How likely are you to contract these critical illnesses

With modernisation and urbanisation, our lifestyle and diet have undergone a sea change. As modern life has become more convenient with new technologies, it has also led us to live a sedentary lifestyle and becoming careless with our body’s normal rhythms and cycles.

The number of communicable and non-communicable diseases that threatens our life today is unprecedented. Whereas communicable diseases are triggered for a short time, and they go into hibernation, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the most threatening to human lives today.

NCDs such as cancer, heart disease, lung disorders, liver disease and kidney failure are the five prominent critical illnesses in the world. These critical illnesses are responsible for millions of deaths and financial distress for millions of families across the world. Cardiovascular disease alone kills an average of 24 lakh people per year in India while the average cost of treatment is over Rs. 3 lakh.

Thanks to critical illness insurance and cancer protection plans that help a policyholder bear the high cost of medical treatment for these diseases.

In today’s day and age, whether you live in an urban or rural area, you may likely suffer from any of these critical illnesses. We will discuss the five major critical illnesses in India and understand how likely are you to contract these diseases by exploring the risk factors.

Heart diseases

Like almost all developing and developed nations, heart disease or cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of deaths in India. Studies have revealed that the prevalence of heart disease varies according to age and states in India. Experts analyse the risk of heart disease based on four primary markers which include smoking frequency, blood glucose level, body mass index and systolic blood pressure.

You are likely to contract heart disease if you:

  • Have very less or no physical activity in your daily life

  • Are a habitual smoker or drinker

  • Consume tobacco or tobacco related products

  • Have an unhealthy diet

  • Live a stressful life

  • Are obese or overweight

  • Have high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels

Lung disease

Do you know that lung disease, known as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in medical terms, killed close to 1 million Indians in 2017? COPD is a progressive lung disorder that inflames the airways in the lungs and destroys the air sacs.

You are likely to contract heart disease if:

  • You are regularly exposed to lung irritants and toxins in the air for longer durations

  • You are a regular smoker

  • You use solid fuels such as wood and cow dung for cooking food

  • You live in a city where the air pollution level is very high

All types of cancers

Cancer is the second largest killer worldwide after heart disease. In 2018, all kinds of cancers caused 7,84,821 total deaths in the country and included 4,13,519 men and 3,71,302 women. Breast cancer, oral cancer, cervical cancer, lung and colorectal cancers are the top five cancers in the country and constitute more than 47% of all cancers in India.

Risk factors for cancer include:

  • Heavy smoking

  • Heavy drinking

  • Long-time exposure to harmful chemicals and radiation

  • Family history of cancer

  • Obesity

  • Unhealthy diet

  • Pan masala consumption

  • Use smokeless tobacco products

Liver diseases

An estimated 50 million people worldwide are suffering from some form of liver disease. Some common liver diseases include chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, alcoholic liver disease (ALD) and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

You are likely to suffer from this disease, if:

  • You drink heavily

  • Eat a lot of fatty foods

  • You hardly exercise

  • You smoke and take drugs

Kidney diseases

In India, more than 100,000 patients are diagnosed with end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) every year.

Risk factors for kidney disease include:

  • High blood pressure and diabetes

  • Above 60 years old

  • If you are a male, you or more likely to suffer from chronic kidney disease (CKD)

  • Smoking

  • Obesity

  • Unhealthy diet

  • Heavy drinking

You should be careful about these critical illnesses if you carry these risk factors. Also, there are diseases that start showing up symptoms in your youth, especially if you have a family history of this particular disease. With the high cost of treatment that these illnesses entail, it’s important to ensure that you and your family are well covered with critical illness insurance and cancer protection plan.