Diseases, no matter how trivial, tend to change the way you go about your day in a significant manner. While that minor cold you caught last week might not do you much harm, it does make having an unblocked nose feel like an absolute privilege. 😷 The only good thing about a cold is that you can cure it almost as easily as you catch it. Chronic diseases, however, present an entirely different health challenge, stress, anxiety and pain among them.
Over 1,000 Britons are diagnosed with some form of cancer each day. These people are forced to live with constant fear and, in few cases, dwindling hope.💔 While illnesses like cancer and tuberculosis might not seem as ‘common’ as a common cold, their incidence in the U.K is certainly higher than you can imagine. But how common are these illnesses?
Here are the 7 most common chronic illnesses in the U.K
Coronary heart disease (CHD)
Simply put, CHD is long term damage, blockage or in worse cases both, in the heart’s major blood vessels. This severely restricts the flow of blood to your heart and poses a fatal risk.
It is barely a surprise that heart disease is the biggest silent killer in the U.K. One of the leading causes of death worldwide, coronary heart disease, claims an average of 180 lives every day in Britain. CHD can be caused by genetic inheritance and a callous lifestyle (you might want to consider cutting down on binge drinking!🍺).
Cancer deaths have become alarmingly common in the last decade. This can be partly attributed to the fact the U.K does fall behind a few other European countries when it comes to timely and accessible treatment for cancer. As a result, it is estimated that by 2030, almost four million people in the U.K will have some form of cancer.
A stroke occurs when your brain cells don’t receive enough blood. This causes a severe lack of oxygen and nutrients in the brain tissue, which then degenerates/kills it. Alcoholism, injury-related or genetic damage to the brain can induce a stroke. Strokes, too, have become incredibly common in the U.K in the past decade or so. They are the third-largest cause of death and the leading cause of disability in Britons. As many as 150,000 people in the country suffer from strokes every year.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
While it might sound like a super rare genetic mutation (perhaps one that gives you superpowers 🦸), COPD is just an umbrella term used for severe respiratory illnesses like asthma and tuberculosis. Apart from chemical/exhaust fumes and dust, smoking is one of the leading causes of COPD in the U.K. While it might sound overused and harrowing, it is probably in your best interest to throw that pack of Sterlings away.
Dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease)
Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease have risen above many others in the death count list in the last decade. While most forms of Dementia only affect people above the age of 65, related psychosis episodes affect a sizable number of young people too. The most famous example of this is economist John Nash and his battle with schizophrenia as depicted in Ridley Scot’s A Beautiful Mind (A great weekend watch, by the way!).
Combined, these diseases caused the second most deaths in January 2021 in the U.K, only behind Covid-19. They were also the leading pre-existing chronic conditions seen in patients who lost their life to Covid.
Hepatic diseases like Hepatitis and cirrhosis are another leading cause of death in the U.K. The major cause for these diseases (don’t mind the re-iteration) is obesity and heavy drinking. Patients often experience chronic abdominal pain and in worse cases, the constant need for artificial dialysis.
Around 4.9 million people in the U.K are currently suffering from some form of diabetes. A whopping 90% of these people have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes (the fatal kind) which, in most cases, is chronic. How can you prevent yourself from developing a diabetic disorder? By switching to a smaller carbonara casserole, for starters! After the age of 40, fatty tissue severely affects your body’s ability to use insulin. This leads to an imbalance in your blood sugar levels, which can lead to diabetes.
Chronic diseases are a scary yet important educational topic. We suggest reading more on the leading causes of death in the U.K from trusted sources such as the NHS. And be sure to schedule regular health checkups that cover all major chronic diseases. 💛
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