A-Z of Diseases

It’s time to go vegan! You don’t need meat, fish, eggs or dairy in your diet.

Meat, fish eggs and dairy are all linked to health problems from arthritis to zits! They play a major role in all our biggest killers; diabetes, heart disease and cancer. The obesity epidemic is driven by fatty meat, chicken, sausages, pies, milk, cheese, cream, butter and lard as well as pastry, cakes, biscuits, sweets and milk chocolate.

As the typical Western diet spreads around the world, replacing traditional plant-based diets, it takes Western diseases with it – diabetes, heart disease, breast cancer and prostate cancer. Osteoporosis occurs where most dairy is consumed, drinking milk does not protect your bones – exercise does!

BSE, bird flu and superbugs are major threats to human health of our own making. Which foods cause most food poisoning? You’ve guessed it – meat takes the gold medal with cheese and fish taking silver and bronze!

There are no nutrients in meat and dairy that can’t be found in a varied vegan diet. You are much better of getting healthy fats, plant protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals from fruit, vegetables, wholegrain foods, pulses (peas, beans and lentils), nuts and seeds.

The health benefits of avoiding meat, fish, eggs and dairy are indisputable which is why, slowly but surely, the worlds’ most reputable health bodies are beginning to recommend change. To avoid cancer, the World Cancer Research Fund says: “Eat mostly foods of plant origin”.

Find out how meat, fish, eggs and dairy cause diseases and how a varied vegan diet protects against them on the following pages…

A (5) | B (3) | C (8) | D (2) | E (3) | F (2) | G (2) | H (2) | I (1) | K (3) | L (3) | M (4) | O (3) | P (3) | S (3) | Z (1)

Acne is no fun and most teenagers have some experience of it. It’s caused by hormonal changes but it can affect adults too.

Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that can cause memory loss and difficulty with thinking, problem-solving or remembering words.

We all get a bit slower as we age but aching knees, hips and ankles aren’t necessarily a normal part of aging. It could be arthritis and there may be something you can do about it.

Asthma is a chronic, inflammatory disease that can cause wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. It can be very distressing and when symptoms get significantly worse, it is known as an asthma attack.

Bird flu (or avian influenza virus) came to public attention in the late 1990’s when it spread through live-poultry markets in Hong Kong and infected people leading to six deaths.

Several studies link diet to bladder cancer. Since breakdown products of food leave the body through the urinary tract, it stands to reason that diet plays a role. People who eat animal protein (meat and dairy) have a higher risk of bladder cancer than those who don’t eat it.

Bowel cancer is one of the most common cancers in the UK affecting around one in 20 people. Diet is one of the factors that affect your risk of bowel cancer.

One in eight women in the UK will develop breast cancer at some point in their lives. Women with breast cancer are more likely to survive the disease now thanks to screening programmes, early diagnosis and improved treatment.

The risk of cervical cancer is linked to infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV).

Cholesterol is a type of fat made by the liver and present in every cell in an animal’s body, including humans. Cholesterol is only found in foods of animal origin – meat, dairy, eggs, fish, shrimps, prawns and shellfish - and is particularly concentrated in organ meats and eggs.

Chronic lung disease or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the collective name for a group of lung diseases including bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive airways disease.

Colic is the term used to describe excessive, frequent crying in a baby who appears to be otherwise healthy and well fed. It is a poorly understood yet common condition that affects around one in five babies.

Constipation can be caused by dehydration (not drinking enough fluid), lack of fibre (fruit, vegetables and wholegrains), lack of exercise, medication, too much calcium or iron in the diet, pregnancy or too much tea or coffee (increases urine production and so decreases fluid in the bowel).

Masked lady Covid-19

Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that cause diseases in mammals and birds. They are so-called because the virus looks like it is covered with pointed structures surrounding it like a crown. 

Cow’s milk allergy is one of the most common childhood food allergies affecting between 2-7 babies out of every 100.

Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive system. Symptoms can include diarrhoea, abdominal pain (tummy ache), extreme tiredness and weight loss. Crohn’s disease affects about one in every 1,000 people in the UK.

How you live and what you eat can affect your risk of dementia. People who are overweight or obese in middle age and/or have higher cholesterol levels have a much higher risk of suffering from dementia later in life.

Diabetes is a condition caused by the pancreas either not producing enough of the hormone insulin, or failing to produce any of it at all. Diabetes can also be caused when the body fails to react properly to insulin.

The most common type of ear infection (otitis media) affects the middle ear, the space between the eardrum and the inner ear. Ear infections are common in childhood and can be extremely painful causing a considerable amount of distress.

Eczema is a long-term condition that causes the skin to become itchy, red, dry and cracked. It varies in severity – some people are only mildly affected but severe symptoms can include cracked, sore, bleeding and inflamed skin.

The idea that men need to eat red meat to perform sexually couldn’t be more wrong. Foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol (meat, eggs and dairy products) that clog up the arteries leading to and from the heart can also block the blood flow to other vital organs!

Fibromyalgia is a condition characterised by widespread pain, painful response to pressure, morning stiffness, fatigue, sleep disturbances and can include many other health issues.

One in five people in England suffer food poisoning every year. Meat and meat products are to blame for most cases with fish and dairy foods responsible for much of the rest.

Gallstones are solid pieces of stone-like material that form in the gall bladder, a small organ on the right hand side of the body, below the liver. It stores a green liquid called bile, which is produced by the liver to help digest fats.

Gout is a type of arthritis caused by high levels of uric acid in the body. At low levels, uric acid is useful, but when it builds up it can crystallise in the joints and cause severe pain and inflammation.

Hay fever (seasonal allergic rhinitis) is an allergic reaction to pollen (the fine powdery microscopic grains released from plants). People who suffer from hay fever react to pollen with a range of symptoms including a runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes and throat.

Heart disease is one of the UK’s biggest killers. More people are living with heart disease than ever before and numbers are rising.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects around one in five people in the UK. Symptoms include: pain, bloating, wind, diarrhoea and/or constipation and can have a serious impact on the quality of life. Symptoms can also cause stress, anxiety and reduced energy levels.

Kidney cancer is a common cancer affecting over 10,000 people in the UK every year.

The kidneys work like a sophisticated rubbish filter. They filter the blood, removing waste products broken down from our food and drink along with excess liquid, turning it into urine which is passed out of the body.   

Kidney stones can form when there is too much calcium, oxalate or uric acid in the urine, a lack of citrate in the urine or not enough water to dissolve waste products.

In 1836, after returning from the Beagle, Charles Darwin wrote “I have had a bad spell. Vomiting every day for eleven days, and some days after every meal.” Darwin suffered for over 40 years from long bouts of vomiting, stomach cramps, headaches, severe tiredness, skin problems a

Is there a relationship between what you eat and how long you live? Is bacon as bad for you as smoking? What should you be eating if you want a long and healthy life?

When most people think about lung cancer they usually think about its connection with smoking. However, certain foods can also influence the risk of lung cancer.

It is only relatively recently that we have begun to understand the full impact the menopause can have on some women. It remains taboo in some respects and many women have no idea what to expect.

According to Benjamin Franklin, the 18th century statesman and scientist, a vegetarian diet results in: “greater clearness of head and quicker comprehension.”

Metabolic syndrome is a group of health conditions that put you at greater risk of heart disease and stroke – collectively known as cardiovascular disease – and type 2 diabetes.

A migraine is much more than a bad headache; unless you suffer from them it is difficult to appreciate just how debilitating they can be. Often people with a migraine can do nothing but lie still in a dark room waiting for the pain to pass.

Over a billion people are believed to be officially obese. The British Medical Association says that by 2050, half of the population in England could be obese. From a health perspective, this spells trouble given all the problems that being overweight can lead to.  

We have it drummed into us from an early age that we need cow’s milk and dairy products to help build strong bones. This is not true – in fact cow’s milk and dairy products may do more harm than good.

Ovarian cancer occurs most in wealthy countries, where the diet is dominated by meat and dairy foods. There is some evidence that cholesterol and eggs may increase the risk too.

Pancreatic cancer is another cancer linked to diet, specifically Western-style diets rich in meat, dairy foods and refined cereal products (white bread, white rice and white pasta) as well as sugar.

Constipation is when you go to the loo less often or you have to strain when you do go – caused by stools being hard and small. Common symptoms include stomach ache, cramps, feeling bloated, nausea, feeling over-full, headache, loss of appetite, fatigue and depression. It can be caused by:

The global distribution of prostate cancer is similar to that of breast cancer; countries with high levels of one tend to have high levels of the other.

The World Health Organisation says that red and processed meat increase the risk of bowel cancer. They also report links between red meat, pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer and processed meat and stomach cancer.

Cardiovascular disease (such as heart disease and stroke) occurs when there is a build-up of fatty deposits (plaques) on the inside walls of the arteries.

The routine use of antibiotics in modern factory farms has led to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as ‘superbugs’. Strains of the infamous methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) were established in UK pig farms and cephalosporin-resistant E.

Zoonotic diseases - Masked lady in city

Animals can sometimes carry harmful germs that can spread to people and cause illness – these are known as zoonotic diseases or zoonoses. Such diseases may be caused by viruses, bacteria, parasites or fungi. They may be mild or serious, and in some cases may cause death.