Smoking, poor diet, alcohol, stress and lack of exercise are to blame

A large section of the population over 18 years of age (36.7 percent) takes medication on a long-term or regular basis for a specific problem. «This is a large percentage,» Kyriopoulos pointed out. Most Greeks (51.4 percent) take medicine for diseases related to the heart and blood circulation (as a result of a stroke, hypertension, cardiovascular deficiency or irregularities) and 25.9 percent for metabolic and endocrine disorders (such as Type II diabetes or high cholesterol). Lifestyle-related ills Next most commonly used are medicines for diseases concerning the muscular or skeletal system (15.9 percent), such as chronic arthritis, sciatica or a slipped disc, followed by lung-related disorders (9.4 percent), such as chronic bronchitis, asthma, emphysema and tuberculosis. These diseases are closely linked to the smoking epidemic that plagues the country, excessive consumption of meat, a lack of exercise, alcohol abuse and chronic stress. The findings of the study, which are to be discussed on November 13-16 at the second Panhellenic Conference on Health Management, Economics and Policy, organized by the National School for Public Health (ESDY), are highly alarming, said Kyriopoulos. «An extremely high number (46.8 percent) of the respondents were smokers, while 6.9 percent had stopped smoking. «The study also revealed that 5 percent of the participants exercised less than once a week – that is, hardly at all – and daily stress caused by work, family and social conditions had a serious effect on them. About 35 percent of the respondents said that they felt very stressed most or all the time. «In addition, one in three said that in the last month they had felt stressed for a certain period of time or for many hours. Excessive consumption of alcohol is also very common: 12.4 percent said that they drank every day and 10.6 percent three or four times a week. It might not be clinical alcoholism but these people are on the threshold.»

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