Photo by Bernard Goldbach
You never saw it coming. You’re an ordinary, happy-go-lucky soul who juggles life and work and enjoys exercising as much as the other person. You’re not scared of those annual health check-ups, in fact, your doctor loves telling you you’re good for another year, and you know it! So after spending an evening catching up with friends, you return home feeling happy and sated, stumble into bed, close your eyes… and never wake up again.
You just died in your sleep.
You might be asking yourself, “why me?” The truth is, you have just fallen victim to the silent killer. I’m talking about diseases that produce almost no visible symptoms until it’s too little, too late. Silent killer illnesses affect one in two Canadians, becoming more widespread and deadly as we age. The good news is, insurance is what can protect you and your loved ones from the unexpected.
This following list of the top 5 Silent Killer Illnesses may help shine some light on these sneak-attacks and also shares tips on stopping these silent killers in their tracks before they get to you!
Photo by Alyssa L. Miller
5. Obstrusive Sleep Apnea
We could all use a good night’s sleep, and obstrusive sleep apnea, or OBA, is the silent killer outlined in the intro that could kill you when you’re most vulnerable. It’s a common condition where the airway is blocked during sleep, preventing air from entering the lungs. Not to worry! When you experience an episode of sleep apnea, your brain will wake you up automatically, so that you can breathe well again. After numerous episodes though, people will startle awake many times at night and feel terribly sleepy during the day. There are many helpful apps that can track your sleep patterns and measure how well you sleep over the course of many nights.
Photo by Jill Brown
4. Type II Diabetes
What makes diabetes so scary is that you can get it before you’re even born. It strikes without warning and knows no age, race, creed or colour. Type II diabetes, namely the “destroyer”, impairs the major organs in your body, and could even take your life! It is when the body does not produce enough insulin, causing blood sugar levels to be too high. Daily insulin injections are currently the best treatment for Type II diabetes, although healthy eating and physical activity can prevent it.
Photo by Tony Alter
You might have recently heard the saying, “we are eating our way to the grave.” This shouldn’t come as a surprise, since over 200 million adults are at least 50 pounds overweight today and the number just keeps growing. Obesity is more than a cosmetic concern, as it also increases the risk of many other diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and strokes. Compared to the other silent killers, the obesity epidemic is recognized by many, from the government to Jenny Craig, and many people are committed to stopping it or profiting from it.
Photo by Waldo Jaquith
2. Heart Disease
It started since you were two – the build-up of plaque in your blood vessels that could one day stop your heart. Heart disease is a leading cause of death all across the world, and it often shows no warning signs. Whether it’s due to the daily fried donut or our general laissez-faire attitude about health, many people function perfectly fine in the weeks or even days before a heart attack. This couldn’t possibly happen to us, could it? In fact, simply aging increases your risk for heart disease, and not to mention others such as high blood pressure, smoking or a poor diet. The best way to protect yourself is to make healthy lifestyle choices and practice proper hygiene.
Stress is the oldest, and the number one most deadly silent killer. It comes in all shapes and sizes, directly or indirectly, as a common denominator to all occupations. All of us have experienced it – whether it’s the tight muscles and headaches, or noticing you’ve recently added on a few pounds. Don’t worry (literally), keep stress in check!
Too much stress can be crippling to your mental and physical health. It can cause high blood pressure, strokes, chronic migraines and even mental illnesses such as depression. In fact, the stress hormone Cortisol, secreted in small quantities during stressful situations, can potentially be a death hormone. Cortisol in excess quantities destroys our internal systems as we age, contributing to the death of brain cells, impaired memory and osteoporosis.
Thankfully, it’s time to take a breather because stress management is not only simple but can make drastic improvements in your life. Be organized! Planning ahead of time is the #1 way to reduce stress. Start by clearing your work space, as this can help to clear your mind, too. Exercise is a great way to manage stress as well, such as walking to work or stretching at your desk. Last but not least, it’s always helpful to schedule some “me time” and indulge in something you love.