Eat well. Look good. Feel great.

Possible Causes:

While infectious diseases like tuberculosis, influenza and smallpox are on the decline these days, lifestyle diseases like diabetes and atherosclerosis have seen a dramatic rise. Lifestyle diseases as the name suggests are the result of the bad choices we make regarding our diet, exercise, rest and work. 

Consumption of processed food, lack of physical activity, work stress, and the struggle for survival are all responsible for the rise of chronic conditions like hypertension and high cholesterol which results in obesity, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and increased levels of stress and anxiety.
    
Risk Factors:

Poor diet and nutrition lead to obesity, high blood pressure and increased cholesterol which are strong risk factors for developing diabetes. It also increases the risk of other health conditions from diabetes and hypertension to sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, lower back pain and gallbladder disease. It may even lead to cancer and coronary artery disease.

Not eating a balanced diet, leads to nutritional deficiencies like iron deficiency anaemia. Your blood cells need iron in order to supply your body with oxygen, and if you don’t have enough iron, your blood will not function properly.

Other nutritional deficiencies that can affect your blood cells include low levels of vitamin B12, folate, or vitamin C. Vitamin D deficiency may affect the health of your bones, making it difficult for you to absorb and use calcium. Although you can get vitamin D by going out in the sun, many people with concerns about skin cancer may not do so.

People who have had intestinal diseases or had sections of intestines removed due to disease or weight loss surgery also may be at risk for vitamin deficiencies. Alcoholics are also at high risk of having nutritional deficiencies. 

Signs & Symptoms:

Often rapid weight change may be a sign of poor nutrition. Poor nutrition can occur for many reasons from limited knowledge of nutritional requirements to the convenience of processed food as it’s easily available. If a nutritionally inadequate diet is followed on a daily basis, there can be serious repercussions on your health.

Constantly suffering from a cold or the reflects your vulnerability to viruses and infections as your body lacks the energy and nutrients needed to feed the immune system and fight disease. Excessive fatigue, sensitivity to cold temperatures, headache and a fast, irregular heartbeat may indicate that you have anaemia. Anaemia occurs when you have deficiencies in certain nutrients resulting in reduced red blood cells to supply oxygen to your body.

Physical symptoms of poor nutrition may be flaky and dry skin, or lifeless and thin hair, cracked nails, diarrhoea or constipation and poor dental health. Severe malnourishment may result in infertility and lack of menstruation. Symptoms associated with malnutrition are often similar to those of many other conditions, so it is essential to get a correct diagnosis to determine the right treatment. 

Diagnosis:

Based on your symptoms, which tell the doctor that you are not getting adequate nutrients from your food, she or he will recommend that you do a blood test including a complete blood count. This will reveal the deficiencies in your blood like low haemoglobin or whether your sugar levels are high.  While less iron in your blood points to anaemia and high sugar levels to diabetes, what are the likely repercussions on your health?

Excess fat which is the result of poor food choices and lack of physical activity makes it more difficult for the body to correctly utilize insulin. Also, high-sugar diets not only promote weight gain but insulin resistance as well. This leads to type 2 diabetes which lowers the amount of "good cholesterol," or HDL that is responsible for removing excess fat from the blood and increases triglyceride levels in the blood. Low HDL levels paired with high triglycerides result in increased plaque buildup in artery walls, that lead to heart attacks and strokes. 


Treatment:

Healthy Eating and Nutrition

  • Consume a variety of nutrient-dense foods and beverages within and among the basic food groups while choosing foods that limit the intake of saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, added sugars, salt, and alcohol.
  • Consume whole foods and fresh produce including fruits, vegetables and cereals. For a reference 2,000-calorie intake, two cups of fruit and 2½ cups of vegetables per day are recommended, with higher or lower amounts depending on the calorie level.
  • Select from all five vegetable subgroups (dark green, orange, legumes, starchy vegetables, and other vegetables) several times a week.
  • Consume three or more ounce-equivalents of whole-grain products per day and three cups per day of fat-free or low-fat milk or equivalent milk products. 
  • Alcoholic beverages should be taken in moderation -- defined as the consumption of up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.

Calorie Requirement

  • No matter what you eat, whether it’s carbohydrates, fats, sugars, or proteins, calories are everywhere. Calories count because your weight is determined by the total number of calories you consume and burn in a day. A proper diet with exercise regimen, is the best way to lose weight. 
  • It is inadvisable to lower calorie intake by more than 1,000 calories per day, as losing more than two pounds per week can be unhealthy and can result in the opposite effect in the near future by reducing metabolism. An average woman needs to eat about 2,000 calories per day to maintain, and 1,500 calories to lose one pound of weight per week. An average man needs 2500 calories to maintain, and 2,000 to lose one pound of weight per week. This should be accompanied by some form of physical activity.

Healthy Weight Management

  • Maintain body weight in a healthy range, balance calories from foods and beverages with calories expended.
  • Prevent abnormal weight gain over time, make small decreases in food and beverage calories and increase physical activity.

Physical Exercise and Activity

  • Engage in regular physical activity and reduce sedentary activities to promote health, psychological well-being, and a healthy body weight.
  • Achieve physical fitness by including cardiovascular conditioning, stretching exercises for flexibility, and resistance exercises or calisthenics for muscle strength and endurance.

Regular Visits To Your Doctor

  • A blood test will show the levels of cholesterol, triglycerides as well as blood sugar. Along with this, have your blood pressure checked regularly. Check for iron and vitamin deficiency too.