The study Bupa Health Pulse 2010 on chronic diseases reveals that 35% of respondents in Spain worry about having cancer over any other disease (figure that decreases to 23% in those over 55), followed by dementia, with 14% (percentage that increases to asthma, with an amazing 11% (the highest percentage of the surveyed countries). On the opposite side, the chronic ailment that Spaniards least fear is obesity, with 21%, although it is one of the most worrisome to young people between 18 and 24 years.

When asked about what chronic disease Spaniards believe that the greatest number of people suffer in our country, 30% think it is obesity, followed by 23% who opt for cancer. 12,262 people from 12 countries participated in this study: France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Russia, China, Brazil, the United States, Australia and India.

The Spanish people with chronic diseases

According to the aforementioned study, 73% of Spaniards are worried about having a chronic disease. And only a scant 4% of respondents do not care about this topic. Faced with this concern, seven out of ten Spaniards claim to have taken some measure to know their risk of suffering a chronic disease in the last year. Of these, 62% have attended the consultation of their general practitioner, the highest percentage of all the countries analyzed, and 14% have participated in national prevention campaigns. They are followed by people who have preferred to pay for a complete medical check-up (9%) and those who have researched and evaluated their risks through the Internet (7%). Many of the respondents have used two or more of the tools mentioned above to know their health status and their chances of developing a chronic disease.

In spite of everything, there is still a 29% of Spaniards who have not done anything to know if their life habits will trigger a chronic illness. Percentage that increases to 54% among the youngest (18 to 24 years old) and decreases to 11% among those over 65 years old. The lack of time (19%), the belief that nothing can prevent this type of diseases (13%), cost (12%), not knowing how to do it (11%), the lack of information on what to do ( 10%) or the fear of results (10%) are the main excuses used by respondents to not compromise with their health.

To the Spanish participants in this study, what they are most concerned about is suffering from a prolonged illness (17%), not being able to access the best treatments (15%) and the physical pain that some of these diseases can cause (14%). Unlike what happens in Spain, on an international scale the biggest concern is not being able to afford the best possible treatment (16%), something that Mexicans and Brazilians especially fear.

35 million avoidable deaths

According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), 60% of the deaths that occur every day in the world are related to chronic diseases that could be prevented, this means about 35 million avoidable deaths per year.

The situation as well as influencing the patients who suffer them, who are affected their quality of life, also has a negative impact on their families and society in general, because its effects, as well as social, are also economic. Not in vain, "a pathology of chronic type forces - according to Philippe Paul, general director of Health Dialog Spain - both the sufferer and his closest people, to consider new scenarios in his life, to deal with new and complicated challenges and to modify certain habits of life to a greater or lesser degree. This type of diseases can disrupt many aspects in the lives of patients, so it is very important to be aware of it. "

Today, chronic diseases cause more deaths than those of an infectious or congenital type, a statement that draws attention if one takes into account that a high percentage of them could be avoided with simple changes in life habits and periodic reviews. According to Julien Forder, principal investigator of the London School of Economics and author of the report commissioned by Bupa that analyzes the results of the study, "research shows that physical exercise is one of the most effective lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases. Nearly a third (30%) of heart disease cases and more than a quarter (27%) of those with diabetes could be avoided if those affected began physical exercise. "

Heart Failure Warning Signs and Symptoms (November 2019).