The Warning Signs of the 5 most Serious Diseases

By Marisse Gabrielle Reyes, 05 January 2018 1845

Health is indeed wealth - without it, our quality of life can suffer greatly. Looking after your wellbeing of mind and body are crucial to getting what you want out of life. We often look at the brighter side of things, and practice a healthy and wholesome lifestyle that may include low stress, high levels of happiness, great diet and exercise. But we tend to focus less on the darker side of this, to educate yourself on the warning signs of disease. Five of the most serious diseases in today's world include coronary artery disease, Alzheimer's, diabetes, stroke and lower respiratory infections. Read on to discover the early warning signs and what you can do to manage the disease and/or prevent it all together.


 
Coronary artery disease

Do you feel burning, aching, pressure or numbness in your chest? Are you experiencing shortness of breath, palpitations, sweating, dizziness and/or nausea? These are the most common symptoms of coronary artery disease, which occurs when plaque is found inside the coronary arteries, the passages that supply blood and oxygen to your heart. This build up increases the risk of heart attacks and blood clots.

Take action: If you experience any symptoms, make sure to see a doctor right away. He/she may order diagnostics like an ECG, echo, or stress test and administer medication and/or lifestyle changes.

The risks: Old age and being a male can increase your likelihood of having the disease. Family history and lifestyle factors such as smoking, stress and weight are factors as well.

Preventing the disease: Lifestyle elements like good diet, low stress and exercise are very effective in preventing coronary artery disease. If you are a smoker, you may want to consider consuming more of foods like milk, orange juice and vegetables like celery, cucumber and eggplant. Milk and such vegetables will leave a bitter after-taste when had before smoking, reducing your urge. Orange juice will also replace your vitamin C which smoking depletes, and hence minimizes your cravings. It's also important to keep other conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes under control.


 
Stroke

Are you experiencing sudden confusion, headache, facial drooping or numbness on one side of the body? Maybe you have difficulties in seeing, speaking and/or walking? If so, you may be experiencing a stroke. A stroke is when a part of your brain is deprived of blood supply. It is considered a medical emergency as brain cells begin to die during a stroke.

Take action: Call emergency services right away if you suspect you or someone you know is having a stroke. Time is extremely crucial.

The risks: High blood pressure, smoking, poor diet, obesity, lack of exercise, diabetes, cholesterol levels, peripheral artery disease, atrial fibrillation, sickle cell disease and more are risk factors involved with stroke.

Preventing the disease: Avoiding high blood pressure and obesity can decrease your likelihood of getting a stroke. Managing your lifestyle such as engaging in healthy eating and exercise and keeping stress at bay are also ways to prevent this disease. If you need extra help keeping your nerves down, consider starting a mindfulness or meditation practice. Many free apps, such as Calm and Stop, Breathe & Think, merge technology with zen by providing meditations, breathing exercises and more. To boost your work-out motivation, however, switch on some high energy music, put on your running shoes and get moving.


 
Diabetes

Are you experiencing increased appetite and thirst? Perhaps you are urinating more frequently, have dry mouth, fatigue and/or weight loss? If you've answered 'yes' to any of these, you may have diabetes. This disease occurs when blood sugar levels are too high because your body doesn't make enough or any insulin. Insulin is a crucial element that helps your body use the sugar as energy. There are various types of diabetes, such as type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes.

Take action: Make an appointment with your doctor if you suspect you have diabetes. There are several ways to test if you have diabetes, such as taking the Oral Glucose Tolerance Test or the A1C test. Get tested for diabetes regularly if you're above the age of 45.

The risks: You are placed at risk for diabetes if you are overweight, have a poor diet and don't exercise. If you have a family history of diabetes and/or have high blood pressure, low levels of HDL and triglycerides, then your risk factors for diabetes are increased.

Preventing the disease: You can manage your risk for diabetes with good exercise, a healthy diet and keeping your weight in a healthy range. Don’t let high gym membership fees deter you from getting in your exercise, as there are several free and fun fitness classes to partake in across the island such as KpopX Fitness, Zumba, Piloboxing and Kickboxing. Also make sure that you manage your blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol. Also, if you are a smoker, it's worth it to consider giving it up – your battle with diabetes can depend on it.


 
Lower respiratory infections

Perhaps you are experiencing flu-like symptoms such as nasal and/or lung congestion, cough, sore throat, fatigue and/or runny nose? Maybe you are having breathing difficulties like breathlessness and/or wheezing? If so, you may be experiencing a lower respiratory infection such as bronchitis and pneumonia.

Take action: Get treated for your infection right away and make sure to complete your medication and rest until you've fully recovered. Your doctor may call for a respiratory exam and conduct lung function tests, depending on the severity of your condition.

The risks: You may be at risk for lower respiratory infections if you are very young or old; have the flu; are a smoker; and are exposed to bad air quality.

Preventing the disease: The best way to prevent an infection of the lower respiratory system is by getting vaccinated against pneumonia and influenza every year. Make sure to practice good hygiene such as washing your hands and keeping your hands away from your face. To keep your hands extra clean, it may help to get in the habit of carrying around hand sanitizer. Closed, air conditioned spaces such as your office can be a hot bed for viruses and harmful bacteria so make sure to wipe down your desk, keyboard and phones regularly. If you have fallen sick, it's important that you rest until you recover completely to prevent an escalation or relapse.


 
Alzheimer's and Dementia

Do you encounter memory problems and/or confusion? Maybe you are experiencing poor judgment and a withdrawal from work and social activities? If this is the case, you may be experiencing the progressive disease, Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia. This disease is a general term for those that suffer from a reduction of cognitive abilities that affect one's daily life.

Take action: Make an appointment with your doctor if you suspect you have Alzheimer's. There is no single test to diagnose this disease. Instead, doctors may carefully evaluate your medical history and conduct mental, mood, physical and neurological tests.

The risks: The most important factors in your risk for Alzheimer's include old age, family history, head trauma and poor social engagement.

Preventing the disease: Most of the risk factors, such as genetics, age, and sex, for Alzheimer's can't be changed. However there is evidence that exercise, social engagement, healthy diet, mental stimulation can prevent its progression. It’s important not to withdraw from your social circles and community in your golden years, so make it a point to keep in touch with your family and friends. It may also help to get a healthy amount of sleep and keep stress under control. Omega-3 fatty acids are also said to help prevent Alzheimer's and dementia, so make sure to include lots of cold-water fish like tuna, trout, salmon and sardines in your diet.


 
Now that you've been made aware of the symptoms, risk factors and ways to prevent some of the most serious diseases facing our communities today, it's crucial to take action. Income's VivoLife, now available online, is a great option to consider. Their Early Protect Accelerator covers even advanced stage conditions such as stroke, Alzheimer's and coronary artery bypass surgery. Ensure that you make your health one of your top priorities so that you can live out a long and fulfilling life for you and your loved ones. 



    

Important Notes:
This article is meant purely for informational purposes and should not be relied upon as financial advice. The precise terms, conditions and exclusions of any Income products mentioned are specified in their respective policy contracts. For customised advice to suit your specific needs, consult an Income insurance advisor.

This advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. 


 

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