Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are indeed increasing globally. In 2021, The NCDs is only responsible for 74% of all deaths according to the World Health Organization (WHO). It is also known as lifestyle diseases. Lifestyle diseases are typically associated with unhealthy lifestyle choices such as poor diet, lack of physical activity, tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption, and chronic stress. It lasts many years, becomes chronic and can not be cured.
These diseases include conditions like Parkinson’s disease, Autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, inflammatory conditions (like Arthritis), obesity, and respiratory diseases (like asthma, allergies and sinusitis). The core cause of lifestyle diseases can be attributed to a combination of unhealthy lifestyle choices and environmental factors.
Here are some key factors that contribute to the development of lifestyle diseases:
- Sedentary lifestyles: Modern lifestyles often involve prolonged sitting, whether due to desk jobs, excessive screen time, or lack of physical activity. Insufficient exercise and sedentary behavior contribute to weight gain, muscle weakness, and increased risk of chronic diseases.
- Unhealthy diets: The consumption of processed and convenience foods high in salt, sugar, unhealthy fats, and artificial additives has become more prevalent. This shift away from whole, nutritious foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, contributes to poor nutrition and increased risk of lifestyle diseases.
- Obesity epidemic: The global rise in obesity rates is a significant contributor to the increase in lifestyle diseases. Obesity is linked to numerous health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer.
- Tobacco and alcohol use: Smoking tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption significantly increase the risk of various lifestyle diseases, including lung cancer, cardiovascular diseases, liver disease, and certain types of cancer.
- Chronic stress: High levels of chronic stress, often associated with demanding work environments, financial pressures, or personal challenges, can lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as overeating, excessive alcohol consumption, or neglecting physical activity. Chronic stress contributes to the development of lifestyle diseases.
- Environmental factors: The environment in which we live can also influence the development of lifestyle diseases. Factors such as access to healthy food options, availability of safe recreational spaces, air pollution, and exposure to harmful substances can impact an individual’s ability to make healthy lifestyle choices.
It is important to note that individual choices and environmental factors are interconnected. For example, an individual’s access to healthy food options or safe spaces for physical activity can be influenced by societal and environmental factors.
By focusing on improving nutrition, promoting physical activity, reducing tobacco and alcohol use, managing stress, and creating healthy environments, we can mitigate the risk factors associated with lifestyle diseases and improve population health. That is coming under Selfcare.
Self-care refers to actions and practices that individuals engage in to promote their overall well-being, improve their physical and mental health, and manage stress.
Here are some reasons why self-care is important, and helping us to fight against NCDs.
- Physical and mental health: Taking care of your body through proper nutrition, exercise, and rest helps prevent illness, boosts energy levels, and improves overall physical well-being. Similarly, practicing self-care for your mental health, such as managing stress, seeking support, and engaging in relaxation techniques, contributes to improved mental clarity, emotional stability, and resilience.
- Stress reduction: In our fast-paced and demanding world, stress has become a common experience for many individuals. Engaging in self-care activities, whether it’s taking breaks, practicing continuous consciousness, or engaging in hobbies, allows you to unwind, recharge, and manage stress more effectively.
- Improved productivity and focus: When you prioritize self-care, you enhance your ability to focus and be productive. Taking breaks, getting enough sleep, and engaging in activities that bring you joy and relaxation can increase your energy levels, mental clarity, and concentration. As a result, you can approach tasks with renewed motivation and efficiency.
- Enhanced self-esteem and self-worth: When you make self-care a priority, you develop a healthier relationship with yourself, fostering self-esteem, self-worth, and self-compassion.
- Prevention of burnout: Neglecting self-care increases the risk of burnout. Continuous stress, overwork, and neglecting personal needs can lead to physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion. Prioritizing self-care helps prevent burnout by providing opportunities for rest, rejuvenation, and self-reflection.
- Better relationships: When you take care of your own well-being, you are better equipped to nurture and maintain healthy relationships with others. Self-care allows you to recharge, set boundaries, communicate effectively, and show up fully in your interactions, leading to more fulfilling and balanced relationships.
- Role modeling and influence: Prioritizing self-care sets a positive example for others, whether it’s your family, friends, or colleagues. By demonstrating the importance of self-care, you encourage and inspire those around you to prioritize their well-being as well.
In summary, self-care is essential for maintaining physical and mental health, managing stress, enhancing productivity, fostering self-esteem, preventing burnout, improving relationships, and setting a positive example for others. By making self-care a priority, you invest in your own well-being and create a foundation for a happier and healthier life. Remember that self-care is a personal journey, and what works for one person may not work for another. Most importantly,self-care is an ongoing part of your life.
How can Ayurveda help you to maintain your holistic health via self-care?
Ayurveda, the traditional system of medicine originating in India, offers principles and practices that can support self-care and overall well-being. Ayurveda emphasizes a holistic approach to health, focusing on balancing the mind, body, and spirit. Here are some ways Ayurveda can help in maintaining self-care:
- Understanding your unique constitution: Ayurveda recognizes that each individual has a unique mind-body constitution known as doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha). By understanding your dominant dosha, you can tailor your self-care practices to maintain balance and harmony. Ayurvedic Practitioners can help you determine your dosha and suggest lifestyle adjustments accordingly.
- Lifestyle recommendations: Ayurveda provides guidelines for daily routines (dinacharya) and seasonal routines (ritucharya) to support well-being. These routines include practices such as waking up early, tongue scraping, oil pulling, meditation, exercise, and maintaining a regular sleep schedule. Following these recommendations can enhance vitality, improve digestion, promote better sleep, and boost overall energy levels.
- Balanced diet: Ayurveda emphasizes the importance of a balanced and individualized diet to support optimal health. It considers not only the nutritional value of foods but also their taste, energetic properties, and compatibility with your dosha. Ayurvedic dietary guidelines promote fresh, whole foods, mindful eating, and an emphasis on digestive health.
- Herbal remedies: Ayurveda utilizes a wide range of herbs and herbal formulations to support various aspects of health and well-being. These herbal remedies can aid in digestion, boost immunity, reduce stress, promote relaxation, and address specific imbalances. However, it’s essential to consult an Ayurvedic practitioner or herbalist for personalized guidance and recommendations.
- Ayurvedic body therapies: Ayurveda offers various therapeutic treatments, such as Abhyanga (oil massage), Shirodhara (pouring warm oil on the forehead), Panchakarma (detoxification therapies), and herbal steam therapies. These treatments can help relax the body, reduce stress, eliminate toxins, and restore balance.
- Mind-body practices: Ayurveda recognizes the mind-body connection and the influence of mental well-being on physical health. Practices like yoga, pranayama (breathing exercises), and meditation are considered integral to Ayurvedic self-care. These practices promote relaxation, reduce stress, enhance mental clarity, and foster a sense of inner balance.
- Stress management: Ayurveda provides specific recommendations for managing stress and maintaining emotional balance. Techniques such as self-reflection, positive affirmations and Ayurvedic herbal formulations can help reduce stress levels and promote emotional well-being.
“Prevention is better than cure” so as for prevention of NCDs one should try Ayurvedic self care. It’s important to note that Ayurveda should be practiced under the guidance of a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner. They can provide personalized recommendations based on your unique needs and constitutional type. Integrating Ayurvedic principles into your self-care routine can help you maintain balance, promote overall health, and support your well-being on multiple levels.
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Every person is unique, and what works for one individual may not work for another. It’s essential to consider personal health history, medical conditions, allergies, and individual needs when implementing self-care practices. If you have specific health concerns or questions, it’s always best to seek guidance from a healthcare professional who can provide tailored advice based on your situation. Additionally, while Ayurveda is a well-established traditional system of medicine, it’s important to consult with an experienced Ayurvedic practitioner or healthcare professional before incorporating Ayurvedic practices or herbal remedies into your self-care routine. They can help assess your specific needs and provide appropriate guidance. Remember to listen to your body, be mindful of any discomfort or adverse reactions, and adjust your self-care practices accordingly. Prioritize your safety and well-being above all else.