10 Major Diseases in the Philippines

Major Diseases in the Philippines

Over 2,000 years ago, Hippocrates started categorizing diseases scientifically. It continues to modern times. In this post, let’s talk about the ten major diseases that affect Filipinos. 

1. Heart Disease 

It’s the leading cause of death, not just in the Philippines, but also in other parts of the world. In fact, more than half of all deaths in the world is the result of heart disease. 

Heart disease doesn't mean one condition. Rather, it’s used to describe several conditions. Most of them are related to plaque buildup in the arterial walls. When there’s a buildup of plaque, the arteries will narrow, thereby, creating a risk of stroke or heart attack. 

To protect your heart, you need to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. You also need to change your lifestyle and modify your diet. When it comes to food, the best way to prevent this major disease is to avoid salt, total fat, refined sugars, cholesterol and saturated fats. Instead, opt for more fruits and vegetables. 

It’s also ideal that you stop smoking and avoid alcohol intake. Then, you must take steps to reduce your stress levels. You may also wish to enroll in a stress management program. 

2. Cancer 

Lung Cancer Major Disease in the Philippines

It’s a group of diseases that involve the spread of abnormal cells. If it’s not controlled, it can result in cell death. 

You can develop cancer. However, the risk of cancer increases with age. Some people have higher for lower risk because of their exposure to carcinogens or genes. 

One of the most common types of cancer is lung cancer. 

In men, the leading causes of death from malignant cells are lung, prostate, colon/rectum, pancreas, liver, leukemia, esophagus, urinary bladder, non-bodkin lymphoma, kidney and renal pelvis. 

For females, the leading causes of death from cancer will include lung, breast, colon/rectum, pancreas, ovary, leukemia, uterine corpus, liver, non-Hodgkin, and brain. 

Most types of cancer can be prevented. For instance, in lung cancer, you can avoid it by avoiding first-hand and second-hand smoking. 

Other types of cancer a related to obesity and having poor nutrition. Some cancer can be prevented through vaccinations, antibiotic changes, and behavioral changes. 

It’s also vital to undergo screening tests to detect malignant tumors early before the symptoms would even appear. When cancer is detected early, it will result in better outcomes. It also decreases chances of invasive treatment. 

Because early detection can improve outcome, everyone is encouraged to perform personal examinations. 

3. Respiratory Disease 

The most common is the chronic lower respiratory disease, which is a collection of diseases in the lungs that cause blockage and breathing problems. The signs and symptoms of this disease will include breathlessness, persistent cough, and frequent chest infections. 

To prevent lower respiratory disease, you need to avoid smoking. However, it’s not the only factor that increases your chances of suffering from it. You also need to prevent exposure to air pollutants at home or in the workplace. It’s also ideal that you avoid chemical fumes and dust. 

Genes and respiratory infections may also play a significant role. 

4. Injuries


They can happen to anyone. These are unintentional injuries that cause death for people ages one to 44. Although accidents can’t be prevented, there are ways to reduce your risk of accidental death or injury. 

One of them is to focus on road safety. That is, you need to wear a seatbelt when driving. You should also avoid driving when you’re intoxicated. 

5. Stroke 


It’s a cerebrovascular disease that develops as a result of the lack of problems in the blood vessels that supply the brain. Each year, thousands of people in the Philippines have a stroke. 

The risk of stroke increases with age. However, with the current lifestyle, people who have been hospitalized for a stroke are getting younger. Some are younger than 65 years. 

When it comes to stroke, each second counts. You need fast treatment to reduce brain damage. 

To prevent stroke, you should lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. You should also avoid smoking. Having an unhealthy lifestyle and some medical conditions will also increase your risk for stroke. 

There are different ways to prevent stroke. One of them is to eat a healthy diet. It’s also vital that you maintain a healthy weight by getting sufficient amount of exercise. Then, limit your alcohol intake and manage your cholesterol levels. 

To learn more about how you can prevent or reduce your risk of stroke, you should talk to your doctor. 

6. Diabetes

By 2030, it’s estimated that at least six million Filipinos will have diabetes. Yes, our country is keeping with the top 10 nations with this major disease. In 2012 alone, deaths caused by diabetes amounted to 33 deaths per 100,000 deaths. 

This disease can cause a series of severe health complications, such as kidney failure, heart disease, and blindness. There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is now as IDDM (insulin dependent diabetes mellitus. The other kind is type 2 or commonly known as NIDDM (non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus). 

Warning signs symptoms of this condition would include frequent urination, excessive thirst, extreme hunger, unexplained weight loss, changes in vision, feeling tired most of the time, dry skin and more infections than before. 

The good thing is that diabetes can be prevented. To reduce your risk for this disease, you need to change your lifestyle and increase your physical activity. 

7. Tuberculosis


It’s still a threat here in the Philippines compared to other parts of the world. In fact, our country ranks number 34 out of those 200 countries. According to the latest report, 63 Filipinos died of TB per year. 

Even though the DOH is aggressive in spreading awareness of this disease, many Filipinos are still suffering from it because they don’t have enough money to undergo a medical checkup. 

Most of them simply shrug off a simple cough with fever. What they don’t realize is that the symptom may already indicate tuberculosis. 

Thus, it’s vital to have a medical checkup each time you have a cough that lasts more than three days. 

8. Kidney disease


Nephritis and nephrosis are just two of the kidney diseases or disorders that can cause several complications. Because of these disorders, waste from your blood will remain in your body and cause other health problems. 

This major disease is widespread and very costly. Unfortunately, understanding this disease is extremely low. Those with kidney disease would only realize that they have damaged kidneys when their condition has become severe or in the later stage. 

The symptoms you should watch out for would include appetite loss, headaches, dry skin, nausea and without loss without trying. 

When your kidney disease has become severe, you’ll experience the following symptoms: 
  • Bone pain
  • Abnormally pale or dark skin
  • Drowsiness 
  • Muscle twitching
  • Easy bruising
  • Breath odour
  • Amenorrhea
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Sleep problems

The good thing is that a kidney disease can be prevented by avoiding alcohol intake and limit non-prescription pain relievers. It’s also ideal that you maintain a healthy weight and quit smoking. 

9. Asthma 

In the Philippines, nearly 20 Filipinos died of this disease per 100,000 people. Our country is ranked number 24 in the rate of death as a result of this disease. 

Allergy triggers cause asthma attack to a lot of Filipinos. Unfortunately, most of these asthma sufferers don’t take the right medication and treatment. As a result, the majority of them died from it. 

Some people also thought that asthma could be easily outgrown. Others consider it as a mild disease that doesn't kill. As a result, they don’t seek medical treatment for it. They also become reliant on nebulizers. 

But without seeking the right medical treatment, their asthma will never be treated or relieved. 

10. Inherited disease 

This one can’t be prevented unless you take out the gene that causes an abnormality. One good example of an inherited disease is Down’s syndrome. Some patients with this abnormality would not last long. However, because of medical advancements, patients can now live longer.


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