third of U.S. adults, or about 78 million people, were obese (BMI ≥ 30). one-fifth of adolescents and children ages 2 to 19 were obese.
- Arthritis is one of the most common causes of disability. Of the 53 million adults diagnosed with arthritis by physicians, more than 22 million reported that arthritis caused them considerable difficulty with daily activities.
- Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, lower extremity amputations (not caused by injury), and blindness in adults.
Health Risk Behaviors Can Be Changed
The four most important ones – physical inactivity, poor nutrition, smoking and alcohol abuse – can be controlled through self-awareness, and the chronic diseases they cause are preventable health problems.
A 2011 U.S. survey showed that more than half (52%) of adults over the age of 18 did not meet recommendations for aerobic exercise or physical activity, and 76% did not meet recommendations for muscle-strengthening physical activity.
- About half of U.S. adults (47%) have at least one major risk factor for heart disease or stroke, such as high blood pressure, excessive low-density lipoprotein (LDL) (commonly known as bad cholesterol) or a smoking habit.
- Ninety percent of Americans consume too much sodium, resulting in an increased risk of hypertension. In the 2011 survey, 36% of teens and 38% of adults said they drank juice less than once a day, while 38% of teens and 23% of adults said they ate vegetables less than once a day.
- In the 2012 survey, more than 42 million adults – nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population – had a smoking habit.
- About 38 million U.S. adults binge drink an average of four times a month, with an average of eight drinks per occasion, but most binge drinkers are not alcohol dependent.
Costs of Chronic Disease and Health Risk Behaviors in the United States
- Eighty-six percent of total health care spending in 2010 was for people with more than one chronic condition.
- The total cost of heart disease and stroke in 2010 was estimated at $315.4 billion. Of this amount, $138.4 billion was spent on direct medical care, not including the cost of home care. Cancer treatment cost $157 billion in 2010.
- The total estimated cost of diabetes in 2012 was $245 billion, including $176 billion in direct medical costs and $69 billion in productivity declines. Productivity declines include absenteeism, lower productivity at work or costs associated with being unable to work due to diabetes.
- The total cost of arthritis and related diseases in 2003 was approximately $128 billion. Of this amount, nearly $81 billion was spent on direct medical costs and $47 billion was spent on indirect costs related to lost income.
- The annual medical costs associated with obesity were estimated at $147 billion in 2008, and in 2006, the annual medical costs for the obese population were $1,429 higher than those for the normal weight population.
- The economic cost of smoking is estimated to be more than $289 billion per year for the period 2009 to 2012. This cost includes at least $133 billion in direct health care costs for adults and an estimated loss of productivity due to premature deaths of more than $156 billion between 2005 and 2009.
- In 2006, the economic cost of alcohol abuse was estimated at $223.5 billion. Most of these costs are due to lost workplace productivity, health care costs, and crimes associated with excessive drinking.
Consistent Exercise is The Answer To Chronic Disease
As mentioned earlier, chronic disease is not something you get, it’s something you make. Only by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and avoiding health risk behaviors can individuals effectively prevent chronic diseases.
The French physician Tissot said: Exercise can replace drugs, but all drugs cannot replace exercise.
Effective exercise can be effective in preventing and even treating many chronic diseases. Especially because of “insufficient exercise”, “obesity” and other factors related to chronic diseases, but also depends on the continuous effective exercise to achieve the prevention or improvement effect.
The following is a brief description of the prevention and improvement of the three most common chronic diseases for exercise.
High Blood Fat
The fats in our diet are absorbed through the intestinal tract and combined with different Apo lipoproteins under the action of enzymes in the intestine and liver to transport different components of lipoproteins to different tissues and organs of our body.
These different blood fats include triglycerides, cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL, commonly known as good cholesterol) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL, commonly known as bad cholesterol), which are often tested during physical examinations.
Exercise can increase the body’s use of fat, and in addition to improving blood fat, it can also improve many cardiovascular disease risk factors such as diabetes, hypertension or metabolic syndrome.
Exercise can increase the function of the heart and prevent blood vessel hardening and blockage, which is a good prescription for blood circulation.
Exercise prescription is the basic treatment for diabetes, and as early as 1919, scientists have proven that exercise can indeed lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. The main reason why exercise can lower blood sugar is that it can promote insulin secretion, improve insulin resistance and increase the use of insulin by skeletal muscles, and exercise can cause a significant decrease in total cholesterol, triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein in the blood, which can reduce the occurrence of complications.
Most scholars believe that the best exercise for the treatment of diabetes is “aerobic exercise”, the so-called aerobic exercise refers to moderate intensity exercise, such as, brisk walking, jogging, swimming and so on.
This kind of exercise will not be too strenuous, not too breathable during exercise, there is enough oxygen delivery to the whole body, can break down sugar for muscle use. It should be noted that fasting exercise has the risk of causing hypoglycemia and should be avoided on an empty stomach.
High Blood Pressure
An analysis of more than 20 studies published between 1980 and 1990 on the hypotensive effect of exercise found that the hypotensive effect of exercise was not dependent on weight loss, but was an independent factor that reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 5-10 mm Hg.
This means that some patients with critical hypertension and grade 1 (mild) hypertension may be effectively controlled with exercise therapy alone or with a small amount of antihypertensive medication.
What is certain is that exercise can inhibit thrombosis, dilate microvessels, reduce cholesterol, normalize blood fats, improve blood pressure and lower blood pressure. People with hypertension should be careful not to exercise too intensely, but mainly with relaxing and effective aerobic exercise.