Did you know that Filipinos live longer than half of the world’s population?
According to the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), the Philippines ranked 139 among 201 countries in terms of life expectancy.
The 2015 data gathered by the UN DESA found out that the average life expectancy in the Philippines is 68.25, with men living up to 64.90 and women up to 71.61.
This may sound good news to you, knowing that you stand a good chance at seeing your great grandchildren.
However, threats in the form of fatal diseases loom over everyone, taking a toll on one’s health and mortality.
Below are the top 10 deadliest diseases in the Philippines. It pays to have an idea as to how these lifestyle illnesses are acquired, and how to prevent something as seemingly mild as asthma to turn into something alarming like congenital heart disease:
1. Coronary heart disease
Dubbed by former Department of Health Undersecretary Teodoro Herbosa as “the silent epidemic,” coronary heart disease-related deaths claim the top spot of the deadliest disease in the Philippines, at 16.86% of total deaths.
Also known as ischemic heart disease, the diseases under the said umbrella term prevent blood from reaching the coronary arteries, thus depriving the heart of the blood supply it needs. Some of the most common conditions under this are angina, heart attack, and atherosclerosis, some of which can be classified as congenital heart disease.
Like the heart, the brain also needs an endless supply of oxygen for it to function properly.
When a stroke occurs, a portion of the brain gets damaged because of lack of blood supply to that part of the brain. This causes brain cells die and connections between neurons become lost.
But while not all cases of stroke are lethal, the Stroke Society of the Philippines still dubs it as the second deadliest disease in the Philippines, causing 12.14% of deaths every year.
3. Influenza and pneumonia
In 2012, the University of Philippines College of Medicine reported that pneumonia was the leading cause of death among children aged one to four years old.
Around wo million children die every year because of this serious lung disease, which can lead to fatal complications.
Despite the intensive campaign of the government to prevent deaths due to pneumonia, it still is the third leading cause of death in the Philippines at 9.95%.
By 2025, experts had predicted that the number of people with diabetes globally will exceed 320 million, but today’s statistics shows that the number of people with the said condition has already reached a staggering number of 415 million.
In the Philippines, there have already been more than 300,000 deaths related to diabetes, the International Diabetes Federation sounded the alarms in the country as more the country quickly become the top 15 diabetes hotspot.
Previously taking the sixth spot on the Philippines’ deadliest diseases list, tuberculosis (TB) has become more problematic as opposed to other lung diseases due to the increasing number of victims with this certain lung disease.
Right now, it’s responsible for 5% of casualties in the country. Even famous people like former Philippine President Manuel L. Quezon weren’t spared from the disease when he died of TB in 1944.
Considered as one of the most common medical conditions linked to lifestyle, hypertension affects about one-fifth of Filipino adults, according to the Philippine Society of Hypertension. And the numbers just keep growing.
Since hypertension has no symptoms, it is hard to spot and it can do damages to vital organs before you even know it. High blood pressure can cause complications such as liver disease, kidney disease, and other health issues that can be fatal.
The death rate of hypertension for every 100,000 people in the Philippines is 38.20.
7. Lung disease
In 2030, the Global Burden of Disease Study by the World Health Organization (WHO) predicted that lung diseases such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema would become the third-leading cause of death.
In the Philippines, only 2% of people have been diagnosed by the said lung diseases and the rest find out about it too late.
With risk factors such as pollution, chemical inhalation, and, most importantly, cigarette smoking as the biggest culprits, it’s no surprise that the Philippines ranks 28th in terms of mortality rate for lung diseases.
8. Kidney disease
In just a span of 10 years, the Department of Health has reported a meteoric rise among Filipinos that undergo dialysis due to kidney disease.
From only 4,000 cases back in 2004, the number of people with end-stage renal diseases have escalated to 120,000.
People contract a kidney disease due to different factors such as diabetes, hypertension, and glomerulonephritis, which is kidney failure due to the part of the kidney that helps filter waste is damaged.
With a death rate of 3.04% every year, it’s no surprise that we’re 13th in the world in terms of kidney-related mortalities.
9. Breast cancer
The campaign against breast cancer has always been intense in the Philippines, yet it still poses a huge threat to Filipina women. The Philippine Society of Medical Oncology said breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in the country, with 16% of cases in every 50,000 diagnoses of cancer.
In the country, one out of four women die in the first five years and two out of five in 10 years after diagnosis.
Asthma may seem harmless to those who have this condition, so long as they have an inhaler with them at all times.
However, the prevalence of asthma in the Philippines also leads to deaths if an attack has not been addressed.
With more than 10 million Filipinos suffering from asthma, the deaths rate for asthma has reached 2.37% of the total deaths in the country. This places Philippines on the ninth place in terms of world asthma deaths.