Chronic diseases are diseases that persists for a long time and may not have a cure.
Chronic diseases also tend to get worse with time although some can be immediately life-threatening, such as heart disease and stroke.
Below are some notable personalities who died of chronic diseases in 2018
1. Hugh Masekela: Prostate Cancer
The South African Jazz maestro died on 23rd January, 2018 aged 78.
Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men. It occurs in the prostate — a small walnut-shaped gland in men that produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm.
- A noticeable burning sensation while urinating or during ejaculation
- A frequent need to urinate
- Blood in urine or semen
- Pain and discomfort in the pelvic area, lower back or upper thighs
- Difficulty starting or stopping a stream of urine
2. Morgan Tsvangirai: Colorectal cancer
The Zimbabwean politician died on 14th February, 2018 aged 65
Colorectal cancer is also known as bowel cancer or colon cancer. It affects the large intestine (colon), which is the final part of your digestive tract.
Early cases can begin as non-cancerous polyps. These often have no symptoms but can be detected by screening. For this reason, doctors recommend screenings for those at high risk or over the age of 50.
- A change in your bowel habits, including diarrhoea or constipation or a change in the consistency of your stool, that lasts longer than four weeks
- Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool
- Persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain
3. Steven Hawking: ALS
The professor of physics died on 14th March, 2018 aged 76.
In 1963, he was diagnosed with an early-onset slow-progressing form of motor neurone disease also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis “ALS” or Lou Gehrig’s disease, that gradually paralyzed him over the decades.
Early signs of ALS
- Difficulty walking or doing your normal daily activities
- Weakness in your leg, feet or ankles
- Hand weakness or clumsiness
- Slurred speech or trouble swallowing
- Muscle cramps and twitching in your arms, shoulders and tongue
4. Winnie Mandela: Diabetes
The South African anti-apartheid activist and politician died on 2nd April, 2018 aged 81.
Diabetes refers to a group of diseases that affect how your body uses blood sugar (glucose). Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes from the food you eat. The most common types of diabetes are type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.
5. Kenneth Matiba: Cardiac arrest
The Kenyan politician and activist for democracy died on 15th April, 2018 aged 86.
A cardiac arrest is when your heart suddenly stops pumping blood round your body, commonly because of a problem with electrical signals in your heart. When your heart stops pumping blood, your brain is starved of oxygen. Seconds later, a person loses consciousness and has no pulse. Death occurs within minutes if the victim does not receive treatment.
It is important to note that a heart attack is different from cardiac arrest.
A heart attack is when blood flow to the heart is blocked, while sudden cardiac arrest is when the heart malfunctions and suddenly stops beating unexpectedly. A heart attack is a “circulation” problem and sudden cardiac arrest is an “electrical” problem.
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