The risk factors of the most serious diseases

The risk factors of the most serious diseases

An old ad said that “prevention is better than cure”. But how important is prevention really? What are the risk factors for the most common diseases, among the serious ones, that can worsen your condition or increase the chances of you getting sick?

Prevention is better than cure for various reasons, not least the total cost to the national health system. By freeing up resources, a healthier population in the present ensures the future of the next generations.

But for those who think about their own business every day (and God forbid!) this civic thinking is less important. Instead, from a personal point of view, you can do a lot for yourself by working on risk factors .

In my courses as Enhance Health I start from this principle: once you eliminate the behavioral, physiological, environmental risk factors, you play with genetics.

You may have been less fortunate to be born in a disadvantaged place from a health point of view (for example, in the US, lack of insurance coverage exposes the weaker population groups to exorbitant costs for treatments that they are routine here) or have a genetic predisposition .

But on average, a lot depends on what you do, what you don’t do, what you eat or don’t eat and the level of information you can access to better target your health.

To ensure a life of well-being, you need to reduce the incidence rate of two types of diseases:

  1. Serious ones such as cardiovascular diseases, tumors and neurodegenerative diseases.
  2. The chronic ones that you can carry around all your life and lower the quality of your life.

Behavioral risk factors

If you have been following me for some time, you will know that I consider behavioral risk factors to be important for quality of life .

Of course, from time to time in the newspapers and on the web there are stories about ultra-long-lived people who have lived a hundred and more years smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, but they are – precisely – exceptions (mostly due to the environmental).

In fact, factors like these have a major impact on your health:

Behavioral factors are linked to serious diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, stroke, colon cancer , lung cancer, oral cancer, cervical cancer and chronic conditions debilitating such as asthma, type 2 diabetes , rheumatoid arthritis, depression, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic kidney disease, osteoporosis.

We must not forget diseases of the elderly and neurodegenerative diseases , which can be delayed or alleviated with prevention.

In particular: smoking, alcohol and an unregulated diet are the basis of the main conditions listed above.

Physiological risk factors

Often these are due to the lifestyle and wrong behaviors I listed above, but there may also be a genetic or environmental factor at play. In any case, they are those classic factors that in everyday life we ​​call values, referring to the analyzes and tests carried out.

The demographic aspect also plays a decisive role on these factors: age, gender and standard of living.

Environmental factors

Modern life is made up of complicated and hectic microhabitats. At home and at work, automation has replaced manual skills, but it has not eliminated the risk. Indeed, in some cases it has increased, it also depends on what you are doing and where you are.

Genetic risk factors

These factors, with the advancement of scientific advances, have become increasingly clear and seem to play a role in what are called provisions .

They may relate to a predisposition for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Huntington’s disease.

In these diseases the phenotype of memory loss, cognitive decline, fatigue, muscle stiffness and tremors is linked to a genetic cause.

To conclude

The incidence of genetic factors is low: these are real mutations that affect some individuals. Medicine is making great strides in identifying them and proposing treatments, thus enhancing the preventive phase to delay the effects or alleviate the symptoms of debilitating diseases that reduce life expectancy.

Having said that, you can do a lot instead with regard to behavioral risk factors, which instead concern the mass of people who have health problems and who often do not realize what it means and what value prevention.

Nor should you underestimate the fact that often your dissatisfaction, the inability to change your life depends on erroneous behaviors, repeated over time, which increase the incidence of risk factors .

Often, behind the letting go (a concept that implies abandonment both from a physical and a psychological point of view) there is a sum of bad habits that have affected the risk factors , making life less healthy and less pleasant.


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