Due to environmental and genetic factors, certain health concerns have a higher prevalence rate in Singapore as compared to other countries. These 5 specific health issues are ones that Singaporeans should pay special attention to!
According to Ministry of Health (MOH), the prevalence of myopia in Singapore is among the highest in the world. 65% of our children are myopic by Primary 6, and a whopping 83% of young adults are myopic. Chinese are genetically predisposed to myopia, with those who frequent near-focus activities such as computer games, handheld games, and reading more susceptible to it.
Practicing good eye care habits can help reduce the likelihood of developing myopia. Limiting screen time and encouraging outdoor activities are also advised.
Singapore has one of the highest incidences of colorectal cancer in Asia. Also know as colon cancer, it is the most prevalent form of cancer in Singapore. It affects both men and women alike, with as many as 1,500 people diagnosed with it each year. Those with family history have a higher risk of developing it, but there’s good news. Less than 10 per cent of colorectal cancer cases are due to inherited gene defects.
To reduce your colorectal cancer risk, don’t smoke as inhaled smoke can carry carcinogens to your colon. Keeping active and maintaining a healthy weight are also important Cut down on red meat, fat, and alcohol. Choosing high fibre foods may also have prevent colorectal cancer.
Diabetes happens when there is too much glucose in the blood. It is caused by either the inability of the pancreas to secrete a hormone called insulin, or the body’s inability to use insulin properly. 9% of Singapore’s adult population has diabetes, with Indians and Malays especially vulnerable to it.
f you are obese or have a family history of diabetes, you are naturally more at risk. However, a healthy diet and regular exercise are key to preventing diabetes. Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol intake as well would help reduce your risk as well.
In Singapore, nose cancer is the 6th most common cancer amongst males. The cancer is actually known to occur more frequently in Asia and North Africa than in the rest of the world. Nose cancer mainly affects the Chinese, especially those in the Cantonese dialect group, and to a lesser extent, Malays. Those with a family history of nose cancer may also be more susceptible to it.
While there are no ways to prevent nose cancer, avoiding salt-cured foods and preserved meats which are high in nitrates, might help to reduce the risk of the disease.
Thalassaemia is an inherited blood disorder that often results in anaemia. It is one of the most common genetic health issues in Singapore. 1 in 20 people are carriers for this condition.
As Thalassaemia is an inherited condition, there are no known ways in preventing it. However, being a carrier does not cause any problems. It is only if both husband and wife are carriers of the same type of thalassaemia, they have a risk of having a baby with a severe form of thalassaemia.
While these health issues may be more prevalent in Singapore, having a healthy lifestyle is still important and can have a preventive effect on these conditions. Nonetheless, be sure to schedule regular to check checkups with your healthcare provider — it’s better to be safe than sorry!
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