Contributed by – Healthians Team

“Chronic diseases are the long-term medical conditions that are generally progressive”

Statistics show that chronic diseases are the leading cause of deaths in India, accounting for 60% of all deaths annually, killing more than 5 million people every year. Looking at the current scenario, chronic ailments are a disease burden in India, being a major cause of infirmity and death, leading to a serious impact on individuals and on society in general. According to a WHO report, the major risk factors for chronic diseases are:

The top most common chronic diseases in India are:

What makes the situation more alarming is the fact that most of us live in a state of denial, ignoring the common signs and symptoms of these chronic diseases. Regular monitoring of our health parameters and using these results as a benchmark to initiate changes in lifestyle with proper medications will not only save many lives but reduce the cost burden of these dreaded diseases to a major extent.

Listed below are a detailed account of these diseases, their causes and information about prevention.


Breast cancer is a type of cancer that develops from the breast cells. It mostly starts in the inner lining of milk ducts or the lobules that supply them with milk. The breast cancer that starts in the lobules is known as “Lobular Carcinoma”, while the one that develops from the ducts is called as “Ductal Carcinoma”.

It is the most invasive cancer in females worldwide.


Some of the risk factors that can impact on a woman’s likelihood of developing breast cancer are:

  • Aging
  • Genetics
  • Obesity
  • Alcohol consumption
  • History of breast cancer
  • Having had certain types of breast lump
  • Radiation exposure
  • Dense breast tissue
  • Estrogens exposure
  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
  • Certain jobs


Adopting lifestyle modifications can significantly help reduce a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer:

  • Avoiding alcohol or having them in moderation
  • Exercising 5 days a week
  • Having a healthy and well-balanced diet
  • Limiting hormone therapy
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight
  • Breast cancer screening and test


Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in India, accounting for 25% to 32% of cancers in females. It has been seen that India is experiencing an unprecedented rise in the number of breast cancer cases across all sections of the society.



Prostate cancer begins to grow in the prostate gland cells (exocrine gland in a male reproductive system). It affects only men.


There are no specific causes of prostate cancer but the probable factors are:

  • Age
  • Genetics
  • Diet
  • Medication
  • Obesity
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)


There is no established fact that shows prostate cancer prevention, but the risk can be reduced by making healthy choices like:

  • Regular exercising
  • Low-fat diet
  • Eat more fat from plants than from animals
  • Increase the intake of fruits and vegetables
  • Reduce the intake of dairy products


Prostate cancer (PC) is accounted as the second most common cause of cancer and the sixth leading cause of cancer death among men worldwide.

In India, it is the second most common cancer in Indian males. The incidence rate in India is 9-10/100000 population which is higher than any other parts of Asia and Africa.


Diabetes is a group of metabolic diseases in which the blood glucose levels remain higher than normal for a prolonged period. There are two main kinds of diabetes: Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes.


The risk factors for diabetes (Type 2) are:

  • Age (45 or older)
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Physical inactivity
  • History of Gestational diabetes
  • Certain health conditions associated with insulin resistance
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Hypertension
  • Depression
  • Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease
  • Fasting triglycerides over 250 mg/dL
  • Obstructive sleep apnea and chronic sleep deprivation


Diabetes can be prevented by:

  • Exercising regularly
  • Eliminating grains and sugars for diet
  • Eliminating fructose and Trans fats
  • Having plenty of omega-3 fast from a high-quality, animal-based source
  • Having probiotics


Diabetes is fast gaining the status of a budding epidemic in India with more than 62 million diabetic individuals currently been diagnosed with the disease. Timely detection of diabetes with proper tests that measures blood sugar levels is the key to controlling and managing this budding epidemic.

[Also Read: How Does Diabetes Affect The Body?]


Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that occurs naturally in all parts of the body and has an important natural function. If there is an excess of cholesterol in the blood then it can combine with other substances present in the blood and stick to the walls of the arteries. This is called plaque. Plaque can cause narrowing of the arteries or can even block them.


There are many things that can affect cholesterol levels, these include:

  • Food: Eating too much of Trans fat, saturated fat
  • Obesity or overweight
  • Being physically inactive
  • Age
  • Family history


Cholesterol can be prevented or lowered by:

  • Lifestyle modifications
  • Exercising regularly
  • Diet modifications

[Also Read: High Cholesterol? Know What Not to Eat!]


In has been reported that at least three-fourths of the country’s population has abnormal levels of cholesterol or triglycerides, suffering from a condition called dyslipidemia, which increases the risks of cardiovascular diseases. A complete lipid profile test , done periodically to know the actual figures is recommended by doctors.


Cardiovascular diseases are a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels.


The most important risk factors of for cardiovascular diseases include:

  • Unhealthy diet
  • Physically inactive
  • Tobacco use
  • Alcohol consumptions
  • Obesity
  • High cholesterol levels


Cardiovascular diseases can be prevented by following:

  • Cessation of tobacco use
  • Reduction of salt in diet
  • Increase the intake of fruits and vegetables
  • Avoiding alcohol
  • Exercising regularly


It has been reported that in the past two years, there has been an alarming increase in the incidence of heart diseases in India. According to government statistics approximately one-fourth of all deaths among people in the 25-69 years age group are due to cardiovascular diseases. A comprehensive heart care blood test to know true status of risk factors followed by other cardiac related tests is advised by medical practitioners.


PCOD is a disorder of the endocrine system, characterized by the formation of cysts, which are benign growths filled with fluids in the ovaries.


The exact cause of PCOD is not known, but it is believed to be caused by an imbalance between Progesterone and Estrogen, and an excess of Androgen.


PCOD cannot be prevented. But an early diagnosis of PCOD and treatment can help in preventing long-term complications, such as infertility, metabolic syndrome, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.


PCOD has a prevalence ranging from approximately 2.2% to 26% in adult women within the age group 18 to 45 years.


Asthma is a chronic condition in which the airways that carry air to the lungs are inflamed and narrowed.


The underlying cause of asthma is unknown, but it’s believed to be due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors.


  • Asthma symptoms can be prevented by following measures:
  • Using allergy-proof covers on pillows and mattress
  • Remove carpets and stuff toys from the bedroom
  • Avoid areas where people smoke
  • Avoid harsh cleaning products and chemicals
  • Reduce the stress levels
  • Indoor exercise
  • Take control of the seasonal allergies

Adopting healthy lifestyle practices such as a healthy diet, regular physical activity, and quitting or avoiding tobacco, regular monitoring and taking proper medications can prevent or control the onset of debilitating and expensive complications of chronic diseases.

Know Your Health Status