The United States has the highest healthcare expenditures per person compared to other developed nations. So it stands to reason that Americans enjoy the best health possible. Well, not quite. Americans aren’t the healthiest people on the planet due to many problems.
Cases of obesity, heart disease, and cholesterol are some of the leading health problems that are taking a toll on the healthcare sector. There are many reasons why these ailments are on the rise. These factors include a poor diet, genetics, and lack of physical activity. So what starts as a few hundred patients blossoms into an epidemic that is hard to contain.
To help you get an idea, here are some health issues and diseases most common in the United States.
Cancer is an umbrella term that refers to the unhealthy multiplication of cells. Every cell has a certain lifespan, after which it needs to perish. But specific cells don’t follow this timeline and continue dividing uncontrollably. Unfortunately, cancer is the second leading cause of death among Americans. Some types of cancer include prostate, breast, and lung cancer. This complex group of diseases could have many possible causes, which could be both genetic and environmental.
In older patients, particularly, some cancers are associated with repetitive exposures or risk factors. Like those who worked in the construction sector and served in the military, cases of malignant mesothelioma are highly prevalent. There are about 3,000 cases of this cancer diagnosed per year. The primary cause of mesothelioma was intense asbestos exposure, especially around the 1980s when this element was heavily moved around within the US.
Cancer is diagnosed in several ways. Depending on the patient’s symptoms, the physician may carry out biopsies and scan the tissue cells to check the prevalence of tumors. Cancer treatment is both expensive and painful. The patient may need surgery to remove these tumors or chemo and radiation to shrink the cells. Afterward, the patient may need several follow-ups to prevent remission.
Obesity is a serious health condition when fat accumulates in various body parts, leading to an intense buildup of fat deposits. Individuals who have a body mass index greater than 30 are considered obese since these numbers indicate they have more fat than muscle. Fatty deposits can cause many health complications, including clogged blood vessels interrupting blood flow. It also leads to an unnatural amount of glucose in the bloodstream that the body’s natural insulin production cannot control. As a result, diseases like stroke, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes are common among those with obesity.
More than 70% of adults in the US have a problem with obesity. While the leading cause is sedentary life and a poor lifestyle, other factors include genetics and a family history of obesity.
In some cases, obesity can be traced to rare medical conditions like Prader’ Willi syndrome or Cushing syndrome. Obesity can also occur because of another disease. For instance, a patient with arthritis may find it hard to exercise and move, eventually causing them to become obese. Certain medications, like antidepressants and anti-seizure pills, can also lead to weight gain, as well as steroids and beta blockers.
Diabetes is an autoimmune disease that prevents your pancreas from making enough insulin to counter the glucose production in your bloodstream. According to a 2018 stat, more than 11% of Americans had diabetes, and more than 7 million individuals were living with undiagnosed diabetes. It is a severe negligence case, as an influx of glucose in your blood can put you in shock and render you unconscious.
The body needs to naturally react to the amount of glucose in the blood and bring the threshold down to the normal range. There are primarily two types of diabetes. Type one is a genetic condition that expresses itself in young individuals. Children who inherit type one diabetes can be as young as four and need regular insulin injections to keep the levels under check.
In contrast, type 2 diabetes occurs because of a poor lifestyle and diet. Individuals who eat too many carbohydrates, starchy food items, and sugary desserts are highly susceptible to type 2 diabetes. Undiagnosed diabetes can damage the kidneys, eyes, and nerves. You must test yourself if you feel dizzy after a meal, frequently urinate, and thirsty despite drinking water. Your doctor will screen you for diabetes, conduct a blood test and check your blood sugar levels. A positive diagnosis, while not treatable, is manageable. Weight control, a healthy diet, and taking pills on time can help you manage your diabetes.
Another major health problem in the United States is Crohn’s disease, which affects 2.7% of the population. To put it simply, Crohn’s disease causes inflammation in the digestive tract. Because of this, ulcers and other problems can develop. In the United States alone, there are 33,000 new cases each year, and the prevalence of the disease is rising. It can cause conditions like bleeding, intestinal perforation, and infection.Also, it only is diagnosed after a thorough medical history, and a physical examination has ruled out all other possibilities.
There is currently no known cure, but the condition can be controlled. Treatment options range from modifying the patient’s diet to prescribing anti-inflammatory medication, antibiotics, or even surgery for severe cases.
The US is a land of opportunity. Yet no matter how progressive this nation is, it still has miles to go in healthcare and managing diseases. Americans are battling with numerous healthcare problems at one time. While the list is exhaustive, common ailments include cancer, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Each of these conditions needs proper diagnosis and management.
This is why if a patient feels unusual symptoms, they need to check in with a doctor and get a consultation immediately. Early diagnosis is the key to solving most of these healthcare crises, and if the illnesses turn out to be chronic, they can get managed under strict supervision.