Do you share the same attitude as the three readers about your own health and well-being? Their responses reflect a “Superman” mindset that we often adopt, as youths. The idea of playing Superman may be appealing, consider yourself warned. Just like the comic hero in the story, we all have our Kryptonite when it comes to our body’s health and no, you’re never too young to be affected.
It isn’t just going to happen to someone else. If you’ve had sex with more than one partner and don’t practice safe sex, you could be next. According to 2007 statistics released by the Ministry of Health (MOH), 422 Singaporeans were newly reported to have contracted HIV, bringing the number of infected Singaporeans to a stunning 3,482. The truth is that majority of Singaporean males are infected through sexual contact with casual partners or sex workers. And sadly, many females today who thought they were safe with one partner find themselves infected with HIV through sex with their husbands or boyfriends. Get this right: AIDS/HIV doesn’t discriminate against the young, whether you are male or female, and certainly isn’t just a homosexual disease. Contrary to popular belief, most infections do occur during sexual activities between heterosexuals.
COLD (Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease)
This is a serious lung disease that reduces your ability to breathe normally, and over time, shortness of breath and other symptoms of COLD can get in the way of doing even basic tasks like changing your clothes. The reality for all smokers is that COLD is an incurable progressive disease. On top of that, it has been reported that in 2007, smoking causes more than 90 percent of COLD cases. Since this disease is incurable, it can only be managed through extensive and prolonged treatment. The World Health Organisation (WHO) predicts that COLD will become the fourth leading cause of death worldwide by 2030. In Singapore’s statistical terms, the estimate is that more than 60,000 people will suffer from this disease. The frightening reality is that by the time most patients are diagnosed, they may have lost at least 50 percent of their lung functions. Especially those with symptoms such as persistent cough and/or breathlessness, smokers are encouraged to undergo spirometry testing (a breathing test used to diagnose and monitor lung problems), available in some polyclinics and general practice clinics.
TYPE 2 DIABETES
Chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes are closely linked to diet and lifestyle. So really, the saying, “you are what you eat” is no exaggeration. According to a recent MOH report, meals are increasingly being eaten outside the home, and the use of processed packaged food is also rising. What and how we eat at an early age directly impacts the development of risk factors such as obesity and high blood cholesterol, which influences the onset of diseases such as Type 2 diabetes. This can strike anyone at any age and we are definitely not spared.
The risks of developing Type 2 diabetes increases if you:
– Have a BMI (body mass index) of more than 23
– Have an inactive lifestyle
– Have a parent or sibling with diabetes
(For more information, check out the new “Diabetes Be aWare” site at www.hpb.gov.sg/diabetes)
THE GOOD NEWS
While these illnesses stem from unhealthy lifestyle habits and choices that we may have developed from an early age, it isn’t too late to make little changes to significantly reduce the risk of developing these long-term and chronic diseases. Remember that your health is in your hands. You may not be Superman, but you certainly can afford to choose to steer clear from these ticking time bombs!