Chronic illness is one of the major causes of death and disability all over the world. While the epicenter of chronic illness lies in poor and developing countries, it is by no means a small issue in countries like the US as well. In fact, it continues to be a major cause of death in the US.
Despite being such a widespread problem, preventing chronic illness is not as difficult as most may think. There are certain risk factors and lifestyle changes that can help identify if a person is likely to become a chronic patient. These are some of the common risk factors that generally lead to one or more forms of chronic illnesses. Avoiding them can certainly help you stay healthier.

1. Lack of physical activity

Lack of physical activity and exercise is one of the major risk factors that eventually lead to chronic illness. It is the major cause of chronic illness in the developed world. A large number of corporate employees work on computers and laptops and do not move much during their work hours. As a result, their physical activity is minimal. If your lifestyle does not include physical activity, you are highly vulnerable to chronic illness.

2. Excessive smoking

Smoking is injurious to health. But, excessive smoking is deadly. In studies conducted by the World Health Organization, they found excessive smoking to be one of the prime reasons for chronic illness in the developing world. Compared to nonsmokers, people who are regular smokers are much more likely to be diagnosed with a chronic illness. In most cases, smoking leads to heart and lung diseases and results in severe breathing problems. If you’re already an excessive smoker, it is best to consult a specialist to end this habit.

3. Excessive alcohol

Another prime reason for chronic illness, especially in the developed world, is excessive use of alcohol. If alcohol consumption is a part of your daily routines, you’re highly susceptible to several kinds of chronic illness. In cases where alcohol becomes an addiction, the chances of chronic illnesses are even higher. The best way to control your alcohol consumption is to consult a specialist who can help you get rid of this addiction.

4. Continuous mental stress

If your life is full of mental pressures and you go through continuous stress, you are likely to become a chronic patient. Mental stress and depression are two of the most common and obvious risk factors before a chronic illness. Try consulting a psychiatrist to control your stress levels, identify the reasons for stress in your life, and try to minimize their impact.

5. Poor and irregular diet

Unfortunately, more than half of the world’s population lives on less than $2 a day. Millions do not have access to clean water and healthy food. As a result, poor and irregular diet is one of the biggest reasons for chronic illnesses in the developing world. But this does not mean people in developed countries are completely safe from chronic illness. Those who do not have a proper eating schedule or those who consume high fat diets regularly are equally vulnerable to chronic diseases. So it’s important that you have a regular diet, at scheduled times, that includes a combination of meat, vegetables, fruits, and dairy products.

6. Excessive exposure to sunlight

If a large portion of your day is spent under direct sunlight, you are at risk for several chronic illnesses. Studies have found a direct link between several forms of cancer and continuous sunlight exposure.

7. Being overweight

An overwhelming number of Americans are overweight, a key factor behind different types of chronic diseases. You don’t become overweight overnight. It happens because of a lifestyle with minimal physical activity and an irregular diet, risks that we have already discussed. If you’re already overweight, you’re at a seve risk of becoming a chronic patient. It’s best to consult a doctor and follow a weight loss plan.

For more on RA risk factors:

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