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We Malaysians often go about our routines day in, day out, not giving much thought to what we do. Late night mamak sessions, sleeping in, and many other things we do seem like harmless everyday activities. However, it’s these seemingly harmless little things we do that are slowly killing us, day by day.

Don’t want to be one of the thousands of Malaysians at risk of dying at an early age? Read on and find out what some of the little things are that you need to stop doing like, right now.

A WHOLE LOT of us do it. However, according to a study by the American Heart Association, it was found that plastic bottles can contain Bisphenol A (BPA). The BPA chemicals can leach into your beverage and you. These chemicals are known for causing decreased heart rate variability and high blood pressure.

This is also why we are advised to never drink from plastic bottles that are left in our cars under the sun, especially since reusing plastic bottles is such a common Malaysian thing to do. Start opting for clean, BPA-free containers instead!

Speaking of drinks, for many Malaysians, ordering an icy cold sugary drink when we’re out for lunch, especially on a hot day, is a common ritual. However, a study carried out by Harvard found that a regular intake of sugary drinks increases our chances at type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other chronic conditions, which, if not treated properly will ultimately lead to death.

According to an article by Straits Times, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends a sugar intake of below five percent to stay healthy. This means that an average person who needs 1,800kcal of energy daily should consume less than 22grams of sugar. However, popular beverages like Pepsi, Coke, and even Sprite contain almost 30grams of sugar. Just one can is more than what is required for an entire day! Let’s not forget our teh tarik and how despite asking for ‘kurang, KURANG manis’, it’s almost always still extremely ‘manis’. How much sugar is even in this drink?!

For those of us who work or attend classes (or just love to laze), sometimes we can’t help but sit for hours and hours before getting up. However, research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that sitting too long could kill you, even if you exercise regularly. Although underlying reasons are unclear, some researchers believe sitting too long causes reductions in insulin sensitivity. Jeng jeng jeng!

Don’t worry; just make sure you get off your butt every 30 minutes if you want to live longer.  

Many Malaysians are oblivious to the dangers caused by these gadgets. According to The Star, a study done by Miros found that 80 percent of road accidents here are caused by human negligence, and this included the use of mobile phones.

It’s not just the drivers either, walking while texting or playing with our phones is also incredibly dangerous. Unfortunately, many take this issue far too lightly. In fact, a study by MATEC found that distracted pedestrians contributed to 500 deaths each year. Additionally, many cases that involve individuals getting seriously injured while using their mobile phones have also been reported. Text responsibly!  

Malaysian favourites that can be incredibly bad for health include nasi lemak, curry laksachar kuey teowsatay, grilled chicken wings and other hawker store favourites! A heavy intake of these types of food can result in high blood pressure, cholesterol and an increase in weight or BMI. This isn’t to say that we can’t enjoy local delights, as there’s always the choice to eat healthier versions of local favourites, but just be careful not to have too much!

You’re guilty of this, aren’t you? Honestly, so are we… According to CNN, a study published by Dr. Gregory Marcus, professor of medicine at the University of California, found that increased smartphone use during bedtime was closely associated with a longer time to fall asleep or worse sleeping quality during the night. Just like coffee! This is mainly caused by the light emitting from our phones that affects our circadian rhythm and messes up our internal clock. Electronic lights also delay the release of melatonin–a hormone that plays a major role in our sleep-wake cycle and induces tiredness–and thus makes it harder for us to fall asleep.

Sleep is a restorative process and a basic biological need for everyone. So, if you don’t get enough good quality sleep, it can lead to serious health conditions!

Here’s to all of us who love sleeping past lunchtime! Unfortunately, doing so and sleeping for nine hours or more can increase our chances at early mortality. A study done by the University of Sydney found that excessive sleeping (and sitting) can be as bad as smoking and drinking! Studies have shown that oversleeping increases the levels of cytokines in the body, and this causes chronic inflammation to take place, which leads to diabetes, heart diseases and obesity as well.

Getting less than six hours of sleep can also lead to high blood pressure! So, make sure you balance your sleeping time, folks.

With our busy schedules, we often choose to delay medical check ups until the very last minute or when our condition worsens. Some Malaysians even view check ups as ‘pantang’. However, dangerous conditions don’t always have noticeable symptoms and many people don’t even realise they have high blood pressure and high cholesterol (which is why check-ups are important!). While some might suspect they have high BMI, they might not realise the full impact it has on their health. Nevertheless, a few simple steps can make a drastic change to your health and your life!

Finally, if you or someone you know is faced with the three “Highs”–high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high BMI–then you need to know that these conditions increase your risk of serious critical illnesses that can shorten your life. However, this shouldn’t make you feel helpless or stop you from enjoying life!

Sufferers of the three Highs can also get peace of mind and protection while working towards the change.

It will also get us out of that vulnerable position we’re in when it comes to insurance plans, and help us both medically and financially.

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