I have always felt that our great grandparents and people of their generation were more robust and had healthier lifestyles. They ate simple food, worked longer hours and hardly complained.

Fast forward to the 21st century, where we are faced with modern day conveniences and high tech devices such as smart mobile phones, online shopping, microwave oven, speedy transportation and fast food.

But with all these technological advances and conveniences are we healthier, happier and live longer than our ancestors?

One thing is certain; we are now exposed to an environment which our forefathers were not. The air that we breathe, the earth where we grow our vegetables and fruits and our water resources are now polluted with chemicals.

Our foods are added with harmful synthetic hormones, antibiotics and addictives. When our bodies break down and we become sick, we are fed with drugs and more chemicals.

This modern day stress, unhealthy lifestyles, poor eating habits and a hostile environment have created illnesses that were uncommon in the past.

Cancer, diabetes, asthma, anxiety and depressive disorders, and deep vein thrombosis are just some of the so-called “New Age Diseases” in our modern world.

As we become more affluent, we adopt a Western diet that is high in fat,  carbohydrates, red meat, processed foods and low in fibre. This eating habit has contributed to a rise in colorectal cancer.

Our colon is designed to collect toxic waste and then discharge it. When it is clogged with too much of harmful chemicals and acidic content and insufficient fibre, many things can happen. This includes irregular bowel movements, irritable bowel syndrome, appendicitis, and even colon cancer. In serious cases, it may affect the liver and kidneys.

An unhealthy diet and a stressful lifestyle with little time to exercise are a perfect formula for obesity, diabetes and other health problems.

Obese people are also prone to fatty liver disease which is growing at an alarming rate. This happens when the liver accumulate fat causing inflammation and other liver diseases, such as cancer.

Office workers are spending long hours in front of computers and other digital devices which are getting smaller in footprint. This has led to an increase in aches, pains and sprains of the neck, back, knee and hand joints. In some cases varicose veins may develop. Women who wear high heel shoes or are pregnant and spend long periods of time sitting still or standing are more likely to develop varicose veins.

People who suffer from varicose veins are also at risk of getting deep-vein thrombosis (DVT). This is a condition where a blood clot forms in a deep vein and stays there. Several cases of people on long-haul flights have been reported to have died from DVT. With more people travelling by air for work and leisure, DVT is becoming a new age disease.

As our world become more urbanised, our air quality deteriorates and respiratory diseases become more common. In some Asian countries, farmers regularly burn large tract of land to clear them for vegetation. The air pollutants resulted from the burning spread to neighbouring countries, and increasing incidents of respiratory diseases, such as asthma.

With our hectic and pressurised lifestyle, we neglect our physical and mental health. The recent financial crash has also created a feeling of powerlessness. These have contributed to more people having depressive disorders. People suffering from these disorders have low mood and energy levels, cannot sleep well, no appetite, cannot focus and unable to enjoy life.

So how do we get out of this predicament and start to enjoy healthy living?

Find out in my next article.

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Filed under: Diseases

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