We have been living with Covid-19 for more than two years, and have been through many lifestyle changes. The prior health focus was the coronavirus, as we learned to comply with standard operating procedures in order to prevent and control the disease.
Covid-19 can kill, and similarly, so can non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Have we done enough to prevent and control NCDs as we have with Covid-19?
In conjunction with World Health Day on April 7, 2022, let’s focus attention on NCDs, which have contributed to about 71 per cent of deaths worldwide.
Unlike Covid-19, NCDs are often long lasting and progress slowly. Of the many NCDs, cardiovascular disease and stroke are among the main leading causes of death in Malaysia in 2021.
The global disease burden data for Malaysia has also shown that high blood pressure is the main contributing factor to most disabilities and death in Malaysia.
Stay healthy by choice to keep your blood pressure in check by doing the following:
1. Take more fruits, vegetables, wholegrain foods, legumes, and low-fat dairy foods.
2. Reduce sodium, sweets, sweetened drinks, and processed food.
3. Limit food with high saturated fat, cholesterol, and trans fats.
4. Exercise moderately for at least 150 minutes a week.
5. Keep a healthy weight within the Body Mass Index (BMI) of 18.5 to 24.9 kg/m2.
6. Quit smoking.
7. Limit alcohol intake, and avoid if possible.
8. Manage stress using relaxation techniques, i.e. deep breathing techniques.
9. Get psychosocial support from friends and family to keep motivated.
10. Approach a Ministry of Health Wellness Hub for expert guidance and support in cultivating a healthy lifestyle.
11. Do a regular health screening at least once a year. Seek medical attention as soon as there are any symptoms involving NCDs.
Keeping a healthy lifestyle requires a lot of willpower and perseverance. Therefore, a supportive environment is important.
Start living healthier, and be a role model for others. Work towards healthy lifestyle choices and discard unhealthy choices, and stay protected from NCDs.
Dr Yoong Lee Yeen and Prof Dr Moy Foong Ming are from the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya.
- This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of CodeBlue.