Maladies that Plague Filipinos

A good health is more than wealth we should make it our top priority to take care of it.

Culled from the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) report in 2015, the average life expectancy of Filipinos is 69 years old, ranked 139 among 201 countries. There’s a good chance that Filipinos will see their great-grandchildren.

However, there are threats from deadly maladies that take its toll on one’s well-being and mortality. If not cured at the onset, it could lead to a more serious illness.

We have gathered 6 deadly diseases that plague Filipinos; it pays to know these lifestyle illnesses to prevent a simple influenza progressing into a serious pneumonia.


Ischemic Heart Disease

It is also called coronary heart disease, regarded as the “silent killer” by medical professionals and the top cause of death in the country.  This accounted for 74,134 deaths in the Philippines according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) 2016 report. Those who suffer from coronary heart disease have a strong accumulation of plaque in the arteries. Any coronary artery disorder reduces the flow of oxygen which causes a heart problem such as angina, heart attack, and arrhythmias.

Living a healthy lifestyle can prevent ischemic heart disease. Regular exercise will improve your cholesterol level, lower your blood pressure, and even lose weight which lowers your risk of heart disease. Avoid smoking, reduce stress, and eating healthy will protect your heart from maladies.



Neoplasm or cancer is the leading cause of death by Filipino women and breast cancer is the most common form of cancer. Among the 197 countries worldwide, the Philippines has the highest number of breast cancer cases.

There are hereditary factors that can’t be changed but some lifestyle adjustment can lower the risk of breast cancer.

  • Avoid alcohol, the more you drink the greater the chances of acquiring breast cancer.
  • Don’t smoke, there is a medical evidence that links smoking and breast cancer especially in pre-menopausal women. Smoking is hazardous to your health, not smoking bodes well for your overall health.
  • Overweight women are exposed to the risk of cancer, particularly after menopause.
  • Regular exercise will help you retain a healthy weight that prevents breast cancer.
  • Mothers who breastfeed their babies are less prone to breast cancer.
  • Hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms increase the possibility of breast cancer. Discuss the treatment with your doctor and look for options,
  • Be exposed to radiation only when required, there are studies that link radiation exposure to breast cancer.



The mere mention of the word pneumonia will send chills to your body, this is the third largest killer disease in the Philippines in 2016 with 57,809 sufferers. Pneumonia is a contamination of the lungs acquired from bacteria and viruses. Acquiring the malady depends on the age, very young, 1-year-old, and very old people, 65 and above, are prone to pneumonia. The immune system has not matured for infants and it has declined in the case of the senior citizens.

The best protection against pneumonia is vaccination. Avoid smoking which damages the respiratory system.



Cerebrovascular accident is the medical term for stroke and is the fourth leading killer disease affecting Filipinos based on the Philippine Statistics Authority report in 2016. A stroke happens when the supply of blood to the brain is not enough, the oxygen supply is not sufficient causing brain cells to expire.

Signs of a stroke include difficulty in walking, speaking, and understanding; reduced sensation of touch; problems with muscle coordination; difficulties in vision; muscle numbness or weakness.

To avoid a stroke you should manage a high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and coronary artery disease. Moreover, do not smoke, sustain a healthy weight, avoid too much alcohol, and exercise regularly to tone the body.



Hypertension affected 33,452 Filipinos in 2016 and the number keeps on growing. According to WHO the Philippines is at number 11 in the world in terms of sufferers due to hypertension. It is high blood pressure that shows no symptom and it is hard to diagnose. A silent killer that damages vital organs and cause complications such as liver disease, kidney diseases and other health diseases that are lethal.

Make these lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of hypertension:

  • Retain a healthy weight, talk with your doctor about the weight that fits you.
  • Watch your diet; eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and limit your consumption of fat, calories, and sugar.
  • Cut back on salt.
  • Keep your body moving through regular exercise.
  • Continuously monitor your blood pressure. A blood pressure range of over 120/80 millimeters of mercury puts you at risk of hypertension, consult your doctor.



According to the PSA report, diabetes is the 6th killer disease with 33,395 fatalities in 2016. The International Diabetes Federation recorded the Philippines as the 15 diabetes hotspot. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent diabetes like regular exercise, weight maintenance, eating whole grains and fibers, eating less sugar, and monitoring your blood sugar level.

Many of us do not value health till sickness comes. Never take things for granted and do not act in an emergency it might be too late.



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Expats in the Philipppines

Expats in the Philipppines is a platform that aims to help Expats living and working in the Philippines and expats-to-be. It provides free information and also encourages them to share their experiences. Let's help making life in Philippines that much more fun!

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