World Health Day 2022: How Can Environment Affect Our Health? Here Are Expert Tips To Deal With It

Today is World health day 2022, so on the special occasion, we spoke to experts about the environment's effect on our overall health and wellness. 

Navya Kharbanda
Written by: Navya KharbandaPublished at: Apr 07, 2022Updated at: Apr 07, 2022
World Health Day 2022: How Can Environment Affect Our Health? Here Are Expert Tips To Deal With It

The world is progressing towards a chronic disease pandemic. More and more people today suffer from one or more chronic illnesses. Heart disease, Stroke, Cancer, Diabetes and Chronic lung disease account for the major burden of chronic diseases. The primary cause of these diseases includes physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, alcohol consumption and tobacco use. We all know ‘Prevention is better than Cure’- so it is important to inculcate healthy lifestyle habits early in life to prevent developing chronic diseases. However, there are also some unavoidable environmantal factors that can affect our health.

World Health Day is marked each year on April 7 to make people aware about a specific health matter of concern around the globe. The theme for World Health Day 2022 is 'Our planet, Our health'. In addition, Onlymyhealth has started a 'Focus of the month' campaign, in which we will be highlighting stories with insights from a number of experts on various topics every month. And, this month's focus is 'Healthy Living'. So, the editorial team spoke to two experts, Dr. Shimi Sundharan, MD. (Biochemistry), Head- Research & Development and Academics cell, and Dr. Srikanth H.S, Senior Naturopath, Jindal Naturecure Institute, to know about the impact of environmental factors on overall health and wellness, and some ways to cope up from it. 

How does the environment cause chronic diseases?

Our planet is our home, the place that sustains us but are we living in harmony with nature? From rising carbon emissions to deforestation and land degradation, anthropogenic activities are creating detrimental effects on our ecosystems and environmental biodiversity. The negative trends in biodiversity and ecosystem conservation, indicate that we need to do a lot more.

Also read: Know The Impact of Air Pollution On Human Health And Environment

Now, for someone who already has a chronic disease it is important to control them and to learn to live with them. Managing chronic conditions is a major challenge for healthcare systems around the world. Patients with Chronic diseases develop various non-specific symptoms like pain, fatigue, disturbed sleep and mood disorders along with symptoms specific to their illness. These nonspecific symptoms over a time leads to stress and precipitate frustration, anger, hopelessness, and, at times, depression. It is therefore essential to treat chronic disease in a multipronged fashion–patient education, managing symptoms with medical treatment, regular follow ups for disease monitoring, diagnostic screening for any complications, medicines to slow down disease progression, dietary management, de stressing techniques like meditation, physical activity and regular blood tests to track disease control.

Ways to cope up from environment's effect on health

Some healthy lifestyle choices to implement include:

1. Regular exercise

Exercise helps release endorphins - feel good hormone. Regular physical activity helps achieve ideal body weight and prevents cardiovascular risk.

2. Healthy balanced diet

To include more vegetables and fruits in meal as they are rich in vitamins and fibres, avoid sugar and processed foods, drink plenty of water and choose healthier fats.

3. Good sleep routine

The quality of sleep is more important than the quantity of sleep. On an average around 8 hours of peaceful sleep is required by the body.

4. Reduce stress

Stress is a part of everyone’s life but it is important to learn to tackle it. meditation, listening to music, reading books, following hobbies, playing sports help manage stress levels.

5. Quit smoking

Smoking is responsible for many respiratory disorders like Bronchitis, Chronic obstructive Lung disease, Lung cancers. 

Also read: World Health Day 2022: Environmental Factors And Its Impact on Bone Health

6. Limit alcohol intake

Long term alcohol use causes persistent mood changes, sleep disorders, problems with memory and concentration, alcoholic liver disease, can also cause cirrhosis and liver cancers.

7. Invest Time and Money on Health

One should take health as a priority and focus on every aspect of health: physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual.

8. Regular Health Check-ups

It is important to screen oneself for various diseases eg. Annual blood glucose tests to check for diabetes, Pap smear in females to screen for cervical cancers etc.

Here are a few more tips to cope up:

  • Recycling is an effective way of conserving resources and reducing carbon footprint
  • Buying local products and produce is a great way to minimize carbon footprint, as goods don’t have to travel longer distances and consume more fuel for transportation
  • Rather than throwing everything in the trash, separate plastic, paper, and metal waste, and deposit it in a recycling bin. 
  • Saving water is crucial for freshwater ecosystems. By doing simple things like taking shorter showers, avoiding small clothes washers, and turning your taps off while brushing, one can save gallons of water
  • Similarly recycling unwanted paper will reduce the raw material demand for paper production, thus conserving trees and forest ecosystems
  • It is equally important to cut down on plastic usage by using reusable bags while shopping, ditching single-use water bottles, bags, and straws and avoiding products made from or packaged in plastic whenever possible
  • People should focus on living a fulfilling life by purchasing only what they require as this can reduce the amount of waste generated, and thus pollution. As natural resources are limited, our excessive consumption can be counter-productive, and undermine our planet's biodiversity.

All image credits: Freepik

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