SIX deadly diseases could stop a fifth of Brits staying in good health beyond the age of 30, an analysis of data from medical records has revealed.
But there are cheap and effective ways for you to stave them off. And delaying the onset of the conditions for just 12 months could save the NHS £3billion a year.
THE lung condition, which causes wheezing and other breathing difficulties, can develop in adults but typically begins in childhood.
Make sure your child does not snooze on the couch as that is where dust mites – the most common trigger of asthma – tend to thrive.
Extractor fans in the home remove airborne substances which could affect your lungs.
Dr Cooper says: “Your child is more likely to have asthma if you smoke when pregnant.”
YOU can maintain good mental health by helping others and keeping busy.
Try taking one night a week to have fun socialising – and go outside.
Dr Cooper says: “Adequate levels of vitamin D are important, and so is fresh air. There is evidence that some of the depression in young adults is affected by lifestyle.
“A balanced diet is needed for healthy brain function, especially polyunsaturated fatty acids which are found in fish and sunflower seeds.”
BEING overweight, having a poor diet or being inactive can all lead to type 2 diabetes, which is the name given to the condition when sugar in the blood becomes dangerously high.
Educational website KidsHealth.org recommends getting children to help with household chores to keep them active and reduce their risk of developing diabetes later on.
Dr Cooper says: “Swap sugary cereals for healthier breakfasts and energy drinks for water.”
"Reducing carbs also helps.
HIGH blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes, affects one in four UK adults.
You can keep it under control by limiting your salt intake. Ditch condiments such as soy sauce, ketchup and mayo and avoid takeaways.
But treat yourself to dark chocolate, as studies show one or two squares a day may lower blood pressure.
Dr Cooper says: “Get your kids to eat fruit and veg from a young age.”
THERE is no quick fix to preventing cancer, but compounds in foods such as Brazil nuts, garlic and artichokes help your immune system build defences to the killer disease.
And while most of us know it is risky to smoke or go out in the sun without suncream, a survey has shown most people do not know alcohol and obesity are also linked to cancer.
Dr Cooper says: “Watch your weight. For young women, HPV jabs are important to prevent cervical cancer.”
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AROUND 180,000 Brits head to hospital each year due to heart attacks – and their most common cause is heart disease.
Avoid foods with saturated fat, such as cakes, biscuits and processed meats, and make sure you have sensible portion sizes.
Dr Cooper says: “Only have fry-ups as an occasional treat.
“Regular exercise is important – and you don’t have to run a marathon. Anything that gets you mildly out of breath will help maintain heart health.”