Aims of this podcast episode:

  • Identify the leading causes of early death predicted for 2030;
  • Describe the causes of each of them;
  • Suggest ways of preventing them.

The information for this episode comes from the Wellcome Trust, which is a medical charity.

They have predicted that the three leading causes of early death in 2030 will be:

  • Coronary Heart Disease or Ischaemic Heart Disease (good luck pronouncing that!)
  • Depression
  • HIV/AIDS

Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)

CHD has a variety of causes. The main ones being due to lifestyle factors such as eating too much fatty food or smoking. Too much fat in your blood will lead to the fat building up in your arteries and causing blockages. The chemicals in cigarette smoke can damage your arteries, whilst the Carbon Monoxide (CO) takes the place of oxygen in your blood, which means not enough oxygen is getting around your body. Aside from causing CHD, this is why smokers always appear out of breath.

Depression

Depression is a mental illness, with a huge number of potential causes. It is more than just feeling ‘low’. It is constant – imagine feeling sad, but all the time for weeks or months on end.

More information about depression can be found on the Mind website.

In the podcast we mentioned a few interesting facts about the brain:

  • It is only 3% of your total body weight, but uses 17% of your energy (hence why you feel tired after school)
  • If you unwound all the nerve fibres in your brain they would stretch between 150 000 km and 180 000 km. That’s the same as traveling around the world 4.5 times.
  • Even though it’s using 17% of your energy, that actually equates to less than the light in your fridge – only 12 W.

HIV/AIDS:

Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome do not always come hand in hand. You need to have HIV before you can get (contract) AIDS. Due to this fact, HIV won’t kill you. Many people live perfectly normal lives with HIV; they have to take a lot of drugs to prevent them contracting AIDS though.

HIV means that your body cannot defend itself against infection, so once you have HIV and without the proper medication, even a simple cold could kill you.

The virus itself is pretty weak – it doesn’t survive very long outside of the body. So living and working with HIV sufferers is perfectly safe – so long as you don’t come into contact with their bodily fluids (blood etc).

HIV is spread most commonly through unprotected sex.

For more information about HIV/AIDS, click here to visit the NHS website.

For more information about safe sex, click here for more from the NHS.

S@S 003: Human Health in 2030
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