There is a growing concern among health experts that the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic may lead to a wider adoption of unhealthy behaviors. Those behaviors could potentially lead to even more severe health problems in the future.
The leading health experts’ organizations have issued health warnings, and many people are heeding their advice.
According to a March 17 New York Times article, “healthcare providers are warning that a chronic lack of sleep, stress, and poor diet pose health risks to people during the pandemic.”
Chronic Lack of Sleep
Chronic lack of sleep has serious health implications. It not only prevents people from properly fighting off infections, it also weakens their bodies’ natural immune defenses, making them more prone to severe illnesses.
According to the Academy of Sleep Medicine, people need at least seven hours of sleep per night to remain healthy. Those who fail to get the recommended amount of sleep are likely to be more likely to suffer from chronic illnesses. They may also experience impaired cognitive performance, increased risks of injuries, and weight gain.
Stress is another significant factor that affects a person’s health. Experts are of the opinion that “stress-related mental and physical health issues are among the most pressing public health concerns during the pandemic.” Those who are most prone to stress tend to be individuals who are already at a high risk of chronic illnesses. Therefore, during the pandemic, they are likely to be at even greater risk of developing additional health problems.
According to the World Health Organization, those who are already experiencing mental health problems are more likely to be at risk of contracting the COVID-19 coronavirus, which may explain the reason behind the mounting number of cases of mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression, that have been reported since late January.
In addition to sleep and stress, diet is also considered a significant factor in promoting or hindering health. A healthy diet can help people maintain a healthy weight and minimize their risks of developing chronic illnesses. During the pandemic, people may be forced to alter their diet in order to limit their exposure to infections.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has warned that people who follow “imbalanced” diets, such as the “Western diet,” which is rich in fats and sugar, may be at an increased risk of developing chronic illnesses.
The organization suggests that people eat healthy foods, such as plants and whole grains, as well as avoid foods that are rich in saturated fats and sugar. They also recommend consuming adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals to maintain health.
Many people believe that seeking alternative medicine treatment during the pandemic is a dangerous and misguided idea. However, alternative medicine is quite effective in treating a number of illnesses, and there is no reason for people to be deprived of this treatment during the pandemic.
The problem is that most alternative medicine treatments are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Without adequate regulation, there is no way of knowing exactly what you are getting or whether or not it is actually going to do anything.
Many alternative medicine treatments are considered “bioidentical” to the human body. This means that they are quite similar in composition to human tissue and can be quite effective in treating certain illnesses. However, because they are not tested or regulated by the FDA, there is no way of knowing whether or not they are completely safe.
Watch Out For These Risk Factors
The health experts’ organizations, as well as many individual healthcare providers, are urging people to be on the lookout for the following important risk factors.
- Chronic lack of sleep
- Alternative medicine
Those who are experiencing one or more of these factors are likely to be at a higher risk of developing severe health problems during the pandemic. It is therefore important to remain vigilant and seek medical help if you experience any signs of infection.