Author: Masaharu Tsubokura
Editors: Akihiko Ozaki M.D., Yuki Senoo
163. The Importance of Adopting a Broader Perspective in Health Management
The extent of the exposure dose determines radiation’s health impacts. Various countermeasures and investigations have been conducted to prevent excessive radiation exposure from the nuclear accident that occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. However, radiation exposure is not the only determinant of health. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the various factors that affect one’s health and to take control of your health in a well-balanced manner.
Diabetes has become a huge health concern following Japan’s 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant accident. It is induced by modifiable lifestyle risk factors, including overeating, lack of exercise, and stress.
Just as metals gradually rust when they are exposed to air and water, long-term exposure to high blood sugar can damage the blood vessels and tissue over time. Appropriate lifestyle changes are necessary to prevent organ damage from high blood sugar, by limiting the size of each meal, exercising to consume sugar, and taking drugs to lower blood sugar levels.
Diabetes-related complications, namely involving the blood vessels, eyes, nerves, and kidneys, have more significant effects on the body than the disease itself. However, these complications can be minimized by controlling one’s blood sugar levels today. Although diabetes may be regarded as a common disease, it currently remains an unneglectable health concern in Fukushima.
164. Lifestyle Is Also a Contributing Factor to Cancer
When you hear the term “lifestyle-related diseases,” what kinds of illnesses do you associate them with? Many people probably associate them with diabetes, obesity, hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol level in the blood), and hypertension caused by a lack of exercise and an unbalanced diet.
Since these diseases have almost no subjective symptoms, they gradually progress without patients noticing them and damage multiple organs, particularly the brain, heart, and blood vessels. As a result, life-threatening conditions such as cerebral infarction and myocardial infarction can suddenly occur. Therefore, lifestyle management is crucial to prevent these diseases from developing.
However, lifestyle-related diseases are not only limited to diabetes and high blood pressure. As their name implies, lifestyle-related diseases are related to our daily lifestyle. Therefore, exercise and eating habits are not the only factor associated with them; daily life routines such as oral care and sleep as well as smoking and drinking are also important factors.
In addition to being associated with periodontal disease, osteoporosis (a condition in which the bones become fragile), and locomotive syndrome (a condition in which the bones and muscles are weakened), lifestyle is also considerably associated with cancer. There are numerous lifestyle-related diseases; therefore, it is important to understand the risk factors that contribute to their development and modify these factors in a well-balanced manner.
The Japanese version of the manuscript was originally published in Fukushima Minyu, a local newspaper in Fukushima prefecture, Japan, 25th of February and 4th March 2018 was reproduced for MRIC Global under the author's permission.