While life expectancy has increased in the last decades, there are still threats out there that remain.
Not everyone gets to live up to 80 years with great health and unfortunately, without addressing these risks, there can be millions of lives at stake.
Some of these threats may be due to uncontrollable circumstances like pandemics but others can be because of personal decisions that affect their health.
1. Refusing To Vaccinate
Parents’ decision to not vaccinate has reversed the progress in stopping diseases that are vaccine-preventable.
Just recently, there has been a 30% increase in measles cases globally although it has already been almost wiped out in several countries.
When more parents decide against protecting their kids from these illnesses, there can be millions more deaths yearly.
While not all of these can be directly linked to vaccine hesitancy, losing the so-called herd immunity can lead to a resurgence of dangerous conditions that have killed lots of people in the past.
Staying healthy tip: Get kids up-to-date with their vaccinations as the benefits outweigh any possible risk.
2. Drug-resistant Superbugs
While antibiotics have saved billions of lives since their discovery, there is a downside to their overuse.
Nowadays, drug-resistant superbugs are becoming more common and are claiming lives. Imagine lives being lost because of infections like pneumonia and gonorrhea.
Staying healthy tip: It is best to only use antibiotics when the doctor prescribes it and to follow exactly how often and how long to take them.
3. Air Pollution And Climate Change
90% of the global population is actually breathing in polluted air. Many are not aware that it is also killing 7 million people yearly.
This is because the microscopic pollutants can get into the lungs, the heart, and even the brain. On the other hand, climate change will lead to lives lost due malnutrition, heat stress, and other similar conditions.
Staying healthy tip: Beyond the need for legislation to curb climate change, every person can take simple steps for the environment. It can be as simple as walking or biking instead of taking the car.
4. Global Flu Pandemic
While many people get the flu and recover without any complications, a global flu pandemic can still lead to thousands of deaths.
Every once in a while, there are stronger strains that are deadlier than others. Fortunately, the WHO and other institutions worldwide are monitoring flu viruses circulating around.
Staying healthy in a flu pandemic is as simple as maintaining sanitary practices like washing hands often and not touching the nose and eyes.
5. High-threat Pathogens
Just recently, 2 Ebola outbreaks have spread to cities where more than a million people live. In these densely populated areas, stopping the spread of such a highly-contagious pathogen is not as easy.
Beyond Ebola, there are others just as dangerous, like SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus), and Zika.
Staying healthy tip: In case of similar outbreaks, staying away from infected people and following the advice of medical professionals will help keep you healthy.
6. Non-transmissible Diseases
The biggest killer diseases out there are the non-transmissible kind, like cancer, heart disease, or diabetes.
They account for at least 70% of deaths around the world. These are linked to these risk factors, specifically alcohol and tobacco use, air pollution, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity.
Staying healthy tip: Adopting healthy life habits, like eating healthy and staying active, can reduce the risks of these killer diseases.
A mosquito bite can already be deadly when the victim gets infected with dengue fever. Unfortunately, while it used to be exclusive to tropical countries, it is now spreading to temperate ones.
With a fatality rate of 20% in severe cases, this can translate to millions more deaths yearly.
Staying healthy tip: There are ways to control mosquito populations which, in turn, can reduce the risk of dengue. Taking these simple steps can keep your family from getting sick.
Despite all the progress in testing and treating HIV, the number of new infections is still going up in some parts of the world.
These are also countries that lack the means to test and provide treatment for the infected people. Worse, some countries are not able to keep track of new infections and thus, are not able to stop the spread.
Staying healthy tip: Adopting safe sex practices is the easiest way to stop the spread of HIV.
No matter how advanced modern medicine becomes, there are existing threats to global health. However, by taking the right steps to stay healthy, you can minimize the risk of falling victim to these threats.