Health & Fitness

4 Rare Chronic Diseases and How to Prevent Them

December 16, 2021

In today’s era, we’re exposed to various environmental pathogens that pose a significant threat to our well-being. Likewise, sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy habits also pave the way for various health issues. To live a healthy life, we have to prevent these issues from taking over our lives as prevention is better than cure. Therefore, it’s imperative to consider preventive measures when it comes to rare chronic diseases. Unlike common illnesses, such diseases are not only life-changing but can also lack a cure and proper treatment. As a result, those with rare chronic diseases can often not survive their conditions, unfortunately. 

Even more concerning is that the risk of contracting a rare chronic disease is constantly rising due to the degrading environment, new pathogens, and excessive use of chemicals. So, to help you live a healthy life, here are four rare chronic diseases and ways to prevent them.


Mesothelioma is a highly fatal type of lung cancer found in a limited number of people. Since it’s an incurable disease, affected individuals only survive for 1-2 years at most. The leading cause of this cancer is the accumulation of asbestos fibers in the lungs, a commonly used construction material. For example, you’ll find asbestos in roofs, ceilings, pipes, and car parts such as brake pads. While working with asbestos products, its fibers can be inhaled and stuck within the lungs. However, in the rarest cases, mesothelioma is not bound to the lungs and can spread to the heart. It can also penetrate different body parts during its last and most dangerous stage.

While mesothelioma is incurable, it’s still preventable. The best way to avoid mesothelioma is to prevent asbestos exposure. As it’s usually found in construction material, it’s essential to perform house renovations, improvements, and repairs with experts and protective gear. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatments of mesothelioma can further help you take preventive measures. So, ensure to visit to get more information on this.


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a rare chronic disease. It involves the increasing degeneration and death of neurons in the spinal cord and brain. As the neurons dying are responsible for the voluntary movement of muscles, people with ALS gradually suffer a loss of speech, swallowing, and overall muscle movement. Eventually, due to the loss of the ability to control muscles in the diaphragm and chest, people with ALS suffer ventilatory failure followed by death. According to Johns Hopkins, around 5000 cases of ALS appear each year.

Typically, people within the age range of 55-75 are most affected by ALS. However, the cause of ALS remains to be a mystery. But it is known that a combination of environmental and genetic factors contributes to developing ALS. Dysfunctional molecular mechanisms such as protein balance and oxidative stress also harm motor neurons. Given the lack of knowledge about ALS, there isn’t a specific way to prevent this rare disease. However, a healthy diet may play an important role in ALS prevention, as it’s often used in treatment. 

Interstitial lung diseases

Interstitial lung diseases (ILD) consist of rare lung diseases that involve pulmonary fibrosis, which causes lung scarring. As a result, those with ILD suffer chronic shortness of breath, among other breathing problems. Over time, the lungs can become stiff, causing further complications in breathing. ILD can affect men and women, usually above 50, as it’s fortunately rare among children.

As ILD includes several different lung diseases, there can be hundreds of different causes for this type of disease. For example, some individuals develop ILD due to a history of autoimmune disease and genetics. In contrast, others develop it as a result of hazardous substances. Such substances can include asbestos, coal dust, and tobacco smoke. While you cannot change your genes, you can reduce your chances of developing an ILD by avoiding smoking and harmful chemicals. 

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

The Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is another rare yet deadly degenerative brain disorder that falls under the same category as dementia. Around 1 in a million people worldwide are annually diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Initially, individuals with CJD start to show personality changes, memory loss, insomnia, impaired thinking, and muscle control issues, among other symptoms. Over time, mental problems worsen as the brain degenerates, often leading to a coma. However, pneumonia, lung failure, and heart failure are the most common causes of death amongst those with CJD. Typically, it takes only a year for death to occur.

The cause of CJD is thought to be the abnormalities in prion proteins that are produced in our bodies. While the prion proteins are harmless, the abnormal versions can become infectious, disrupt biological processes, and lead to brain degeneration. Abnormal prion proteins may start to appear without reason, due to genetics, or by exposure to infected tissue. So, one way to prevent CJD is to avoid eating contaminated meat products and ensure the usage of clean medical instruments.


Fortunately, given their rarity, there’s a minimal chance of you developing any of the aforementioned diseases. However, by neglecting preventive measures, the chance of developing rare diseases can increase significantly. More importantly, it’s better to be safe than sorry. While our environment and everyday practices may seem harmless initially, they can adversely affect our well-being. So, ensure to follow the measures mentioned to live a safe and healthy life.

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