What about Chronic Diseases?
Chronic diseases are long-term medical conditions, they are generally progressive. These lifelong conditions can be managed with simple lifestyle changes. Medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), high blood cholesterol, stroke, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are lifelong conditions. Therefore, it is important to take charge of your health and manage these conditions to lead a fulfilling life.

At present, these are the major causes of disability and death globally. Chronic diseases are also the major causes of premature adult deaths in many parts of the world. According to the World Health Organisation, almost half of all chronic disease deaths occur in people under the age of 70.

Diabetes is a condition where your body can no longer absorb sugar properly, leading to higher blood sugar levels than normal.

When you eat, your body digests the food and turns it into a sugar called glucose. Insulin, which is a hormone made by your pancreas, unlocks body cells to allow glucose to leave your bloodstream. The glucose enters the body cells and is converted into energy.

People with diabetes have a lot of sugar in their blood stream because the body does not release the right amount of insulin to help absorb glucose properly.

If left uncontrolled, diabetes can damage blood vessels and organs over time, which can lead to complications such as stroke, heart attack, nerve damage, damage to blood vessels in the eyes and kidney failure. This is why we advise to detect problems early by going for yearly foot and eye screenings.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a condition where blood flow around the body is persistently pumped at a pressure higher than normal, i.e., above 140/90mmHg.

Although the cause of high blood pressure is unknown, a person’s blood pressure generally increases if:

  • Salt intake is increased too much, causing blood volume to increase due to retention of water in the body
  • Fatty substances are continually deposited at the walls of blood vessels, causing them to be more rigid

If left untreated, this can lead to various body organs getting damaged over time, resulting in stroke, heart attack or renal failure.

High Blood Cholesterol (Hyperlipidaemia)

Hyperlipidaemia, otherwise known as high levels of lipids, contributes to coronary heart disease and stroke. In 2022, coronary heart disease was the No. 3 cause of death in Singapore, after cancer.

Lipids consist of cholesterol, triglycerides, phospholipids and fatty acids. These fatty substances play an important role in all living cells in our bodies. Too much cholesterol means that there is a build-up of fats on the walls of your blood vessels, which contribute to reduced blood flow due to blood vessels becoming blocked.

Damage to your heart muscles will progressively occur with lesser blood supply to other parts of your body that need it, eventually leading to a potential heart attack. If the blood flow to your brain is reduced, you may suffer a stroke.


Asthma is a condition which affects the airways through inflammation. As the airways become more sensitive than usual and are exposed to certain triggers, breathing may become more difficult as the airways overreact and become narrower.

This respiratory condition is very common worldwide, affecting people of all ages, race and gender.

Asthma is not contagious but can be passed down across generations. While the exact cause of sensitive airways and asthma attacks are unknown, you should look out for common triggers of asthma attacks.

Untreated or poorly controlled asthma can lead to fatigue, stress, anxiety, depression, and lung infections. In severe cases, it can be life-threatening.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also known as COPD, is a progressive lung disease which restricts airflow and causes breathing problems.

In people with COPD, phlegm tends to damage or clog their lungs, leading to symptoms such as cough, sometimes with phlegm, breathing difficulty, wheezing and tiredness.

The main contributing factor to COPD is smoking. People with COPD are at higher risk for other health problems.

Unlike asthma, COPD is not curable and irreversible as it usually worsens over time. However, symptoms may improve with smoking cessation and regular vaccinations.

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