The Six Common and deadly killer diseases commonly caused by unhealthy habits include:
- Obesity: this is an excessive accumulation of fat in the body which leads to great increase in weight. It is determined by the index of BMI (Body Mass Index) whereby the weight in kilograms is divided by the height in meters squared. Overweight therefore is defined as a BMI of 25 to 29.9, while obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 or more. The primary cause of obesity is consumption of more calories (food) than the body needs or uses. It is also caused by insufficient exercise. Obesity favours the development of many other diseases such as diabetes mellitus, gall stones, hypertension, inguinal and hiatus hernia, varicose vein, uterine prolapse and tiredness from overwork on the heart and lungs.
- Diabetes mellitus: this is a metabolic disease characterized by excessive urination (with sugar in the urine), weight loss (due to excessive urination), excessive craving for water, and general body weakness. It has an attendant raised blood-sugar level as a result of inadequate secretion of a hormone called insulin. Contributory factors are overeating, alcohol consumption, excessive craving for sweetened/sugary foods and drinks. This, if not well controlled, will affect many other systems of the body and can cause diseases and/or untimely death. Change of feeding habit, regular exercise, and weight-shedding will go a long way to prevent diabetes.
- High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): High Blood Pressure means high pressure (tension) in the arteries. The arteries are the vessels that carry blood from the heart to all of the tissues and organs of the body. Normal blood pressure is between 90/60 and below 140/90mmHg. Thus, a blood pressure of 140/90mmHg and above is considered high blood pressure. The top number, which is known as the systolic blood pressure, represents the pressure in the arteries as the heart contracts and pumps blood into the arteries. The diastolic pressure, which is the bottom number, represents the pressure in the arteries as the heart after the contraction. The diastolic pressure, therefore, reflects the minimum pressure to which the arteries are exposed. 85-90% of people with high blood pressure have primary hypertension where the cause is unknown. 10-15% of people have secondary hypertension which is caused by other ailments such as kidney disorder or hormonal disorder. Hypertension can lead to heart-disease, stroke, paralysis and death. Predisposing factors include obesity, diabetes, emotional tension, stress and heredity.
- Tuberculosis: this is a chronic bacterial infection. It is spread through the air and usually infects the lungs, although other organs and parts of the body can be involved as well. Most people who are infected with tuberculosis at the latent stage harbour the bacterium without serious symptoms. Symptoms associated with this stage include weight loss, fever, night sweats, and loss of appetite. If the affected individual is adequately treated, he gets cured. However, if left untreated, the latent TB will degenerate into the active TB disease, which has chronic and debilitating symptoms, including severe cough, chest pain, and bloody sputum.
- Cancers: cancer is a disease of cells. It is an abnormal growth of cells which tend to proliferate in an uncontrolled way and, in some cases, to metastasize (spread). First, cells begin to grow out of control in the body. Second, those cells have the ability to travel from their original site to other locations in the body. If the spread is not controlled, cancer can result to death. The most common forms of cancer are skin cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer (mostly in women), and prostate cancer (mostly in men).
- HIV/AIDS: AIDS is a chronic, life-threatening condition caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). By damaging or destroying the cells of your immune system, HIV interferes with your body’s ability to effectively fight off viruses, bacteria and fungi that cause disease. This makes you more susceptible to certain types of cancers and to opportunistic infections your body would normally resist, such as pneumonia and meningitis. The virus and the infection itself are known as HIV. The term Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is used to mean the later stages of an HIV infection. Immoral sexual relationship, use of infected sharp instruments like needles, tattooing instruments, razor blade, shaving instruments, and transfusion of infected blood could cause HIV/AIDS and its attendant problems.
- Go for routine check-up at six-month interval.
- Sleep of 6-8 hours daily is ideal.
- Do regular BP checks at every available opportunity. You can buy your own digital sphygmomanometer (Blood Pressure equipment) to check your blood pressure regularly.
- Regular self-breast-examination, Pap smear and early reporting of any abnormal swelling or growth in any part of the body will help a lot in cancer screening and prevention.
- Eat good and balanced diet with fruits and vegetables at regular intervals and at the right time.
- Maintain good personal and environmental hygiene.
- Exercise regularly.
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