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Eating right and exercising can help in disease prevention

Community Times

Keeping track of your health is important for lots of reasons, with one of the most important being disease prevention. Poor diet, not exercising regularly and lacking enjoyment in life can all lead to serious chronic disease if a significant change isn't made early enough. First and foremost, discuss your risks for disease and current health status with a medical professional before worrying too much. Signs and symptoms are not always clear or definitive for a particular issue, so it's always good to get checked out.

Something else to remember is heredity. If a certain disease runs in your family, then your doctor should know about it, and you both should keep an eye out for any signs or symptoms of it. I started my own journey in living a healthier lifestyle when too many people within my family were diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. I'd like to keep my chances of diagnosis slim, and you can, too.

The following is a list of common diseases and issues typically caused by unhealthy habits and how to prevent them. It's important to know what's happening in our bodies, good and bad, so try to take the time to be aware.

Type 2 diabetes. This is a chronic disease that occurs when the body can no longer properly process blood sugar or disperse insulin. A couple of the most common causes of this disease are poor eating habits and living a sedentary lifestyle. If we consume all this sugar and these processed foods on a regular basis without a care in the world, our bodies will eventually not know what to do with it all. There is no cure for diabetes, either, so it is best to prevent it from beginning in the first place. Avoid overloading on carbs and sugar and get active.

Heart disease. This is a serious disease in which plaque — otherwise known as LDL cholesterol — builds up or even blocks blood vessels, leading to even worse issues or potentially significant loss in heart function. A buildup of bad cholesterol is preventable by eating foods low in the bad, and higher in the good. Be careful of greasy and fried foods, too. Just be mindful of what you are putting into your body and think about how it affects your insides. In addition to eating better foods, regular physical activity is important, as it can actually increase proper blood flow and improve heart function. Our bodies are complex systems that need to be well taken care of in order to properly do their job.

Hypertension. This issue is all about high blood pressure. The prevalence is widespread; however, a lot of health factors can attribute to the development of high blood pressure. Smoking, poor diet, lack of exercise, excess weight and more can all play a role in hypertension, so be aware of what you do — or don't do — to your body every day.

Stroke. This pertains to brain damage caused by lack of blood supply. Our brains are the masterminds of our bodies, literally, so we definitely need to take care of them. Once again, much comes down to eating healthier foods and exercising regularly.

Obesity. This pertains to people whose BMI is at or higher than 30. In this case, I'm not talking about athletes with 8 percent body fat who happen to have a BMI in the obese range. I'm talking about people who have higher percentages in body fat and need to focus on burning the fat and building more lean muscle. Most people do not realize just how serious obesity can be or don't even think of it as a disease. The thing is obesity affects people in more ways than they realize and can lead to a lot of other health issues. Excess weight can cause heart issues, diabetes, respiratory problems, mental health issues and more. Take control of your body and know that weight is just a number. The overall goal should be healthfulness.

The thing to remember about a lot of these health issues is that they are chronic, so they will never just go away or be cured. They often require regular medication, appointments, strict diets and lots of monitoring; if not caught early enough they could lead to hospital visits or even death. Another thing to remember is that they may be preventable. Health is not a joke and should not be taken lightly. If we don't monitor our health and pay attention to our bodies and what we do to them, we could face some dangerous consequences. Take control of your life and your body and do what is right and healthy for it now.

Amanda is a graduate from Stevenson University and can be reached at

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