A-Z of diseases

Viva! Health

  • 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.

  • Modern intensive farming methods designed to keep the cost of meat as low as possible have led to the emergence of new zoonotic diseases - animal diseases that can be transmitted to humans such as BSE, bird flu and Escherichia coli (E.

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

  • 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.

  • 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:

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.  

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.   

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