Health and Wellness

The Role of Health Promotion and Education in Preventing Chronic Diseases

The CDC defines chronic health conditions as illnesses that last a year or longer and often require extensive medical care and treatment. These diseases are severely debilitating and can limit your movement, interfere with your routine and wreck your lifestyle. While numerous chronic health conditions exist, illnesses like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are widely known. Furthermore, six in ten adults in the US have a chronic disease; at the same time, four in ten adults may have two or more of these health patterns. 

So if these diseases are a significant threat, how can you prevent them? Your best defense against chronic health diseases is to educate and empower the community against them. Gearing up the population allows them to look after themselves better and become more vigilant about their health. Here’s a deeper look at how you can do this:

Where Do You Begin?

Before you can help others manage their health, you need the proper credentials and qualifications to educate others. To understand chronic health conditions, you must study how common they are, what can be done to prevent them, and which illnesses are widespread. This involves extensively collecting data, expanding on it, and researching health patterns impacting the community. Since the education you require is immensely technical and structured, you need a post-grad degree to make sense of epidemiology. 

You can start your educational journey by pursuing a bachelor’s in medicine, social sciences, or any health-related field. Once you have an undergrad in the bag, top it up with a masters in health promotion and education to gain the necessary experience and knowledge to make you an expert in community wellness.

How Can Education Help With Chronic Diseases?

Education gives the community the tools they need to combat chronic diseases, which allows them to reduce their chances of getting them in the first place. The following depicts how:

1. Educate The Community On the Ins and Outs of Chronic Health Conditions

You can’t expect the community to ward off chronic health conditions unless they understand what these illnesses represent. It is essential that you distinguish between infectious diseases and chronic health cases. While one is communicable, the other is non-communicable and mainly occurs for several factors, such as a poor lifestyle, bad eating habits, and an unhealthy environment. Educating the population is a layered process. Take it slow; hold seminars, workshops, and even presentations in schools to get the conversation going. The more you shed light on the topic, the more the community will respond to your message.

Additionally, don’t shy away from naming these conditions; while heart attack and diabetes are well known, talk about diseases like epilepsy, obesity, and breast cancer. You need to help the community understand that chronic health conditions are complex diseases that can cause disabilities, have a long latency period, and cannot be cured; instead, they are managed. 

2. Discuss The Importance of Improving the Environment

Your environment plays a vital role in your health. If you’re surrounded by a healthy environment, it can encourage you to take up habits that are beneficial for your well-being. Therefore, get proactive about cleaning up the environment and implementing changes that can boost your overall health. One of the leading causes of health problems is smoking. Cigarettes contain nicotine and tar, which are incredibly harmful to your health. Likewise, cigarette smoke can also contribute to your declining health, causing diseases like heart conditions, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and lung diseases. 

So, if smoking can hurt you as an individual, imagine the effect it would have on a community. Through simple measures, you can effectively reduce the impact cigarettes have on the population by banning cigarettes in workplaces, ensuring college students cannot purchase them quickly, and prohibiting all cigarettes in public spaces, especially those frequented by children. 

On a larger scale, you should advocate for areas allowing people to walk and bike to work instead of taking cars. Not only does this reduce air pollution, but it is also excellent for the population’s overall health, improving their well-being.

3. Encourage Healthy Habits

It would help if you started pushing for healthier lunches in schools and offices. While fast food is easy to obtain, these meals contain empty calories. People need healthy, nutritious meals in the form of grilled meat, salads, soups, bread, and fruits. These food items contain essential vitamins and minerals necessary for growth and metabolism. Other habits include encouraging people to become more physically active. Working out improves your overall physique, tones your muscles, makes your organs healthier, and reduces the chances of illnesses like heart disease and obesity. 

There are many ways to support people to exercise. You can suggest state-level policies that allow the creation of more gyms and exercise centers in various neighborhoods. Those uncomfortable working out in public can try working out at home by watching tapes, following online regimes, and YouTube videos that can guide them on easy exercises. Children should also be encouraged to become more physically active; starting early can help them build lifelong habits that benefit their health.

4. Advocate For Screening Tests

It would help if you didn’t visit a doctor only for emergencies; instead, make it a part of your routine. Early screenings allow doctors to catch illnesses before they progress to dangerous stages. This can make your symptoms manageable and ensure you get timely help, allowing you to recover smoothly. For instance, The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that women who are 50 to 74 years old should get a mammogram every two years for breast cancer. 

Older women are more prone to developing lumps, so they can subside the risk of coming down with this disease through early intervention. Similarly, the population should be advised to get screened for colon, cervical, and lung cancer, especially if their family history is riddled with these illnesses. Early intervention saves lives and reduces the ferocity of the disease.

Final Thoughts

Chronic illnesses are painful, long-term diseases that can worsen with time if not treated immediately. Unfortunately, despite knowing how terrible these conditions are, chronic diseases are prevalent in the community, and most don’t realize their unhealthy lifestyles are a major contributing factor. The only way the community can protect itself against these diseases involves learning about them, proactively implementing changes, and adopting healthier lifestyles. 


Darsh is a blogger and previous owner of this website.

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