Lifestyle diseases are diseases that appear to become ever more widespread as countries become more industrialized.
Lifestyle diseases are different from other diseases because they are potentially preventable, and can be lowered with changes in diet, lifestyle, environment, and by supplementing with vitamin D.
The only subclass of lifestyle diseases that this Web page is addressing are those caused by lifestyle factors that can be lowered with changes in diet, lifestyle, and environment.
Natural Health as Complementary Medicine
Nothing about natural health prevents its alternative healing methods from being used alongside conventional medical treatment. Thus, natural health can be viewed as a complementary or adjunctive form of therapy.
Do not forget about treating your chronic health conditions by supplementing with vitamin D. There is a vitamin D revolution, a form of epigenetic lifestyle therapy, going on in natural health circles. People are no longer afraid of sunshine because of the simply amazing health benefits of vitamin D.
People suffering from lifestyle diseases, or chronic health conditions, should always feel comfortable turning to conventional medicine for treatment of their health issues; whether it involves a stay in a hospital and surgery, or long term use of pharmaceuticals, such as Statins or high blood pressure medication. Always consult with a health care professional of your choice to discuss your specific health situation with before engaging in any natural health program. In most cases Natural Health as a form of complementary medicine can be used along side conventional medicine to treat and manage your chronic health problems. High cholesterol levels, for example, can often be treated with nutritional supplements and vitamins such as vitamin D, along with eating a healthy diet, and engaging in regular exercise; with the expectation that you will be able to eventually stop taking your physician prescribed pharmaceuticals.
The Natural Health Perspective is about natural health, wellness, holistic medicine, prevention, excellent natural immunity, healthy living, and healthy lifestyles. Our site describes a mainly Western outlook on holistic medicine. Our articles present alternative health information that centers on lifestyle choices such as diet, exercise, attitude, and relationships. We offer proactive approaches to the prevention of lifestyle diseases through the holistic medicine of healthy living.
Highlights of Lifestyle Diseases:
- Until the present era, death was caused by sudden onset conditions. Sudden Onset conditions are easily curable by Allopathic Medicine.
- Today, conditions that slowly develop over many years as we age cause more deaths. These insidious diseases do NOT lend themselves to a quick fix by Allopathic Medicine.
Lifestyle diseases are a result of an inappropriate relationship of people with their environment. The onset of these lifestyle diseases is insidious, they take years to develop, and once encountered do not lend themselves easily to cure.
Do lifestyle diseases really exist? There are two basic lines of evidence that support the existence of lifestyle diseases: (1) the international variation in cancer rates, and (2) Death statistics in the United States.
A research paper published in the prestigious Lancet beautifully articulated the international variation in cancer rates argument that evidences the existence of lifestyle diseases.
"In many [western] countries, peoples' diet changed substantially in the second half of the twentieth century, generally with increases in consumption of meat, dairy products, vegetable oils, fruit juice, and alcoholic beverages, and decreases in consumption of starchy staple foods such as bread, potatoes, rice, and maize flour. Other aspects of lifestyle also changed, notably, large reductions in physical activity and large increases in the prevalence of obesity."
"It was noted in the 1970s that people in many western countries had diets high in animal products, fat, and sugar, and high rates of cancers of the colorectum, breast, prostate, endometrium, and lung; by contrast, individuals in developing countries usually had diets that were based on one or two starchy staple foods, with low intakes of animal products, fat, and sugar, and low rates of these cancers."
"These observations suggest that the diets [or lifestyle] of different populations might partly determine their rates of cancer, and the basis for this hypothesis was strengthened by results of studies showing that people who migrate from one country to another generally acquire the cancer rates of the new host country, suggesting that environmental [or lifestyle factors] rather than genetic factors are the key determinants of the international variation in cancer rates."
An analysis of the death statistics of the United States reveals some interesting facts that tend to support the existence of lifestyle diseases.
In 1900, the top three causes of death in the United States were pneumonia / influenza, tuberculosis, and diarrhea/enteritis. Back then communicable diseases accounted for about 60 percent of all deaths. In 1900, lifestyle diseases like heart disease and cancer were ranked number #4 and #8 respectively. Since the 1940's, most deaths in the United States have resulted from heart disease, cancer, and other lifestyle diseases. And, by the late 1990's, lifestyle diseases accounted for more than 60 percent of all deaths.
In 1900, these top three causes of death were from communicable diseases. Since the 1940's, most deaths have come from a completely different category of disease called lifestyle diseases. Until the present era, sudden onset caused death due to infections, malignancies, injuries, poisonings, and war. The persons inflicted had no role to play in their occurrence. These Sudden Onset conditions lend themselves to a quick fix curative effort.
Obviously, you have to die of something. Modern science through improved sanitation, vaccination, and antibiotics, and medical attention has eliminated the threat of death from most infectious diseases. This means that death from lifestyle diseases like heart disease and cancer are now the primary causes of death. The question now becomes a question of death at what age. In eighteenth-century England, chimney sweeps died in great numbers from scrotal cancer that was then called soot wart. Everybody naturally has to die of something, but lifestyle diseases take people before their time. Too many people are dying relatively young from Heart Disease and Cancer and other lifestyle diseases in modern times. The choice is yours: die young, now or at a ripe old age.
Death rate data yield some startling statistics. Death rates peak from accidents at age 40, from cancer at age 70, and from heart disease and stroke at age 85. Congratulate yourself for being alive at each of these ages. They represent milestones on the road to a long life.
For both men and women, the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and cancer goes dramatically up between the ages of 65 and 84. Yet once you reach the age of 85 the risk for dying from cancer does dramatically down for both men and women. For men their risk for dying from cardiovascular disease falls dramatically after age 84. Nevertheless, women maintain their high risk for from dying from cardiovascular disease.
Top 10 Lifestyle Diseases in alphabetical sequence
Leading Causes of Death
The following are the leading causes of death in the United States for ALL sex, race, and age groups listed in descending sequence.
- Diseases of the heart (Includes both Heart Disease and arteriosclerosis which results in death by heart attacks.)
- Cancer (Malignant Neoplasms)
- Stroke (Cerebrovascular diseases or a group of brain dysfunctions related to disease of the blood vessels supplying the brain.)
- Chronic lower respiratory diseases (COPD)
Accidents (NOT a Lifestyle disease)
- Alzheimer's disease
Influenza and Pneumonia (NOT a Lifestyle disease - But interesting enough can probably in most cases be prevented with adequate supplementation of vitamin D, vitamin A, and the macro-mineral zinc.)
Septicemia (NOT a Lifestyle disease - But interesting enough can probably in most cases be prevented with adequate supplementation of vitamin D, vitamin A, and the macro-mineral zinc. [The presence of pathogenic organisms in the bloodstream, leading to sepsis or blood poisoning.])
Suicide (NOT a Lifestyle disease)
- Chronic Liver Disease/Cirrhosis
- Essential hypertension and hypertensive renal disease (High Blood Pressure)
- Parkinson’s disease (a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system)
Homicide (NOT a Lifestyle disease)
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Lifestyle Diseases Comments:
- Lichtenstein P, Holm NV, Verkasalo PK. Environmental and Heritable Factors in the Causation of Cancer. N Engl J Med 2000 Jul 13;343(2):78-85. PMID: 10891514
- Sobra J; Ceska R. [Diseases of civilization from the aspect of evolution of the human diet]. Cas Lek Cesk, 1992 Apr, 131:7, 193-7. PMID: 1638605
- Zöllner N. [The relevance of diet for civilization diseases, especially atherosclerosis]. Wien Med Wochenschr Suppl, 1990, 106:, suppl 11-2. PMID: 2219947
- Roelcke V. [Between individual therapy and political intervention: campaigns against "diseases of civilization" between 1920 and 1960]. Gesundheitswesen, 1995 Aug, 57:8-9, 443-51. PMID: 7496099
- Burkitt DP. Western diseases and their emergence related to diet. S Afr Med J, 1982 Jun, 61:26, 1013-5. PMID: 6283683
- Painter NS. Diverticular disease of the colon. The first of the Western diseases shown to be due to a deficiency of dietary fibre. S Afr Med J, 1982 Jun, 61:26, 1016-20. PMID: 6283684
- Forrester T; Cooper RS; Weatherall D. Emergence of Western diseases in the tropical world: the experience with chronic cardiovascular diseases. Br Med Bull, 1998, 54:2, 463-73. PMID: 9830210
- Adlercreutz H. Western diet and Western diseases: some hormonal and biochemical mechanisms and associations. Scand J Clin Lab Invest Suppl, 1990, 201:, 3-23. PMID: 2173856
- Adlercreutz H; Mazur W. Phyto-oestrogens and Western diseases. Ann Med, 1997 Apr, 29:2, 95-120. PMID: 9187225
- Meng L; Maskarinec G; Lee J. Lifestyle factors and chronic diseases: application of a composite risk index. Prev Med, 1999 Oct, 29:4, 296-304. PMID: 10547055
- Steyn K; Fourie J; Bradshaw D. The impact of chronic diseases of lifestyle and their major risk factors on mortality in South Africa. S Afr Med J, 1992 Oct, 82:4, 227-31. PMID: 1411817
- Steyn K; Kazenellenbogen JM; Lombard CJ. Urbanization and the risk for chronic diseases of lifestyle in the black population of the Cape Peninsula, South Africa. J Cardiovasc Risk, 1997 Apr, 4:2, 135-42. PMID: 9304495
- Chronic Disease and their Risk Factors: The USA's Leading Causes of Death
- AHA: Leading Causes of Death
- Leading Causes of Death Reports
- CDC - United States Cancer Statistics (USCS) - 2007 Data
- National Center for Health Statistics, National Office of Vital Statistics,
for the year 1900 (page 67), for the year 1938 (page 55).
- Key TJ, Allen NE, Spencer EA. The effect of diet on risk of cancer. Lancet. 2002 Sep 14;360(9336):861-8. Review. PMID: 12243933
- CDC - United States Leading Causes of Death - 2007 Data