Killer diseases – how to protect yourself

Many of the top killer diseases amongst Australians are potentially preventable. Research shows rural Australians have a higher incidence of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, as well as most cancers such as lung and bowel cancer. Lowering the risk of many of these diseases may be easier than you think.
High blood pressure impacts over 30% of adults over thirty years old and over 50% of Australians over 50 years old. Having higher blood pressure increases your risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. Diabetes affects over 2 million Australians with over 280 new diagnoses each day.  This is one in every 11 adults. Heart disease affects one in every 6 Australians with one Australian dying every 12 minutes. All three of these diseases account for the majority of deaths annually. According to research, every Australian can do something to lower their risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease, and it can be easier than you might think. Improving your diet and increasing your physical activity lowers your risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. It can also reduce your risk of many cancers including bowel cancer. One in three Australian adults are over-weight with one in four classified as obese. According to St George Doctor and Rural Doctors Foundation member, Dr Adam Coltzau, you don’t need to read heaps of diet books, spend money on complex programs and get on the latest celebrity fad diet. Losing weight can be broken down to a few simple steps.
  • Improving your diet – reducing fat and sugar, cutting back on salt and alcohol and eating more fresh fruit, nuts and vegetables.
  • Eating less – Australians eat big meals, too big in fact. Often the meals are very healthy but there is a big volume of food with excess calories.
  • Exercising more  – people need to be physically active, walking, bike riding, swimming or going to the gym is important for reducing your risk of diabetes and heart disease. It also helps you lose weight. 30 – 60 minutes of fast walking 5 days a week can be enough.
I tell my patients that “Your weight can be broken down into a simple equation: food in – exercise.” Your Weight = Food In (Calorie intake) minus (-) Activity/Exercise (Calories Burned) It is that simple. If you are eating calories and not doing enough physical activity to burn those calories, they go into storage in your body as fat. So, by eating less and doing more, you will lose weight.” Dr Coltzau said. Losing weight will not only reduce your risk of diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, but will reduce your burden of osteoarthritis. Most importantly, research shows you will live longer. For help with improving your health speak to your general practitioner.