Author: Masaharu Tsubokura
Editors: Akihiko Ozaki M.D., Yuki Senoo
165. Now is the time to review your health status
Diabetes is a representative example of lifestyle-related diseases, whose prevalence increased in Fukushima Prefecture following the nuclear power plant accident. A long-term high blood sugar level can damage the blood vessels and tissue and can lead to the oxidation of multiple organs. As a result, life-threatening conditions such as cerebral infarctions and myocardial infarctions can suddenly occur.
An unhealthy lifestyle, such as a lack of exercise and bad eating habits, contributes to the further progression of diabetes. Moreover, it has been reported that, in the post-disaster setting, the extent of progression of patients’ illness differed among individuals depending on their age, gender, and environment.
Medical examinations conducted in Fukushima prefecture have found that the condition of diabetes is more likely to worsen in male patients compared to females and in elderly patients compared to young patients. It is well documented that if your family has diabetes, you also have a high genetic tendency to develop the disease as well.
In contrast, another report suggests that patients who regularly attended diabetic outpatient clinic appointments generally had better control of the disease. Correction of lifestyle or adherence to medication can also help manage the disease. Further, right now could be a good opportunity to take a moment to review the results of your and your family members’ physical check-ups and check your current health status.
Today [this article was originally published on 11 March, 2018] marks the seventh year since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster occurred. I would like to pray for everyone who lost their lives in the earthquake and nuclear accident.
166. A deteriorated lifestyle creates health risks
When considering health, it is crucial to understand not only the risk of radiation exposure, but also lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes and obesity. Moreover, it is important to consider the various factors that affect your health and take control of your health in a well-balanced manner.
However, achieving a balanced lifestyle is not an easy thing to do. It can be hard for those who enjoy eating to reduce their weight. Furthermore, it is difficult to understand how important weight control is for your health.
Various data comparing the health effects of radiation and lifestyle are publicly available. The health effects of smoking and consuming a large amount of alcohol are equivalent to radiation exposure of 1,000 mSv. Furthermore, being obese or underweight, lacking exercise and excessive salt intake have been calculated to have the same level of cancer risk as radiation exposure of several hundred millisieverts.
On the other hand, even if radiation exposure were to increase in current daily life, the additional level of annual radiation exposure would certainly not exceed a few millisieverts. This level of radiation exposure is two to three digits less than the levels of radiation exposure mentioned above. This information may not be enough to help you balance the risk of radiation exposure and lifestyle-related factors, but it could be an indicator. You can also see how an unhealthy lifestyle and lifestyle-related diseases have become major health problems in our lives today.
The Japanese version of the manuscript was originally published in Fukushima Minyu, a local newspaper in Fukushima prefecture, Japan, 11th and 18th March 2018 was reproduced for MRIC Global under the author's permission.