Home to a smoking lake and built atop an underwater volcano, Dominica is a small island to the southeast of Puerto Rico. The island is in relatively good health compared to its Caribbean neighbors, but that does not mean that disease is not prevalent on the island. Below are five of the deadliest common diseases in Dominica:
- Cardiovascular Disease
Cardiovascular disease covers many different diseases. Coronary artery disease, strokes and hypertensive heart disease all fall under this umbrella. While not communicable, heart disease is still the number one cause of death globally. In Dominica the main contributors to cardiovascular disease are smoking, poor diet and high stress levels.
Diabetes is a condition that can be either hereditary (Type I) or contracted (Type II). It’s the body losing its ability to create insulin to keep up with high levels of glucose in the bloodstream. Type II Diabetes, the most common form, is usually more prevalent in more developed nations due to diets high in sugars and carbohydrates.
- Lower Respiratory Infections
Just like cardiovascular disease, lower respiratory infections are prevalent worldwide, accounting for more than 3 percent of all deaths globally in 2012. Luckily, in Dominica, lower respiratory infection mortality has decreased by 3 percent in the last decade.
- Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer in Dominica. It’s estimated that one in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his life. It’s one of the leading causes of death among men worldwide. It’s also one of the fastest-growing diseases. From 1990 to 2013, Dominica experienced a 105 percent increase in prostate cancer deaths.
- Chronic Kidney Disease
Also known as kidney failure is the gradual shut down of the kidneys. As the kidneys stop working, fluids and excess salts build up in the body and as a last resort, patients are put on dialysis to filter out said salts. Diabetes and kidney disease are closely related, and both are related to diet. In the last decade, there’s been an 80 percent spike in deaths associated with kidney disease.
While this list isn’t exhaustive, it does run very nearly parallel to the most deadly diseases worldwide. What does that mean for Dominica? Nearly all of the most common diseases in Dominica are related in some way to diet and therefore preventable. Until breakthroughs are made in food science and medicine, these diseases will continue to plague Dominica and the world.
– Thomas James Anania