“10 Common Diseases, The Causes, And Prevention Measures For Each”

By: Floramae Noroño

Numerous common diseases affect people worldwide. While it is impossible to cover all of them in detail, here are some prevalent diseases, their causes, and associated general prevention measures:

1. Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs):  According to World Health Organization (WHO), Cardiovascular Diseases are the leading cause of death globally. Check this link to learn more about CVDs.

  • Causes: High blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, smoking, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, diabetes, family history.
  • Prevention: Maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet, engaging in regular physical activity, avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption, managing stress, and getting regular check-ups to monitor blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels.

2. Respiratory Infections (e.g., Influenza, Pneumonia): According to NHS, these are infections of body parts involved in breathing, such as the sinuses, throat, airways, or lungs. Most RTIs get better without treatment, but sometimes you may need to see a GP. You can see the complete article here.

  • Causes: Viruses, bacteria, fungi, and other infectious agents spread through respiratory droplets.
  • Prevention: Practice good respiratory hygiene by covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow when coughing or sneezing, washing your hands regularly, avoiding close contact with individuals who have respiratory infections, and getting vaccinated against diseases like influenza and pneumonia.

3. Diabetes: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy.

Your body breaks down most of the food into sugar (glucose) and releases it into your bloodstream. When your blood sugar goes up, your pancreas releases insulin. Insulin is vital in letting blood sugar into your body’s cells for use as energy. Find the complete article here.

  • Causes: Insufficient insulin production or inefficient use of insulin in the body, genetic factors, obesity, sedentary lifestyle.
  • Prevention: Maintain a healthy weight, engage in regular physical activity, consume a balanced diet low in sugar and refined carbohydrates, and get regular check-ups to monitor blood sugar levels.

4. Cancer:  The second-leading cause of death worldwide. You can check here for complete information regarding cancers.

  • Causes: Various factors, including genetic mutations, exposure to carcinogens (e.g., tobacco, radiation, certain chemicals), family history, chronic inflammation, and certain infections.
  • Prevention: Quit smoking or avoid tobacco altogether, limit alcohol consumption, protect yourself from excessive sun exposure, maintain a healthy weight, engage in regular physical activity, get vaccinated against cancer-causing viruses like human papillomavirus (HPV) and hepatitis B, and undergo regular screenings for common cancers.

5.  Asthma:  According to World Health Organization (WHO), it is a primary noncommunicable disease (NCD) affecting children and adults and is the most common chronic disease among children. Inflammation and narrowing of the small airways in the lungs cause asthma symptoms, which can be any combination of cough, wheeze, shortness of breath, and chest tightness.

  • Causes: Genetic predisposition, environmental factors (e.g., allergens, pollution), respiratory infections, tobacco smoke.
  • Prevention: Identify and avoid triggers that worsen asthma symptoms (e.g., allergens, smoke), follow prescribed medication and treatment plans, maintain good indoor air quality, and engage in regular physical activity.

6. Stroke: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),  stroke is sometimes called a brain attack. It occurs when something blocks the blood supply to part of the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. In either case, parts of the brain become damaged or die. A stroke can cause lasting brain damage, long-term disability, or death. Learn about the health conditions and lifestyle habits that can increase your risk for stroke here.

  • Causes: Blocked or ruptured blood vessels in the brain, usually due to blood clots, high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, sedentary lifestyle.
  • Prevention: Control high blood pressure, maintain a healthy weight, engage in regular physical activity, avoid smoking, limit alcohol consumption, manage diabetes, and maintain a healthy diet low in saturated fats and cholesterol.

7. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): 

According to Alila Medical Media, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a PROGRESSIVE inflammatory lung disease characterized by breathing difficulty. Other symptoms include cough, mostly with mucus, chest tightness, and wheezing. COPD develops due to LONG-TERM exposure to irritants such as smoke, chemical fumes, and dust and may go UNNOTICED for years. Most people show symptoms after age 40 when the disease is already advanced. See the video for precise information.  COPD – Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Animation.

  • Causes: Prolonged exposure to irritants, especially tobacco smoke, air pollution, occupational dust or chemicals, and genetic factors.
  • Prevention: Avoid tobacco smoke (active and passive), limit exposure to environmental pollutants, protect yourself from respiratory infections, and seek early treatment for respiratory symptoms.

8. Kidney Disease:  According to Vejthani Hospital, Kidney disease is one of the most common diseases that can occur to everyone, not only to the elderly. The most common risk factors for kidney disease are diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, inflammation in the kidney, kidney stones, medicines that affect the kidney, or chemical exposure. Besides these risk factors, lousy eating behaviors and lifestyles such as not drinking enough water, consuming too salty–spicy foods, consuming fermented foods or processed foods, being obese, cigarette smoking, stress, and not getting enough sleep can also increase the risk of kidney disease. See the full article here.

Prevention: Maintain a healthy weight, control blood pressure and blood sugar levels, stay hydrated, avoid excessive over-the-counter pain medications, avoid smoking, and get regular check-ups to monitor kidney function.

9. Hepatitis: Hunterdon Gastroenterology Associates states it is liver inflammation. The condition can improve without treatment or progress to scarring (cirrhosis) or liver cancer. These viruses are the most common cause of hepatitis in the world but infections, toxic substances (e.g., alcohol, certain drugs), and autoimmune diseases can also be causes. To learn more about hepatitis and its different type, click this article.

  • Causes: Viral infections (hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E), typically transmitted through contaminated food or water, blood transfusions, sexual contact, or sharing needles.
  • Prevention: Practice safe sex, avoid sharing needles or other drug paraphernalia, get vaccinated against hepatitis viruses, practice good hygiene (e.g., handwashing), and be cautious when getting tattoos or piercings.

10.  Gastrointestinal Disorders (e.g., Gastroenteritis, Gastric Ulcers):

According to Sonambekar Multispeciality Hospital, a gastrointestinal disorder is A disease occurring in a person’s gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This tract includes some hollow organs in a long passage from our mouth to the anus. Thus, it consists of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, and anus. Numerous conditions can affect the GI tract, which in turn hamper digestion and, ultimately overall health of an individual. Check the full article here.

  • Prevention: Practice good hygiene (e.g., handwashing), ensure food safety (proper cooking and storage), drink clean water, maintain proper sanitation, avoid excessive alcohol consumption, quit smoking, and manage stress.

Please note that these causes and prevention measures are general. For specific advice and guidance, it is always recommended to consult healthcare professionals who can provide personalized information based on individual circumstances and medical history. Most significantly, to have an annual examination for early prevention.

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