Modern diseases: lifestyle diseases and their causes

Health risk factors

Is hay fever a civilization disease? It is striking that over sixty percent of all patients live in cities. thinkstock.com, DZM
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The modern world has many amenities, but it can also be a cause of disease. Read more about civilization diseases!

Civilization diseases: diseases of the modern age

Convenience, a wide range of food and good medical care - the modern lifestyle brings many benefits. At the same time, however, it can also be the cause of various diseases: so-called civilization diseases are meant. Which factors play a role here? And what are examples of modern civilization diseases?

What are civilization diseases?

So-called civilization diseases are diseases that occur frequently in modern times. The main cause of their increased occurrence are today's living conditions . While advances in research and medicine have improved quality of life and helped to treat many diseases better, the modern way of life can also be the cause of disease . In particular, the following factors can negatively affect health:

  • lack of exercise
  • stress
  • unhealthy, that is too rich in fat and sugar
  • Pollutants, for example in textiles or exhaust gases in the air
  • Harmful stimulants such as tobacco or alcohol

Typically, civilization diseases are more likely to occur in industrialized countries, therefore, the term wealth diseases is also common to them. Examples of modern diseases include COPD, allergies, cancer and metabolic diseases. In the following, they are described in more detail.

COPD: Modern disease of the lungs

COPD - chronic obstructive pulmonary disease - is usually associated with cough, sputum, and respiratory distress. It is now considered one of the most common diseases of the lungs, affecting mainly people over 40 years. display

The main cause of COPD is smoking, but particulate matter and other pollutants in the air, such as those found in busy cities, increase the risk of this civilization disease. They first lead to a chronic inflammation of the mucous membranes in the bronchi. As the disease progresses, the airways become permanently constricted and COPD develops.

Allergies as civilization diseases

Although allergies have not become known until modern times, a marked increase in cases of disease has been observed in industrialized countries. Diseases such as hay fever, house dust mite allergy and allergic asthma are now widely used, especially in infancy. For this, the causes also seem to be in the circumstances of life.

The main cause of increased allergies, many researchers see in the hygiene standards of modern industrial countries. The assumption is as follows: If the immune system does not come into contact with enough foreign substances at a young age, the immune system will not be sufficiently trained . As a result, it can overreact to actually harmless substances. This theory suggests that children in cities are on average more frequently affected by an allergy than children in rural areas.

Is cancer a modern civilization disease?

Whether cancer is actually a civilization disease is a matter of controversy in research. Recent evidence suggests that cases of certain cancers have increased since the beginning of industrialization . From the aspect, some types of cancer or tumor could be considered a modern disease. Common causes include:

  • Smoke
  • alcohol
  • unbalanced diet

Especially lung and colon cancer should be attributed to modern living conditions. This usually affects people in adulthood. It should be noted, however, that there are many different types of tumors and not each of the circumstances of the affected persons play a role in the formation. Of importance is also the genetic predisposition .

Diabetes Mellitus: Modern Disease of Metabolism

The most well-known modern metabolic disease is type 2 diabetes. The disease, formerly known as onset of old age, has been on the increase in recent decades and is now increasingly affecting adolescents and young adults. In type 2 diabetes there is a most commonly acquired insulin resistance of the cells . They can then absorb the sugar from the blood only insufficiently. The result is a constantly elevated blood sugar level, which can have various negative consequences for the body, for example, damage to the blood vessels.

In addition to a genetic predisposition overweight, a high-sugar and high-fat diet and lack of exercise as the cause of this civilization disease. In addition to medication, the treatment of diabetes type 2 is therefore mainly on a change in lifestyle. A reduction in overweight and regular exercise are usually the focus of attention.

(, 17.03.2017 -)