Top 10 Silent Killer Diseases

Suggested by SMS

In case anyone hasn’t told you yet, unfortunately, you’re going to die, and so am I. Maybe I’ll run a red light and my teeny Hyundai gets smashed by a Peterbilt, or maybe I try to squeeze just one more plug into that too-full electrical outlet and wind up a crispy critter. Then again, I could just simply go to sleep after writing this article and stop breathing, or my girlfriend’s second-hand smoke could’ve developed an inoperable lung tumor I’m not yet aware I have.

There’s a million ways to go and all of them are permanent, but like your own internal assassin, some ailments may only make themselves apparent when it’s too late to do anything about them while others can kill you before you even know you have them.

This list of the top 10 Medical Silent Killers hopes to not only alert you to some of the Grim Reaper’s sneakiest tricks, but also how you can prevent and treat them, sometimes without spending a dime to do so.

10. Mesothelioma


Mesothelioma is a type of lung cancer that is different from the common form of lung cancer; it usually involves prolonged exposure to asbestos. The warning signs of Mesothelioma are far from readily apparent; it may take up to 50 years for an individual to become symptomatic. While the American Occupational Safety and Health Association and the Environmental Protection Agency currently regulate laws for working in areas filled with asbestos, and they do so with an iron-fist, this was not always the case. Asbestos was widely used in construction from the late 1800’s until the late 1970’s, but crafting new asbestos was not banned until 1989. Given this and Mesothelioma difficulty to diagnose due to its likenesses to other respiratory illnesses, Mesothelioma is not only a hazard for people who currently work in occupations where asbestos is encountered, but Mesothelioma poses an especially grave risk for the elderly who may now be retired, but worked and lived around asbestos while it was still in common use. Though Mesothelioma is a distinctive form of cancer, it is still a cancer and may be treated through the same methods, not to mention lawsuits against those responsible for an individual’s exposure to asbestos is an often exercised option.

9. Osteoporosis


As a disease that causes weakening of the bones, Osteoporosis can bring an individual to an extremely slow and painful end if left untreated. Osteoporosis doesn’t always result in death, but when it does, it can be the result of a blood clotting following an osteoporosis-caused injury, with a spinal injury being the most severe. Severe pain in the arms, legs, or back are signs of the osteoporosis onset, however the disease will often have been developing within a person for many years. For this reason, people over 50 years old, especially women, are at a severe risk of developing osteoporosis and consist of over half of osteoporosis patients. A bone density test may be used to diagnose osteoporosis, and fortunately, it is very preventable by exercising and keeping a decent amount of Vitamin D in a diet.

8. Heart Disease


We probably all know at least one person who suffers from any given form of heart disease, of which there are many. Heart disease in all of its forms has and will continue to be a leading cause of death across the world, and while high blood pressure, weight, and lack of exercise may expedite the onset of heart disease, chances are a heart condition will kill you in old age anyway. While easily considered a silent killer, the symptoms of some forms of heart disease are unmistakable; a burning in the chest, or the numbness of a body part. Treating heart disease with pills and surgery is far from easy, but medical technology has advanced in the area of treating heart conditions possibly more than medical technology has advanced in any other endeavor. Even still, living a healthy and smoke-free lifestyle may be one of the best ways to treat, even reverse an aortic condition. Excluding age or a hereditary predisposition to heart disease, the best way to prevent it may just be to take care of oneself.

7. Aneurysms


Occurring usually in the brain or the heart, an aneurysm is the weakening of a blood vessel to the point it bursts, which will cause a hemorrhage that can result in a sudden death. Aneurysms are often caused by conditions such as diabetes and hypertension with, in fact the symptoms are similar to the pain one feels when they are about to have a heart attack. An MRI can diagnose an aneurysm, but depending on the severity of the aneurysm, surgery may be the only option to save a patient’s life.

6. Obstructive Sleep Apnea


A 22 year old female in peak physical condition is laughing, eating and joking at dinner with her family after a long day of work, goes to bed that night, and by the morning they’ve died; obstructive sleep apnea may be responsible for this tragedy. OBA is a common condition where the airway is blocked during sleep and a person may not even know they suffer from OBA as a result. OBA’s vague symptoms, which include loud snoring and post-waking headaches can make diagnosing OBA even more elusive. When someone discovers they have OBA, often from a family member, a polysomnogram is the best option for diagnosis, although the often machinery-based treatments for OBA can be expensive.

5. Obesity


Obesity is definitely a prominent silent killer that is worsened by the growing numbers for obesity and hyper-obesity growing worldwide. Today, over 200 million adults are at least 50 pounds overweight, not including children. Obesity is notoriously dangerous regardless of age as it leads to many other conditions such as diabetes, thyroid cancer, heart disease, and strokes. So, if obesity is so widespread and dangerous, why is it the only number 5 on the list of silent killers? Obesity cannot be considered as dangerous as other medical silent killers because governments, health organizations, and commercial weight-loss companies worldwide are aware of the obesity epidemic and are committed to stopping it. From the drastic gastro-intestinal bypass operation to generic diet food, the overweight have many avenues they can pursue to lose weight and stay healthy. Obesity may be a dire problem across the globe, but it is usually more than treatable if an individual is devoted to solving it.

4. Type II Diabetes


Diabetes is the epitome of a medical silent killer if only because a person has the possibility of getting it before they are even born.

reports that Type I Diabetes remains uncommon, but the more dangerous Type II diabetes is similar to obesity’s status as an epidemic, as it may affect the old, healthy, and obese alike. Type II diabetes is considered somewhat impossible to detect early on because there are no outward symptoms, but as the condition grows serious Type II Diabetes can first be identified through rashes on the skin and feet. Though self-diagnosing is secondary to an evaluation by a doctor, you can determine your own risk level with an easily purchased home diabetes test. Prescription medication is currently the best treatment for Type II diabetes, but a good diet and exercise will dramatically decrease the risk of even developing Type II Diabetes.

3. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome


SIDS is the sudden, unexplained death of an infant between 28 days old and a 1 year old. SIDS is an especially dangerous silent killer primarily of its unpredictability, lack of definitive causes, and the thought of a life ending before its even begun is horrifying in itself. With SIDS, generally an infant has been laid to rest for the evening and has died by the time the parent checks in on them again. It may be important to note that SIDS is not always a result of an inherent sickness within the child, but that child abuse and placing an infant on their stomach rather than their backs for bedtime may be the cause of a sudden infant death. The efforts of “The Back to Sleep” campaign, dedicated to preventing SIDS through educating and informing new parents about the risk factors of SIDS, are largely responsible for a 50 percent decline of SIDS between 2005 and 2009. Give the great people at Back to Sleep a visit at, and then give them a round of applause.

2. Cancer


With many forms, over 1,500 Americans dying from it daily, the ability to become untreatable before it’s even diagnosed and no cure for it in sight, cancer is possibly the most lethal and infamous of all medical silent killers. There are over 200 types of cancer that may develop in the human body, and while cancers such as skin and eye cancer may appear on the extern of the body and may be easier diagnose before they become life-threatening, cancers such as breast cancer, testicular cancer, lung cancer, and colon cancer are among the deadliest cancers because the symptoms may not manifest until the cancer becomes difficult to treat. While there are some commonly known risk factors associated with developing a cancer, such as old age, smoking’s link to lung cancer, tobacco’s link to mouth cancer, and red meat’s link to colon cancer, there are still no definite ways to prevent cancer, as individuals whom have never smoked a cigarette in their lives may still develop lung cancer or brain cancer. Generally, the best chance one has of surviving cancer is to have it diagnosed early; mammograms serve this purpose for detecting breast cancer and rectal exams serve this purpose for prostate cancer. The treatment for a diagnosed cancer varies depending on the type of cancer, but chemo-therapy, radiotherapy, and surgery are the three most prevalent treatments.

1. Stress


When you broke that vase at age seven and your parents screamed “you’re killing me!” they weren’t exaggerating. Stress is the oldest, most prolific and deadliest of all medical silent killers: 100% of the human population either directly or indirectly suffers from the results of stressful situations and generally stressful lives. The causes of stress are absolutely innumerable, and the effects any given stressful event can have on a single person is extremely unpredictable.

Philosophically, too much stress in the mind can cause sickness in the body, and this belief is rather factual. Stress can be responsible for high blood pressure, mental illnesses such as depression and high anxiety, epileptic seizures, strokes, chronic migraines, and allegedly ulcers. While stress is not a disease in itself, stress may definitely make an existing condition worse through internal and external means; for example the stress of coping with a possibly terminal form of cancer may force a cancer patient into such a depression, they refuse to seek treatment that may otherwise save their life.

Stress is an even deadlier silent killer than the rest because of its contagiousness; one person’s stress often affects someone else, usually those closest to them. A person whom commits suicide as a result of stress may leave behind a family who must now live with the grief that comes with such a stressful event, and this trauma may exist for the rest of their lives. Stress influences and affects the world on a scale possibly twice that of cancer, as oppression, which is a major cause of stress, has led to rebellions, wars, and even genocide. Stress is not only the deadliest silent killer, but also a major source of worldwide violence.

The good news? First, recognize that stress of some form exists in all living human beings, then recognize that while stress is incurable, treating stress is by far one of the cheapest, easiest, and best things a person can ever do. To treat stress all a person must do is go for a walk, talk to friends, play a game, do whatever an individual person loves to do, or just deal with the source of the stress directly. Saving oneself from stress is the definition of irony: overcoming mankind’s worst silent killer by simply not worrying about it.