By Shania Obrien For Daily Mail Australia
23:38 16 Nov 2023, updated 23:50 16 Nov 2023
Doctors have named what they believe to be the ‘worst thing’ a person can do to their body after years in the healthcare industry.
Medical professionals were asked to provide just one answer to the question on Reddit, with responses ranging from remaining ‘stagnant’ for long periods of time to drinking alcohol and smoking a cigarette.
Referring to the latter, one doctor said of all the deeply unhealthy habits, he could not think of any that is as ‘singularly unhealthy as cigarette smoking’.
Others said leaving chronic conditions like hypertension and diabetes untreated is a huge mistake, along with ignoring the warning signs of an underlying illness.
1) Doing ‘nothing’
‘Being stagnant with your body will literally kill you. Move around. Go walk. Bend your knees. Stretch,’ a doctor wrote.
‘Working out and moving around has helped so many issues in such a short time. The ole ‘sunshine and walks’ may be cliche and annoying to hear, but they haven’t been prescribing it for centuries for no reason.
‘You really do need to smell the after rain scent and watch the leaves move around to have a better day. And you can do it, everyone thinks they can’t when they’re in such a bad state but there are always ways to refresh your body.’
A sedentary lifestyle can cause digestive issues, poor circulation, poor mental health, and bone mass loss.
2) Drinking alcohol
Long-term alcohol consumption can cause cirrhosis and ultimate liver failure – which is ‘one of the worst deaths I can imagine’, a doctor said.
‘It’s long and slow while you get to think about the consequences of your actions while you lose your mind and/or bleed to death.’
‘I have watched so many alcoholic cirrhosis patients die. It was horrible seeing look on their faces when they realised even though they didn’t feel sick when they were admitted, they would not be leaving the hospital alive and there was nothing we could do to reverse it,’ a nurse added.
Another wrote: ‘Alcohol and smoking. No question.’
3) Ignoring the signs something is wrong
While some diseases are silent killers, many often come attracted with glaring red flags that demand immediate attention.
A doctor revealed that it was essential to know when you need to seek medical help.
‘Never ignore a clear, concise, and increasing sign that something is going wrong,’ he said.
‘You have a weird pain in your stomach? Okay, can be anything, no worries. You have a new pain, that stays the same or begins getting worse and worse, and after a long period of time it’s still clearly there? Then go get checked.’
A dentist said: ‘Smoking leads to bad oral health and mouth cancers. Bad oral health can lead to blood infections, endocarditis, cardiovascular disease, pneumonia, pregnancy complications. Just stop smoking. And yes, that includes the green stuff.’
‘Lung cancer is the least of your worries. Smoking destroys arteries. I do cardiac and vascular anesthesia and every day is a parade of hearts that don’t work, amputations, disgusting arterial leg bypasses, non-healing leg ulcers,’ another wrote.
A doctor added: ‘It’s no secret. Smoking is responsible for the highest number of preventable deaths.
‘Beyond that, it also lowers your quality of life badly. It increases your risk of a host of diseases and complicates many many others. Aside from lung cancer, it aggravates the risk of cervix, colon, skin, esophagus, larynx, liver, mouth and throat, pancreatic, stomach, and leukemia cancers.
‘So while there are many habits that are deeply unhealthy, I cannot think of any that is as singularly unhealthy as cigarette smoking.’
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5) Untreated chronic illnesses
Several doctors and nurses said that leaving chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol untreated can cause fatal complications.
‘Diabetes is a gateway to some of the worst possible things to experience. From flesh rotting away and dying to going into a coma – anything is possible,’ one said.
‘Untreated hypertension and diabetes. Oh and cocaine/crack, the coronary vasospasms will do a number on your heart,’ another said.
Obesity was mentioned by another.
‘It’s a chronic inflammatory state- a venous thromboembolism risk, a malignancy risk, a risk of obesity hypoventilation syndrome and sleep apnoea, and the risk of non alcoholic fatty liver disease.’ he said.
6) Being in constant contact with carcinogenic substances
Carcinogens are substances (like foods or high energy light) that directly alter your DNA or lead to your DNA being altered.
The mutations can sometimes lead to cells turning cancerous, and while the human body has systems to repair DNA damage, the processes aren’t always successful.
Carcinogenic activities include sunbathing, bleach, air fresheners, eating burnt food, inhaling mould, asbestos, and more.
‘Dumping all of those chemicals into your blood… blood delivers those carcinogens/ chemicals everywhere. It increases risk of pancreatic, kidney, bladder, and a slew of other cancers,’ a doctor said.
Sarah Carter is a health and wellness expert residing in the UK. With a background in healthcare, she offers evidence-based advice on fitness, nutrition, and mental well-being, promoting healthier living for readers.