What’s the best way to safeguard your health? Taking action against serious potential health risks. This information from Australia’s leading health organisations is designed to inform you about the most common diseases and conditions in Australia, so you can live a longer, healthier life.
The leading cause of death in Australia for over a decade, heart disease can manifest in three ways: heart attack, blocked arteries or angina. According to the Heart Foundation, cardiovascular disease kills one Australian every 12 minutes. To prevent heart disease, emphasis is placed on modifying risk factors by maintaining a healthy diet, exercising and not smoking.
Despite a decreased number of deaths, brain-related issues remain the second-highest cause of death in Australia. This includes strokes, blocked brain arteries and brain haemorrhage. Strokes occur when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. Smoking, being overweight, lack of exercise, a poor diet and conditions that affect circulation of the blood (high blood pressure, high cholesterol and atrial fibrillation) can increase a person’s risk of stroke.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
Dementia is one of the leading causes of death in Australia, and there is no cure. On average, the symptoms of dementia are commonly noticed by families about three years before a firm diagnosis is actually made. According to Alzheimer’s Australia, three in 10 people over the age of 85, and almost one in 10 people over 65, have dementia. Regular check-ups, along with maintaining healthy diet and exercise habits, can help to reduce the risk of dementia.
Lung diseases comprise of lung cancers, asthma, cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including bronchitis and emphysema. Lung diseases affect the respiratory system, making it hard to breathe, and can cause chest pain. Cigarette smoking has been linked to a number of respiratory diseases and is the single largest cause of developing COPD and lung cancer. According to the Lung Foundation, three in five Australian adults report symptoms related to lung-related health issues.
A condition categorised by the body being unable to effectively process glucose, diabetes is considered an epidemic in Australia. According to information from Diabetes Australia, 280 Australians develop diabetes every day. The annual cost of the condition is estimated at $14.6 billion. Type 1 diabetes is not preventable and occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that make insulin, a hormone that helps to regulate blood sugar levels. It accounts of 10 per cent of all diabetes cases in Australia, where as type 2 diabetes accounts for 85 per cent of all cases. As type 2 diabetes is related to lifestyle factors, such as poor diet and lack of exercise, it can be prevented by correcting these risk factors.
Chronic kidney disease
Chronic kidney disease is the most common form of kidney and urinary diseases. It is categorised by a loss of kidney function over time, leading to high waste levels in the blood, and causing the affected person to feel unwell. Complications that can follow include high blood pressure, anaemia, weak bones, poor nutritional health and nerve damage. According to Kidney Health Australia, more than 40 per cent of people over the age of 75 have an indicator of chronic kidney disease, but less than 10 per cent of people with the disease are aware that they have it. The way to prevent kidney disease is by having your blood pressure checked regularly, maintaining a healthy diet and weight, and drinking lots of water.