Lifestyle Related Disorders-Ayurveda Perspective

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Life Style Related Disorders and Corrective Measures Through Ayurveda

 

Author: Prof. Y.K.Sharma, MD(Ay), PhD. Former Dean and Principal, Rajiv Gandhi Govt Post Graduate Ayurvedic College-Paprola (HP)

Lifestyle diseases:

Are called diseases of longevity or diseases of civilization. These are diseases that appear to increase in frequency as countries become more industrialized and people live longer .Dictionary meaning of Lifestyle disease is “A disease associated with the way a person or group of people lives”.These are different from other diseases because they are potentially preventable, and can be lowered with changes in diet, lifestyle, and environment. In brief lifestyle diseases are the result of an ill-relationship of people with their environment.

Lifestyle diseases as silent killers:

The World Health Organisation has warned that more than 270 million people are susceptible of falling victim to diseases linked to unhealthy lifestyles. Most of these people are thought to come from China, India, Pakistan and Indonesia.

Highlights of Lifestyle Diseases:

Until the present era, death was caused by sudden onset conditions. Sudden Onset conditions are easily curable by Allopathic Medicine. Today, conditions that slowly develop over many years as we age cause more deaths. These insidious diseases do not lend themselves to a quick fix by Allopathic Medicine.. The onset of these lifestyle diseases is insidious, they take years to develop, and once encountered do not lend themselves easily to cure.

Why increased incidence of Lifestyle related diseases?

Peoples’ diet changed substantially in the second half of the twentieth century, generally with increases in consumption of meat, dairy products, vegetable oils, fruit juice, and alcoholic beverages and decreases in consumption of: starchy staple foods such as bread, potatoes, rice, and maize flour.
Other aspects of lifestyle also changed, notably, large reductions in physical activity and large increases in the prevalence of obesity associated with smoking, stress of daily routine and substance abuse.

Common Life Style Related Disorders:

These include hypertension , heart disease, stroke, obesity ,diabetes, diseases associated with smoking and alcohol and drug abuse, tobacco- and nutrition-induced cancers, chronic bronchitis, emphysema and premature mortality.
Various lifestyle related diseases now-a-days, also include Alzheimer’s disease, atherosclerosis, asthma, cancer, chronic liver disease or cirrhosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, nephritis or chronic renal failure, osteoporosis, acne, depression, obesity, heart disease and stroke.

In our scenario we may also include diseases like Osteoarthiritis Knee, Low Back Pain, Stress related illnesses, etc in this list.

Indian Scenario:

In India, the scenario is quite worse. It is said that, the possibility of an Indian suffering from a lifestyle disease is four per cent greater than people from other nationalities. Changing lifestyle is mainly responsible for an increase in the number of people suffering from hypertension, stress and other heart ailments.

Why Sudden Increase in Lifestyle related ailments:

Today’s 24×7 world order leaves little room for entertainment, social life, exercise and regular eating and sleeping patterns. Time is being converted into money and personal priorities take back seats as corporate interests and personal ambitions take centre stage.

Only when our body starts showing signs of fatigue and inability, we look at our daily routine and think how the same impacts our personal lives.

Affluent Society Diseases:

Doctors term these diseases as ‘affluent society diseases’, which are mainly caused due to reduced physical activity and consumption of fast food and alcohol. Since factors like heredity, sex, age cannot be avoided, one must manage one’s lifestyle to avoid being at risk of different lifestyle dominated diseases.

Life Style Medicine

Lifestyle Medicine is nothing but the use of lifestyle interventions in the treatment and management of lifestyle diseases. Such interventions include diet rectifications (good nutrition), exercise, stress management, smoking cessation, and a variety of other non-drug modalities. A growing body of scientific evidence has demonstrated that lifestyle intervention is an essential component in the treatment of chronic disease that can be effective when used appropriately with medication.

The emphasis of lifestyle medicine is on:
Assessing lifestyle
Evaluating the risk factors
Evaluating laboratory reports
Discussing the opportunities for interventions
Prescribing an optimal lifestyle
Tracking and follow-ups

Healthy lifestyle habits ,society should practice are:

A strict no to Smoking, Alcohol, Illegal drugs, Hypertension, Stress, and eat low fat, salt, highfibrediet and do physical activity.

Ayurveda and Lifestyle ailments.

Ayurveda the science of life primarily aims to preserve the human structure by:
1. Protection of Healthy state (Swasthrakshan)
2. Cure of Sick state (Vikarprashamanam)
In other words its mission is to preserve Health.
What is Health which Ayurveda attempts to preserve or restore?
It is
1. Sama Dosha- Normal Biorhythm.
2. Sama Dhatu – Ideal physical constitution
3. Sama Agni – Ideal Metabolism
4. Sama Mala – Normal level and discharge of metabolic wastes from body
Prasanna Atma Indrya Mana – State of having ideal sensory and motor perceptions and balanced psyche and spirituality.

How it can be achieved?

In healthy person state of health is achieved by three important components:-
1. Dincharya – Daily regimen
2. Ritucharya – Seasonal regimen
3. Rasayana Therapy – Longevity promoting medications and practices.

Ritucharya

These are primarily set of instructions which if ideally followed as per season shall help individual to physically and biologically to a particular season as well as make him free of seasonal ailments.These include-Dietetic instructions, Clothing instructions as well as some behavioral practices which besides other guidelines include bio-purification as per seasonal needs.

Rasayana

Use of rasayana is advised particularly to seek disease free geriatric age as well as to specifically fight some ailments or potentate concomitantly used medication.

Dincharya:

It is Dincharya are ideal Daily Life routine instructions which if followed as life style shall prevent life style related ailments.This not only helps in provision of physical health but also helps attain mental and social health.

Components of Dincharya:

1.When to get up.
2. Exercise
3. Brushing, Bath, Oleation, etc.
4. Diet.
5. Social behavior
6. Sleep, etc.
7.Other mandatory components of Dincharya can be retention of abnormal physical urges and retention of abnormal mental urges ( Vega Adharan and Vega Dharan )

When to get up:

• Ideal time is Brahm-mahurta I,e between 4.00 to 6.00 AM
• One should ideally have 6-8 hour sleep.
• That makes it ideal that one sleeps early
• People who regularly work at night can sleep during day as a habit.
• Lack of sleep disturbs bio-rhythm with physical and mental ailments.
• That is why Nidra is one of Up-stamba of life.

Vayajama-Exercise

• Regular exercise gives feeling of :
• Lightness (Laguta),
• Improves working capacity (Karyasamarth),
• Potentates appetite (Diptagni)
• Leads to loss of body fat (Medokshaya)
• Strengthens body tissues esp. muscles.
• Vayajama should be performed to the extent of “Ardhabala” or limit it to time till one start mouth breathing.

Aahar-Diet

• Ayurved believes that diet should be as per season, age but it should be balanced both from point of view of Quality and Quantity.
• It should be “Shadrasa”
• One should follow concept of Eightfold (Aashatvidhvishashatayan) and Twelevefold (Dwadishpervachar) guidelines of dietetics

Food habits to be avoided:

• Aakal Annasavan – Irregular timing.
• Atimatra- Overfeeding.
• Asatamaya –Taking Intolerable/undesirable diet.
• Visham-ashan – Incompatible diet
• Indulgence in such dietry habits is called in Ayurveda as “Mithyaahara”

Social behavior or Sadavritta:

• Ayurveda has a strong preaching of Sadavritta and Aachar Rasayan which can be interpreted as personal behavior towards society as Self and Social Code of Conduct.
• If practiced this not only elevates individual stress and helps maintain mental health but shall also improve social structure.
• Some of the practices include:
• Not to harm other creatures.
• Give due respect to old, seniors, rulers, guests, teachers etc
• Avoid insulting and ignoring others
• Keep balanced mind during pleasure and pain and avoid thinking of harming others.
• Try to speak only when desired but speak truth and softly.
• Try to help needy
• Avoid theft, violence, and abnormal sexual urges, etc which are categorized as Pap-karma.

Nidra -Sleep:

Like Aahar Nidra is also considered as a pillar of health.While adequate sleep assures Good nutrition, strength, potency, capacity to retain learned knowledge, etc.
Continuous lack of Sleep leads to Loss of energy and body weight, impotence, difficulty in retaining learned knowledge and may in long run vitiate entire bio-rhythm and cause even death.

Other life style related advises in Ayurved include:

1. Taking bath with cold water.
2. Regular application of oil on body.
3. Regular oil application in nostrils
4. Regular brushing, tongue cleaning
5. Avoiding sleeping during day
6. Practice of Bramacharya, etc.

Common Lifestyle related ailments and their remedy:

  1. Alzheimer’s Disease or Manokshaya: It a form of brain disease. No one knows the exact cause, but a real breakdown of the cells of the brain does occur. There is no treatment, but good nutrition may slow the progress of this lifestyle disease.
    Use of Zinco-biloba, Aindri, Brahmi, Sankhpushpi, Jotismati is recommended besides Sirobasti, Tarpan Nasya.

2. Arteriosclerosis or Dhamnikathanaya: A generic term for several diseases in which the arterial wall becomes thicken and loses elasticity. Atherosclerosis is the most common and serious vascular disease.

Plaques (atheromas) deposited in the walls of arteries are major causes of heart disease, chest pain (angina pectoris), heart attacks, and other disorders of the circulation. Atherosclerosis usually occurs with aging. It is linked to overweight, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

Use of low fat but high PUFA containing oils like Tila , Sarsoon, Coconut oil is desired.
Use of Gugglu, Lashun, Triphala, Jav-kshar, Methi, etc lowers abnormal fats in blood.
Start early for better results.

3. Diabetes or Madhumeha: a disease affecting sugars used by the body. Disease characterized by persistent rise of blood glucose. May be out come of Genetic predisposition, Dietary habits, sedentary lifestyle, side effect of some drugs, endocrinal ailment, etc. Disturbs energy metabolism in body. Leads to serious complications in heart, brain, eyes, kidneys, etc.

Early detection, weight control, Use of regular therapy and regular monitoring is key to treatment.

4. Heart Disease: Any of several abnormalities that affect the heart muscle or the blood vessels of the heart. Heart disease has been the number one cause of mortality and morbidity. Heart disease and other forms of cardiovascular disease can lead to a state where pumping action of heart is insufficient for need of body. Vessel disease can also cause sudden death.

Maintain ideal weight, Regular walk, Low fat and calorie diet, avoid smoking, avoid stress and keep your blood fat under control. Don’t ignore regular examination after 40.

5. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): a disease characterized by slowly progressing, irreversible airway narrowing and loss of lung capacity.

The symptoms are problems in breathing while exercising, difficulty in breathing in or out deeply, and sometimes a long-term cough. The condition may result from chronic bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, or chronic bronchiolitis. Cigarette smoking and air pollution make it worse.
Remedy lies in stopping smoking, avoiding pollution and doing regular pranayamic exercises

6. Stroke: a condition due to the lack of oxygen to the brain that may lead to reversible or irreversible paralysis.

Stroke is linked to advanced age, high blood pressure, previous attacks of poor circulation, cigarette smoking, heart disorders, embolism, family history of strokes, use of birth-control pills, diabetes mellitus, lack of exercise, overweight, high cholesterol etc
Remedy is keeping risk factors under check and regular evaluation.

7.Cancer: It is a diseases characterized by uncontrolled, abnormal growth of cells.
Cancer is definitely considered the number one Disease of Civilization.
There are more than 150 different kinds of cancer and many different causes.Regular screening of any potential cancer sign or symptom and early detection and treatment. Avoid cancer risk factors and precancerous states.

Other Common Lifestyle ailments:

1. Osteoarthiritis Knee or Sandhivata.: Loss of joint space, cartilages and bony out growths with limiting joint mobility.
2. Low back Pain or Katishool : Wrong back curvature and damaged vertebra and discs due to wrong postures, chronic trauma, and degenerative changes.
3. Chronic liver disease: Shrinking liver due to chronic low grade damage due to alcoholism, drugs, etc.

Final Word
• Average life of man is increasing and lifestyle related disorders are wound to come.
• Adopt a healthy lifestyle to have a long trouble free life.
• Don’t delay correction of ailment till late when it shall compromise quality of life.
• While adding years to life add life to year.
• Try to achieve physical, mental and spiritual healthiness write from childhood.

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