Chronic diseases are characterized by being diseases that have a slow development and a long duration, many of them still do not have a cure. They are categorized into two types: chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and communicable ones.
NCDs, according to studies published by the IBGE, represent 70% of deaths in Brazil. This type of disease is associated with high age or the person’s lifestyle, such as poor diet, stress, and sedentary lifestyle, which are aspects that are very present in today’s society.
Chronic infectious diseases, on the other hand, are transmissible and caused by invading organisms such as viruses and parasites.
I) See what are the 10 main and most common chronic diseases in Brazil
1) High Cholesterol
High cholesterol level is directly linked to excessive consumption of fatty foods. This factor is very harmful to health, can lead to a heart attack, and also increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
According to a survey carried out by the IBGE, at least 12.5% of Brazilians, that is, 18.4 million people in the country, have already been diagnosed with high cholesterol.
2) COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
Also called emphysema or chronic bronchitis, the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a disease that causes breathing difficulties because it causes inflammation in the bronchi. It can also cause coughing and phlegm.
It is usually caused by constant inhalation of smoke or gases that harm health, as a result of this, it is very common among smokers.
Hypertension, or simply high blood pressure as it is popularly called, is a disease that constricts blood vessels, thus forcing the heart to work harder.
Symptoms only appear when the disease has already harmed the body, including headache, dizziness, and malaise. Hypertension is capable of triggering several other problems such as cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, heart attack, and stroke. During the survey, 31.3 million people claimed to have been diagnosed with the disease.
Osteoporosis, like hypertension, is a silent disease. Its symptoms may appear only when the disease is already at a high level.
It is responsible for causing the bones to weaken by reducing the amount of calcium, which can cause frequent injuries.
5) Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a chronic disease that affects the body’s central nervous system, causing constant tremors. It is a degenerative disease, it can lead a person to progressively lose muscle control and balance, if not properly controlled with medication.
6) Alzheimer’s Disease
Another chronic progressive disease is Alzheimer’s, it is a genetic disease and is also the most common cause of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is capable of destroying memories and severely impairing other brain functions.
It interferes with the behavior of the diagnosed person, depriving them of being able to carry out simple day-to-day activities, abruptly compromising their way of thinking and discerning.
Asthma occurs due to inflammation that affects the airways, impairing breathing and causing shortness of breath, wheezing, and coughing. Several factors trigger it such as weather, house dust, animal hair, smoke, flu, or colds. In Brazil, the equivalent of 6.3 million people is declared to suffer from the disease according to the IBGE.
Diabetes is a chronic disease that comes from two specific types; type 1 diabetes, which occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, leading to excess blood sugar; and type 2 which is related to how the body processes the entry of sugar into the blood.
Both types can trigger a variety of other health problems. According to the survey, 9.1 million Brazilians said they had some type of diabetes.
Stroke, popularly known as stroke, is one of the main causes of death and disability, not only in Brazil but in the world. As the study found, 1.5% of the Brazilian population, a number that corresponds to 2.2 million people, have already had a stroke.
A stroke occurs due to disruption of blood vessels responsible for the brain, its symptoms are headache, loss of vision, muscle weakness, and paralysis.
Cancer is one of the best-known diseases, precisely because of its level of severity and for being responsible for most deaths of people who are diagnosed. The IBGE survey revealed that 2.7 million Brazilians were diagnosed with the disease.
It is a very aggressive disease that comes from the disordered growth of abnormal cells, these cells spread quickly and are capable of invading other vital parts of the body, and forming malignant tumors that can compromise life if not discovered in their early stages and properly treated.
Cancer can arise from a family relationship, that is, hereditary, but it can also be developed by smoking cigarettes, or by irregular exposure to other types of carcinogens, including sunlight, x-rays, chemicals, among others.
II) How to prevent chronic diseases?
Most chronic diseases are preventable, except that acquired hereditary. The key to preserving yourself is maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It is necessary to have habits that benefit our body, such as physical exercise, good nutrition involving fruits and vegetables, and, of course, quitting smoking.
Even those already diagnosed with some type of chronic disease, often the good lifestyle helps to control the symptoms and thus it will not get worse and even prolong life.