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These 6 Diseases Might Be Even More Dangerous Than Cancer

Do you know which diseases are more dangerous than cancer?

When people think of deadly diseases, their minds probably go to the fast-acting, incurable ones that make headlines from time to time, such as cancer and its many forms. However, there are several diseases that are more dangerous than cancer and that also rank as the leading causes of worldwide deaths.

An estimated 55.3 million people died worldwide in 2022, and about 72% of these deaths were due to noncommunicable diseases or severe conditions that progress slowly. Surprisingly or not, some of the deadliest diseases are partially preventable. Of course, some factors that cannot be prevented include access to preventive care, quality of healthcare, and where a person lives, all of which factor into risk.

It’s true that cancer takes the top spot on the list of the most common causes of death. So, yes, you’re right to worry about it. But you should also aim to prevent other killers that can be more dangerous than cancer.

Here are some of the deadliest diseases worldwide that aren’t cancer!

diseases more dangerous than cancer
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1. Ischemic heart disease

The deadliest disease worldwide is ischemic heart disease, also known as coronary artery disease, or CAD. It occurs when the arteries that supply blood to the heart become blocked. Untreated coronary artery disease can lead to heart failure, chest pain, and an irregular heartbeat, also known as arrhythmia.

CAD is more dangerous than cancer in the sense that it is the leading cause of death in the world. Still, there’s some good news: mortality rates have declined in the US and many European countries.

This may be because of better access to healthcare, public health education, and other forms of prevention. However, in several developing nations, mortality rates for coronary artery disease are on the rise.

Risk factors for CAD include smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, being overweight, and having a family history of CAD. In order to prevent this disease, which can be more dangerous than cancer, doctors recommend exercising regularly, drinking only in moderation, avoiding smoking, and eating a balanced diet that’s high in vegetables and low in sodium.

2. Chronic lower respiratory disease

Chronic lower respiratory disease frequently goes by another name you’ve most likely heard before: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD.

The term COPD describes many lung-related health issues, including bronchitis and emphysema. According to CDC statistics, about 50% of all American adults have received one of these two diagnoses. That’s a lot, and doctors say these chronic lung issues can be more dangerous than cancer.

Since the lungs are the organs affected, you can probably guess the main risk factor for COPD: smoking. As experts point out, smoking could lead to or worsen all of these COPD conditions. Working in demolition, construction, and some other building trades is also a big risk factor for COPD, according to research. The good news is that quitting smoking decreases your risk at any age.

The most common sign your lungs might be failing is shortness of breath. But since the disease tends to have a slow progression, you may not notice any changes in your breathing. That’s actually the reason why the disease frequently goes undiagnosed until its end stage.

If you’re dealing with breathing issues at times—and especially if those episodes seem new—seek medical help and have a doctor screen you for COPD. This is a simple test that involves breathing into a tube for a few seconds. The sooner you receive the diagnosis, the higher your chances are of treating these lung-related diseases, which are more dangerous than cancer.

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3. Diabetes

The third disease that could be more dangerous than cancer is diabetes. Diabetes is a condition in which your body is unable to manage its blood sugar levels within normal ranges. Over time, diabetes could lead to nerve damage, kidney disease, heart disease, or other deadly health issues, according to the NIH.

It’s important to mention that there are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Roughly 5% of patients have type 1 diabetes, which is a chronic autoimmune disease that attacks the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. Type 2 diabetes is far more common, accounting for 95% of all diabetes cases, and occurs when your body is no longer able to use insulin properly.

Almost 10% of Americans have one type of diabetes or another. The worse news is that about 1 in 4 people have the condition but don’t know it, per the NIH. This can make diabetes more dangerous than cancer.

The American Diabetes Association explains that early symptoms include feeling thirsty, vision problems, extreme fatigue, urinating all the time, and feeling hungry even when you are eating enough.

While doctors say type 1 diabetes is likely caused by a mix of some early-life triggers and your genes, type 2 diabetes is something that you can definitely prevent or head off by making some changes in your lifestyle. According to doctors, maintaining a healthy weight and eating a prudent diet can lower your risk of developing this disease, which can be more dangerous than cancer.

4. Influenza and pneumonia

Influenza, commonly known as the flu, refers to a group of viruses responsible for various respiratory illnesses. According to the CDC, for most healthy adults, being hit by the flu will result in you lying in bed for a couple of days with a fever and chills.

However, for anyone dealing with an underlying health condition—from blood or kidney disorders to heart disease—the flu can lead to some complications that can quickly turn lethal.

According to the American Lung Association, the flu can also cause a lung infection called pneumonia, which can be more dangerous than cancer and even deadly if you have any ongoing health issues or a weakened immune system.

The best way to build immunity against the flu and avoid potential complications is to get an annual flu shot. People at high risk for pneumonia—the elderly and sick—should also talk to their GPs about getting a one-time vaccination against the infection.

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5. Septicemia (sepsis)

The fifth health issue that can be more dangerous than cancer is septicemia, which is a form of blood infection. It tends only to affect people who already have underlying health diseases.

According to the NIH, septicemia generally starts as an infection in certain parts of your body—like your skin, kidneys, urinary tract, or lungs. That infection ultimately spreads to your bloodstream, triggering an overwhelming immune response. This is known to lead to blood clots and, potentially, organ failure.

People who are sick, or more precisely, who have existing health issues or weakened immune systems, are more at risk, doctors point out. However, they warn that septicemia can affect healthy people if infections are left untreated.

According to experts, there isn’t really much to do to prevent this infection, which can be more dangerous than cancer. But you can take certain signs seriously. Chills, an increased heart rate, a sudden fever, and rapid breathing are all early symptoms of septicemia. It’s worth mentioning that those symptoms are also linked with common colds or flus, making it hard to spot septicemia early on.

Doctors point out that seniors or people with pre-existing health conditions can’t afford to overlook these symptoms. In fact, you can get very sick pretty quickly, and hours count when it comes to treating septicemia. If you know your immune system is compromised or weak, head to your GP’s office or a hospital to avoid any type of complication.

6. Chronic liver disease

One disease that is more dangerous than cancer is chronic liver disease. Your liver does a handful of vital jobs in your body, from flushing your system of toxins and waste to helping your body absorb energy, nutrients, and vitamins from the foods you eat, per the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Chronic liver disease, also known as cirrhosis, is the gradual impairment of your liver’s function. Symptoms include a loss of appetite, feeling tired or weak, bloating, and nausea, the NIH says.

According to experts, a heavy drinking habit, viruses like hepatitis, and some other infections or disorders can all lead to chronic liver disease. So can some blood diseases and obesity, points out Sharonne Hayes, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic.

While there’s not much you can do to stay away from some of those risk factors, doctors say eating right, exercising, keeping your alcohol intake to one drink a day, and watching your weight are all proven methods to protect your life from this disease that is more dangerous than cancer.

You may also want to read These 7 Scary Facts About Antibiotics That Will Change Your Mind Forever.

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