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Impacts of Positive and Negative Lifestyle Choices

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Nutrition
Wordcount: 1792 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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Lifestyle Choices

A lifestyle choice can be described as something someone decided to do depending on how they chose to live their life according to their varied tastes, values and personal attitude. Artem Cheprasov defines a lifestyle choice as a “personal and conscious decision to perform a behaviour that may increase or decrease the risk of injury or disease.” There are positive and negative lifestyle choices that an individual can make without even being aware they are making that good or bad lifestyle choice, for example, if an individual choses to get up every morning and exercise by going to the gym or walking to work, that’s a positive lifestyle choice as it betters your body and mind, however, if you choose to drink and drive that is a negative lifestyle choice as you are putting yourself and others in great danger. Furthermore, even making a conscious decision to smoke a cigarette everyday is a negative lifestyle choice as it causes chronic damage, we can make these lifestyle choices without even being aware that we are doing so, therefore it is important that we are aware of the decisions we are making about our own lives, Lifestyle medicine wrote “Our lifestyle choices have a profound effect on our health. As we live longer, one thing is clear: many of us will spend time living with injury and chronic illness due to our own choices.”

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Two of the most common negative lifestyle choices that people make are an unhealthy diet and the consumption of alcohol, in 2016 it was recorded that obesity rates in the United Kingdom are the second worst in Europe with at least six in ten adults being obese, while in 2013 73% of adults in Northern Ireland drank alcohol with 53% of the respondents admitting to doing so at least once a week. Negative lifestyle choices have harmful effects on the physiology and anatomy of the body with obesity being the biggest cause of type two diabetes, if an individual is overweight or obese they are five times more likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. According to Diabetes UK “around three in five adults (62 per cent) are overweight or obese and a quarter of children aged 2-15 years in Northern Ireland are overweight or obese.” Obesity can be caused by an overconsumption of food into the body, especially if an individual is consuming high amounts of fatty foods or drinks and not burning the energy off through physical activity, therefore the body will store the left-over energy away as fat and as the fat build it will in turn make the individual overweight or obese.

In addition to this, being obese can also cause you to suffer from coronary heart disease, types of cancer, stroke and depression. Coronary heart disease is caused by a build-up of fatty deposits on the walls of the body’s coronary arteries and symptoms can include, angina, which can cause chest pain, this occurs when the coronary arteries become mostly blocked, this can feel like a mild uncomfortable pain or severe tightness in the chest which can spread to the jaw, arms, neck, back or stomach. Additionally, coronary heart disease can cause heart attacks and heart failure, a heart attack occurs when the coronary arteries become completely blocked and if it’s not treated immediately can be fatal. Symptoms of a heart attack are very similar to angina; however, the pain would be more severe and may happen when an individual is at rest unlike angina which usually occurs when partaking in physical activity or in stressful situations. Heart failure can also occur due to coronary heart disease and usually arises when the heart becomes to weak to pump the blood around the body, obesity also increases chances of a stroke which occurs when the blood supply to an area of the brain is cut off as a vessel has become clotted. Lastly people who are obese are more likely to suffer from phycological consequences such as depression, depression is a persistent feeling of unhappiness which can last for weeks or months. People may suffer from depression due to life changing events such a bereavement or because they are unhappy with their lifestyle, for example, becoming obese. According to Everyday Health “studies have shown that obese people are about 25 percent more likely to experience a mood disorder like depression compared with those who are not obese,” there are many reasons for this, including poor self-image, isolation and low self-esteem. There are many ways to treat obesity safely, including speaking to your GP for professional advice, local weight loss groups, exercise prescription and dieting, furthermore if you also suffer from depression your GP can offer ways to help depending on the severity, if its mild depression your GP may recommend you wait a while and see if it passes, however if this isn’t the case there are other ways to help, such as, exercise, speaking to a friend or local phycologist, mental health apps and anti-depressants.

In addition to obesity, alcohol can also be a negative lifestyle choice that many people choose to indulge in, however when people drink excessive amounts of alcohol weekly or daily is when it starts to have a dangerous effect on the body and mind. The consumption of alcohol is measured in units, drinking is classified as excessive when an individual is drinking more than the lower risk limits. Lower risk limits are what the NHS recommend in order to keep alcohol related harm low, in order to keep them low, an individual must not drink more than fourteen units of alcohol a week and if you drink this much its important to spread it out evenly throughout the week and not binge drink all the recommend units in one sitting, it is also extremely important to have a few alcohol free days a week, especially if someone is trying to reduce the amount of alcohol they intake.

There are many risk factors that can occur due to alcohol misuse, some short term effects may include, violent behaviour towards others and yourself, accidents that may require attending a hospital, unprotected sex and alcohol poisoning, it is more likely that if an individual binge drinks at the weekend or throughout the week they will be more aggressive and more likely to put themselves and others in harms way. However, long-term alcohol misuse is more severe than short-term and can put individuals at risk of developing many harmful diseases, such as, cancer (mouth, breast, liver e.g.), liver diseases, which occurs when excessive alcohol intake damages the liver and pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is a result of excessive drinking over many years and occurs when the liver has been enduringly damaged from inflammation, it is more commonly seen in men than woman, most people that develop pancreatitis will have previously suffered from acute pancreatitis which is short-term inflammation of the liver. Many of the diseases mentioned can be fatal and if diagnosed it is important that the individual makes lifestyle choices in order to help their treatment, for example, stop smoking, drinking and a better diet. In addition to the effects excessive alcohol consumption can have on the body, it can also cause phycological damage as many people who suffer with over consumption of alcohol may also become unemployed, homeless and suffer from a break down in relationships which may lead to depression as they become dependent on drinking alcohol and this usually takes over their life, F Scott Fitzgerald said “first you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.” There are many ways to treat alcoholism depending on the severity of the problem, if it is a mild problem an intervention set up by family or friends may work if they offer support and comfort throughout the withdrawal stages while they detox, however, if the problem is more severe it may be important that the detox is carried out in a clinic or hospital as once an individual begins to withdrawal they may feel sweaty, anxious and begin to tremble and if they are at home while this occurs it will be easier for them to sooth their pain with more alcohol. Although, self help groups and therapy such as cognitive behavioural therapy may also be more useful as it will help the individual feel less isolated.

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After looking at lifestyle choices in more detail, specifically obesity and alcoholism I have concluded that every decision we make about our body and phycological wellbeing are tremendously important to ensure we maintain a happy and healthy lifestyle. There are many campaigns that have been launched to help encourage individuals to lead a healthy lifestyle, for example, in 2012 the government released a campaign to tackle obesity called ‘Fitter Future for all’ and in 2013 a ‘Food in Schools Policy-Healthy Food for Healthy Outcomes’ was released to try and get children to eat healthier in schools. Furthermore, the government prevented cigarette companies from putting their logos on the front of boxes and instead they have warnings of how smoking can harm your body in order to educate people and to let them see what is happening to their lungs specifically, in addition to this a ‘Want2Stop’ campaign was also released in Northern Ireland in order to offer support to those wanting to quit smoking. There have also been many different charities that have being promoted throughout the country in order to help those suffering from alcoholism and drug addiction, such as, ‘NI DACTS’ and ‘Addiction NI.’ Both the campaigns and charities have been highly successful and show how important it is to have the information at your fingertips and to better educated on lifestyle choices because of it.

References:

  • Cheprasov, A. () Lifestyle Choices and Personal Wellness: Decisions, Behavior & Prevention, Available at: https://study.com/academy/lesson/lifestyle-choices-and-personal-wellness-decisions-behavior-prevention.html (Accessed: 29th October 2018).
  • Egger, G., Binns, A., Rossner, S., Sagner, M. (2017) Lifestyle Medicine, 3rd edn., Cambridge, Massachusetts: Academic Press.
  • (2018) Number of people with diabetes in Northern Ireland increases by 62.5% in a decade, Available at: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/In_Your_Area/N_Ireland/News/number-of-people-living-with-diabetes-jumps (Accessed: 29th October 2018).
  • Thompson, D. (2011) Depression and Obesity, Available at: https://www.everydayhealth.com/depression/depression-and-obesity.aspx (Accessed: 29th October 2018).
  • Fitsgerald, S. (2005) The Best Early Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald , New York: Modern Library.

 

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