The causes (risk factors) of chronic diseases are well known. A small number of common risk factors are responsible for most of the main chronic diseases. These risk factors are modifiable and the same in men and women. Modifiable risk factors are factors that a person has control over in their life:
These major modifiable risk factors, along with risk factors that we cannot control (non-modifiable) like age and family history, are the cause of most cases of heart disease, stroke, chronic respiratory diseases and some important cancers.
By leading a healthy lifestyle, you can decrease your risk of developing a chronic disease. This includes:
- Being smoke/tobacco free.
- Eating well using Canada’s Food Guide.
- Getting active.
- Reducing stress and learning to cope with stress in a healthy way.
- Limit your alcohol consumption – follow the low-risk drinking guidelines.
Source: World Health Organization. “Chronic disease and their common risk factors”. Retrieved from: www.who.int.