For the Newbies, KFB ‘Know Your Health’ is a weekly column (Tuesdays)
where we discuss health issues. Staying healthy is the key to living
Finding out how healthy you are is the first step to getting healthier and that’s basically what we shall be handling here…make some noise people!
Did you know there are five other diseases deadlier than AIDS?
we sometimes wished we took ill while growing up, so that we can have access to
some “unmerited luxury”?
are grown, we understand better that sicknesses are not as friendly as we
thought they were, but they are beyond any doubt the major cause of mortalities
statistics have shown, no disease is mild. While some might be deadlier than
others, they all pose a major threat to good life.
has taken a look at five diseases that are deadlier than AIDS.
Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is the virus that transmits the Acquired Immune
Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), one of the fiercest diseases around and it has been
so for decades. HIV can be contracted when body fluids in a carrier infects a
healthy person; it can be in form of sexual intercourse, blood transfusion or
sharing of body piercing objects.
this virus maybe, it cannot survive outside a living cell. More consoling is
the fact that scientists have discovered antidotes or suppressants that can
help manage this disease. The World Health Organisation (WHO) made bold to say
that new global efforts have been mounted to address the epidemic particularly
in the last decade. Prevention has helped to reduce HIV prevalence in a number
of countries and new HIV infections are believed to be on the decline.
some diseases have proven more ruthless and developed resistance than HIV.
Diabetes is a condition where the amount
of glucose in the body is too high because the body cannot properly utilise
either type I diabetes, which is caused as a result of lack of insulin in the
body or type II diabetes, which is caused as a result of the insulin not
to online research, diabetes complications are the third leading cause of death
in Nigeria. Diet affects this disease as much as it does cancer. Overweight
people who eat diets high in refined processed foods and sugary goodies and low
in fibre are more likely to develop diabetes as they grow older.
the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) said that “diabetes affects more
than 366 million people worldwide, it kills more people than AIDS and cancer
combined. In fact, if diabetes were to be a country, it would be the fourth
largest in the world. Sadly, 80 per cent of people with diabetes are from low
and middle income nations. Half of the people with diabetes don’t know they
have it and the number keeps increasing.”
said that “every seven seconds, someone dies from diabetes and every 20
seconds, someone is amputated. By 2030, it is projected that at least 550
million people will have diabetes that is approximately 10 percent of the
world’s adult population.”
Centre for Disease Control (CDC) defined
malaria as a mosquito-borne disease caused by a parasite. People with malaria
often experience fever, chills and flu-like illness. Left untreated, they may
develop severe complications and die. In 2010, an estimated 219 million cases
of malaria occurred worldwide and 660,000 people died most (91 per cent) in the
vein, WHO, said malaria is responsible for as many as half the deaths of
African children under the age of five. The disease kills more than one million
children – 2,800 per day – each year in Africa alone. In regions of intense
transmission, 40 per cent of toddlers may die of acute malaria.
Cancer is one of the most fatal diseases
today. Cancer begins in the basic building blocks of the human body, the cells,
states Medline Plus, a National Institutes of Health website. The disease
causes the cells to reproduce even when new cells are not needed. These excess
cells do not age and begin to form a mass called a tumor. Tumors only become
cancerous when they start to invade nearby tissues and grow in other parts of
the body. These tumors are called malignant cancerous tumors.
recent alarm on rising global incidence of cancer by WHO should worry African
countries, including Nigeria, where the disease is most prevalent.
statistics showed that cancer killed 7.6 million persons in 2008 worldwide, and
there is indication that the figure could double to 13 million by 2030.
the global health body, cancer accounts for 13 per cent of all deaths
registered globally and 70 per cent of that figure occurs in middle and low
in Nigeria, about 10,000 cancer deaths are recorded annually while 250,000 new
cases are recorded yearly. It is also worrisome that only 17 percent of African
countries are said to have sufficiently funded cancer control programmes, while
less than half of all countries in the world have functional plans to prevent
the disease and provide treatment and care to patients.
Dr Catherine Kyobutungi, a researcher at
The African Population and Health Research Centre (APHRC) defined high blood
pressure as a silent killer. “In most cases, it does not present obvious
symptoms that compel the sufferer to seek medical attention – yet it is a
serious life-threatening condition. It is the most common cause of heart
attacks, heart failure, stroke and other complications.”
Dr Sam Oti, a researcher at APHRC also said that “Hypertension is now common in
the slums, especially amongst older people suffering from diabetes and obesity,
but the rates of awareness, treatment, and control are extremely low, people do
not know that they are sick and are not seeking treatment as a result.”
Okubanjo, a pharmacist said that “high blood pressure affects both slim and fat
people; it can even be inherited from the parents. It is called a silent killer
because it doesn’t come with symptoms. Consumption of alcoholics is one of the
major causes of this silent killer. It is important that people check their
blood pressure regularly to know their status.”
WHO, more people (12.5 per cent in Sub Saharan Africa) die from cardiovascular
diseases compared HIV/AIDS (12.3 percent).
billion of the world’s population had hypertension in the year 2000 and is
expected to rise by 40 percent by 2025.
date, little research has been done to prevent, test for or study the
incidences or impacts of high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, and
other lifestyle diseases in Africa.
B virus (HBV)
According to WHO, hepatitis B is caused
by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). The virus interferes with the functions of the
liver and activates the immune system, which produces a specific reaction to
combat the virus. As a consequence of pathological damage, the liver becomes
transmitted by contact with blood or body fluids of an infected person, the
same way as the Human immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). However, HBV is 50 to 100
times more infectious than HIV.
Group Nigeria, a research organisation on hepatitis said that “Most of the
people who are infected (almost two-thirds) are unaware of the infection and
this has resulted in the silent HBV infection becoming one of the biggest
threat to the health of the world. The general perception is that HIV virus is
very infectious and contagious, however, Hepatitis B Virus is 100 times more
infectious than HIV, if not properly monitored or treated. HBV infection can
kill 25 per cent of the infected people due to liver cancer or liver failure
despite the existence a vaccine, Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) infection kills one
person every 30 to 45 seconds.