Chronic illness on the rise in India: Is physical inactivity during lockdown to blame?

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Chronic illness on the rise in India
2 Nov 2021
9 mins
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Chronic illness on the rise in India: Is physical inactivity during lockdown to blame?

    Ever since the outbreak of COVID-19, people are obliged to stern mitigation measures such as social distancing, strict lockdowns, minimal social exposure, and business closures have eventually led to a significant decrease in physical activity.

     

    This, in turn, has subsequently led to a worldwide increase in chronic illnesses affecting health services globally. As a result, the Indian healthcare system witnessed an increase in the number of patients with chronic illnesses.

     

    However, the National Health Portal of India actively encouraged the citizens of India during the pandemic and published guidelines regarding recommended hours of exercise, aligning with the WHO guidelines. To prevent the rise in chronic illnesses and treat them with regular physical activity, the citizens were motivated more and more to participate in simple, everyday home yoga and workout routines.

     

    A high percentage of chronic diseases already exist in India. The prolonged inactivity and sudden cut-off from the outside world have instead hiked the digit of patients with chronic illness. 

     

    As per a recent study, the Indian adults were categorized and evaluated as to their physical activity under vigorous exercise, moderate exercise, mild exercise, and no exercise. 

     

    The results revealed that almost 20% of the population was inactive, while 37% were mildly active. Also, the World Health Organization (WHO) currently recommends that a healthy adult individual do a daily minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise or be indulged in 75 minutes of vigorous activity. 

     

    As per the findings, most alarming point is that around 57% of the Indian population has failed to comply with these WHO recommendations.

     

    So if you are wondering what is a chronic illness? We have your answers!

     

    When any course of the disease lasts for more than three months, it is termed chronic illness. Usually, chronic illness is a persistent human health condition or long-lasting effects or is a type of disease that comes with time. These diseases generally require ongoing medical attention and tend to limit or create hindrance in day-to-day human activity. 

     

    Chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes are mostly the leading causes of death and disability in humans.

     

    A few behaviors might trigger or cause many chronic diseases, such as:

    • Excessive use of tobacco and exposure to secondhand smoke.
    • Lack of physical activity and training
    • Excessive consumption of alcohol
    • Intake of poor nutrition
    • Consuming an unbalanced diet that is low in fruits and vegetables with high sodium and saturated fats. 

     

    To describe it briefly, diseases that tend to persist for over a more extended period or maybe for an entire lifetime are known as chronic diseases. Therefore, if any disease lasts for more than three months, it is labeled as a chronic disease and may or may not be cured by medication. Symptoms may be very mild initially and might damage the body slowly and severely. The risk factors involved in such chronic disease are comparatively higher and include age, gender, unhealthy lifestyle, stress, habits, etc., and could sometimes be fatal.

     

    Some of these diseases cannot even be prevented by vaccines or drugs either. Conditions such as HIV, diabetes mellitus, cancer, Hepatitis C are examples of such chronic diseases.

     

    These chronic diseases can be, however, controlled by sticking to a few factors:

    • Active participation in physical activity
    • Consuming a healthy and balanced diet
    • By avoiding and controlling alcohol and smoking 

     

    These chronic diseases are more familiar with age. Such chronic diseases can be very stressful and, at times be irrecoverable and incurable.

     

    Examples of chronic disease:

     

    The most common chronic diseases are cancer, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular defects, arthritis, alzheimer's, dementia, kidney diseases, high blood pressure, etc.

    To understand more about a chronic condition? Here's some insight for you:

    Chronic conditions are usually referred to as that persistent and long-lasting condition that comes with time and age in human beings. These human health conditions are generally non-communicable; however, some chronic conditions are caused by transmissible infections such as HIV/AIDS. Such conditions form when any disease lasts for more than three months in the human bo

     

    What is the difference between chronic illness and acute illness?

     

    Diseases that occur suddenly and last only for a few days are known as acute diseases. Diseases such as common cold, mild headaches, etc., are examples of acute diseases. Unlike chronic diseases, these diseases get cured quickly with or without any medical treatment and medicines. However, if any acute disease continues to persist, it may turn into a chronic disease.

     

    Thus, acute diseases occur throughout the human body; for, e.g., a slight continuous headache might turn into migraine attacks, or a sudden asthma attack can later turn into a chronic one. Diseases like influenza, pneumonia, loose motion, etc., are commonly known acute diseases.

     

    A few key points could be drawn on Acute and Chronic Illness:

    • Acute diseases are those medical conditions that occur suddenly and last for a noticeably shorter period of time. In contrast, chronic diseases persist for a more extended period and are at times incurable.
    • Acute disease can be treated by specific medication, while chronic diseases can sometimes be incurable and fatal.
    • Diseases like common cold, jaundice, burn, cuts, pneumonia, etc., are known as acute diseases, but diseases like AIDS, HIV, cancer, etc., are known as chronic diseases.
    • Acute diseases might be communicable diseases, i.e., they can spread through communication, but chronic diseases are non-communicable.

     

    Thus, it can be concluded from the above that chronic diseases need proper care, attention, treatment, and medication than acute diseases.

     

    If you are suffering from a chronic illness, you may want to not confide in people for fear of judgment or gaining pitiful looks, but these feelings are normal. Mostly, thinking and analyzing about telling people could seem harder than it actually is. When you're down with bronchitis or flu, you're aware of how you'll be fine soon. However, this isn't true in the case of chronic illness, as it never goes away and can hamper or disrupt your life. Fatigue and pain may be a part of your daily life. However, there is hope! Seek help as soon as you feel you're not able to cope. The earlier you take action, the better it gets with your symptoms. The mantra to deal with any sort of chronic illness is to help yourself and seek it from support groups, individual counseling sessions, etc., to cope with it. 

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