When it comes to health, there’s some information you just know. For example, most of us know that breast cancer is the most common cancer to affect Australian women. It may have been drilled into you by family members, it may be the upshot of someone close to you suffering from the illness, or it might just be a fact from the TV that’s stuck with you. But, not all health statistics are quite as well-known. We’ve rounded up seven health facts that may come as a surprise:
1. One third of all cancers are preventable
According to the World Health Organisation a staggering one third of cancer diagnoses can actually be prevented. How? With changes in lifestyle. The WHO says smoking, obesity, alcohol consumption, some infections and environmental pollution are just some of the things people are exposing themselves to that can increase the risk of certain cancers.
2. One in nine Singaporeans are diabetic
Diabetes has been called an “epidemic of the 21st century” and labelled the “biggest challenge” our health system faces today. Hyperbole? Unfortunately not. Singapore has the second-highest proportion of diabetics among developed nations, a report in 2015, by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) revealed. So what’s the solution? Reducing your intake of high sugar and high-fat treats, plus maintaining a healthy weight can deter the onset of diabetes.
3. One person has survived rabies without a vaccine
Three weeks after being bitten by a rabid bat in 2004, U.S. teen, Jeanna Giese, was rushed to hospital with flu-like symptoms. Hours later, the 15-year-old’s family were told she had tested positive for rabies and probably had less than a day to live. A week after being put into an induced coma with strong anti-viral medication Jeanna woke up and became the first known person ever to survive rabies without a vaccine.
4. Singaporean children are getting fatter at a younger age
The food and beverage industry is in a pickle with Singapore’s slowing economy, but the fast-food industry appears to be staying ahead. The latest official figures show that sales at fast-food outlets were better than those at restaurants this year until September, except for June. It’s no wonder then that obesity in schoolchildren has risen – from 11 per cent in 2013 to 12 per cent in 2014, said the Education Ministry. In 2000, it was 10 per cent.
5. Smokers have 22 per cent poorer everyday memory
A 2011 study conducted by researchers at Northumbria University in the UK found that smoking isn’t just bad for your physical health, it affects your cognitive function, too. When taking part in a memory test, smokers could only recall 59 per cent of the information, whilst those who had never smoked recalled 81 per cent. Dr Tom Heffernan, who conducted the study, said: “It’s important to understand the effects smoking has on everyday cognitive function, of which prospective memory is an excellent example.”
6. Parenthood can extend your life by two years
A recent Swedish study has found a common denominator between life expectancy and parenthood. The study, which looked at 1.4 million men and women aged over 60, found that those with at least one child had a longer life expectancy compared to childless men and women. In men, life expectancy was extended by two years after fatherhood, while mothers were found to live a 1.5 year longer than non-mums.
7. Every two seconds, someone suffers a stroke
Stroke is the 3rd leading cause of death in Singapore, accounting for about 7 per cent of all deaths annually in 2015. Globally, the figure is even scarier with 1 in 5 women predicted to suffer a stroke in their lifetime, and 1 in 6 men, meaning every two seconds, someone in the world suffers a stroke. But there is good news: over 80 per cent of strokes can be prevented. High blood pressure is one of the leading causes of stroke so lower the risk and get yours checked right now.
(Text by bauersyndication.com.au / Additional reporting by Natalya Molok)