5 Deadliest Diseases You’re Actually Not Too Young For

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Colon and rectal cancer

Another study recently sounded an alarm about millennials being increasingly affected by colon and rectal cancers. “The major risk factor for the vast majority of patients with colorectal cancer is just age,” says Nilo Azad, M.D., associate professor of oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “But now we’re seeing a bit of an increase in a younger population, and we’re not entirely sure why.”

The point to remember is that colorectal cancer (cancer in the colon or rectum) can affect younger people. Talk to your doctor if you see blood in your stool or notice changes in your bowel habits. Because younger people are less likely to have colorectal cancer, there’s often a delay in being diagnosed. If your symptoms don’t improve with initial treatment for another condition such as hemorrhoids, ask your doctor when you should be tested for cancer.

Also, if one of your parents or a brother or sister had colorectal cancer before age 50, you should get tested earlier, advises Azad. Start getting screened 10 years before the age at which your family member was diagnosed.

“There’s no doubt that how you live the first half of your life not only impacts your current state, but it also affects how healthy you’ll be in the second half of your life.”

Erin Michos, Associate Director of Preventive Cardiology

Brain shrinkage

Brain shrinkage sounds pretty scary, but it’s actually a normal part of aging. However, certain factors are linked to a faster decline in brain volume. If you have high blood pressure, diabetes, are overweight or smoke, your brain could shrink more quickly than normal, which can affect your mental capacity, says Michos.

A new study shows that making heart-healthy choices in your 20s may protect your brain from shrinking years down the road. Rebecca Gottesman, M.D., Ph.D., professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, also found further evidence that taking care of your health can keep your mind intact. Her research revealed that people with heart disease risk factors had more amyloid deposits in the brain, which are associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

“There’s no doubt that how you live the first half of your life not only impacts your current state, but it also affects how healthy you’ll be in the second half of your life,” Michos says.

How can you reduce your risk?

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