People from 20 to 35 years old belong to the group of so-called “invincible” demographic. They are always cheerful and healthy looking, with careers and life full of adventures. Young adults are the last people we think of as having serious illnesses. But the reality is that people of all ages aren’t immune to health issues.
Some diseases are hereditary (a genetic predisposition). There is nothing one can do to avoid it. But as they manifest themselves during adolescence it is crucial to know the symptoms to get the help needed as soon as possible.
Other diseases are the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle, stress, and disregard for sanitary rules. There are some unexpected illnesses young people usually dismiss as something “only my grandpa can have it.”
So What Are They?
First in prevalence and danger to well-being are autoimmune diseases.
These days, more and more young people are diagnosed with immune system disorders.
The autoimmune disease usually occurs when the body’s immune system starts to misbehave, attacking and destroying its healthy cells. Among the causes that can trigger this drastic change are genetics, environment (pollution, infections, stress), unbalanced gastrointestinal microbiome (gut microbiota) which is a big part of our immune system.
Young adults are at risk of developing at least 7 out of 80 autoimmune diseases. Most often young people suffer from:
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
It is a long-lasting neurological disorder of the central nervous system. MS affects the brain, spinal cord, and the optic nerves causing problems with cognitive functions, vision, balance, and muscle control. Being the most common neurological disease in young people (diagnosed in people from 20 to 40 years), multiple sclerosis is one of the most devastating to a patient and his\her relatives. A patient with MS gradually becoming inadequate and unable to take care about oneself.
- Symptoms – fatigue, weakness, double vision or even blindness, muscle weakness and tremors, trouble with sensation and coordination.
- Causes – the failure of the process of producing myelin (brain tissue) cells and failure of the immune system.
- Treatment – there is no known cure. Doctors apply symptomatic therapies, immune modulating drugs, and stem cells to improve quality of life.
Nearly 5 million people worldwide have lupus. 80% of them are women under 40. Lupus can manifest itself with many different symptoms making diagnosis complicated. So, people can suffer from it for years before they finally diagnosed.
- Symptoms – fever, joint pain, red rash in 65% of patients (most commonly on the face), kidney failure.
- Causes – genetic susceptibility coupled with an environmental triggers, vitamin D deficiency (according to some sources).
- Treatment – symptomatic. Doctors usually prescribe immunosuppressants, steroids, kidney transplant.
It is the most common chronic inflammatory bowel disease diagnosed in patients aged 15 to 25. According to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, over 700,000 of Americans suffer from Crohn’s.
Crohn’s is a chronic and extremely painful disorder that can affect entire digestive tract. Unfortunately, no diet can help ease this condition, unlike, for example, elimination of gluten in case of Celiac disease.
- Symptoms – bloating, chronic diarrhea, abdominal (gut) pain, weight loss, and fever.
- Causes – unknown. Hereditary (genetic), infectious and immunological factors.
- Treatment – medication, and surgery. The disease requires constant dynamic observation of the patient for correction of therapy.
The second group of unlikely for young generation diseases is closely connected to a lifestyle and can be easily avoided by maintaining more healthy one.
If you are from 20 to 40 years thinking you’re too young for a stroke, think again. It turned out you are never too young for it.
Stroke is a decreased blood supply to the brain caused by a blood clot in the brain’s blood vessels.
For the last decade, the overall rate of stroke is decreasing which is good, but it is increasing among the group of young and middle-aged people which is alarming. Now, the “stroke age” is under 45 making from 7 to 15 cases for every 100,000 annually.
Yes, stroke risk increases with the age, but all the risk factors that make someone susceptible to stroke (high blood pressure and obesity) are getting more common in younger people. The most significant danger of stroke at a young age is a loss of active years due to a lifetime of recovery.
- Symptoms – all signs of the stroke are sudden unexpected changes like a severe headache, trouble speaking or seeing, numbness of arm or leg, loss of coordination.
- Causes – obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol level, diabetes, migraine, birth control pills, and smoking.
- Treatment – medication (clot-busting drugs, aspirin), surgery (angioplasty), rehabilitation.
It is a lung condition caused by bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis (but can affect bones as well). It’s an airborne (spreads through the air) disease. It is treatable but for people who have HIV is among the top causes of death.
Tuberculosis is considered to be a disease of homeless people, people with AIDS or substance abuse. But nowadays, with all these stress, bad eating habits, disregard for own heals tuberculosis can be something you can get sitting in an office.
All confined spaces with a lot of people in them like offices, public transportation has a high rate of transmission of viral and bacterial infections.
Tuberculosis left untreated can cause a lower respiratory infection which is a serious disease all by itself.
- Symptoms – fever with chills and night sweats, loss of appetite, sudden weight loss, fatigue, and dizziness.
- Causes – close contact with people with TB, alcoholism, diabetes, HIV infection, a lower body weight, regular use of drugs that suppress the immune system.
- Treatment – medication (antibiotics).
What can you do for prevention?
A good approach to lowering your risk of any of these conditions is to live a healthy lifestyle with balanced nutrition and regular exercise. Avoiding smoking and reasonable drinking will also help.
For bacterial infections, proper handwashing will reduce your risk.
Do not avoid regular check-ups and visits to your physician, especially if any symptoms appear.