Bridie’s Presentation at Exercise Right Luncheon
What is a preventable disease?
Indicators of preventable disease
Chronic diseases are becoming more and more common in Australia. In fact, 50% of Australian’s are classified as having 1 or more chronic disease and for those aged over 65 this number increases to 87%. Chronic diseases quite often develop (sometimes unknown) in the background over time and can include things such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, COPD, arthritis, asthma, back pain, cancer and mental health conditions. Almost one third of these diseases can be prevented with lifestyle factors.
There are certain factors that can alert you and your doctor to your risk of preventable chronic diseases. These fall into several different categories. First, we have the non-modifiable risk factors, or the things that we (fortunately or unfortunately) can’t change. This includes things such as age (the older we get, the more risk), gender (sorry men, but typically you have higher risk), ethnicity and also family history of chronic disease.
Next up are the lifestyle factors: physical activity levels (aiming for 150mins/week), a healthy diet including high fruit and vegetable consumption (2 fruit, 5 vegies), alcohol consumption and tobacco use.
Last but not least, we have the biomedical risk factors. These are physiological states that pose risks for our health—for example: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar levels, having a large waist circumference and/or being overweight or obese.
These biomedical factors are often influenced by other risk factors that I mentioned earlier, but the good news is that they can generally be prevented or even avoided with lifestyle changes. In fact, with a single bout of exercise, blood glucose levels can be lowered for up to 72 hours. On average, exercise also reduces blood pressure by about 6–7 mmHg which is enough to decrease risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 14%. Healthy eating also plays a large part in these factors and is arguably the biggest contributor for weight gain which has flow on effects to blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels.
Research over the past few years has even been looking into the inflammatory process and gut health as a biomedical factor related to weight gain and cardiovascular health. A recent study showed that participants with the good cardiovascular fitness had greater levels of beneficial gut bacteria which can assist weight loss and good health. With this being said, it is important to take into account all lifestyle behaviours, such as regular, moderate physical activity, a change in diet or stress management, as this will exert the biggest influence on our health.
The more risk factors that a person has, the higher their risk of developing a chronic disease. In a few moments, we will be handing out the AUSDRISK questionnaire which was designed to assess your risk of developing type 2 diabetes over the next five years. At the Green Apple we have plenty of resources to help you monitor your risk and make lifestyle changes including Maltron body composition testing, and lots of courses throughout the year. So, if you are at high risk, would like to make some lifestyle changes, learn more about the topics I mentioned today please have a chat to me later, or put your name down for our upcoming HEAL course.