Three Most Common Health Conditions in the U.S.
The American lifestyle often has no equal. We have access to food, entertainment and comfort that few people around the world enjoy. Unfortunately, there are some drawbacks to these perks, namely a higher risk to certain health issues. These medical conditions are often the result of genetic predisposition, poor diet or high risk habits like smoking or drinking.
The good news is that it is not too late to change. You can make lifestyle changes that may seriously reduce your risk for major health issues. By merely adopting a healthier diet and exercising regularly, you may significantly diminish the likelihood of heart attacks, strokes or cancer, the three leading health problems among Americans. Follow the advice of your physician and take any medications as prescribed—these treatments could vastly improve your quality of life and extend it.
Heart disease is the number one killer of American men and women, contributing to almost 610,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. Heart disease leads to almost 735,000 heart attacks each year, with 525,000 of these being the first such health event and 210,000 occurring among people who have already experienced a prior cardiac event. This makes heart disease the leading killer of whites, Hispanics and African Americans; it is the second most prevalent fatal health condition among Asians and Native Americans, behind only cancer.
Heart disease is a health condition in which one’s arteries become blocked. This blockage prevents oxygen and nutrients from reaching the heart which can produce a heart attack, chest pains, stroke or high blood pressure. Once acquired, there is no way to reverse the damage to blood vessels, although there are procedures to mitigate some blockages. Without medical intervention, sufferers of heart disease will experience deterioration of their cardiovascular system for the rest of their lives.
The most important risk factors for acquiring heart disease are high cholesterol, high blood pressure or smoking. Almost 47 percent of all Americans have one or more of these risk factors. You may also be at risk for heart disease if you are obese, have diabetes, habitually drink alcohol, eat an unhealthy diet or exercise infrequently.
The best way to treat heart disease is to make lifestyle changes like losing weight, giving up smoking and drinking, and managing stress and depression. If your doctor recommends medications, follow their instructions religiously; these drugs may limit or reduce plaque buildup in your arteries. In more advanced cases, your physician may recommend procedures like angioplasty or coronary bypass surgery.
Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the U.S., with more than 140,000 people dying from a stroke each year. This major health emergency is also the leading cause of serious, long-term disability among Americans. An estimated 795,000 stroke events happen in the United States each year, or one every 40 seconds. Although almost three quarters of strokes occur among people aged 65 or older, they may strike at any age.
In the simplest terms, a stroke is a stoppage of blood flow to the brain. This blockage prevents oxygen and nutrients from reaching the brain, causing brain cells to die. These blockages may result from leaking, bursting, or narrowing arteries in or near the brain. Blood clots are the most common cause of strokes, leading to almost 85 percent of strokes. An important factor is often the accumulation of fatty deposits in the arteries, commonly referred to as plaque.
Strokes often occur without warning, and without immediate attention may produce death or serious disability. The most common symptoms of a stroke are
- Difficulty speaking or comprehending
- Numbness of one side of body or face
- Vision trouble
- Loss of coordination, including walking
Patients who obtain medical care within three hours are most likely to make a recovery and avoid long-term disability.
The most common treatment for ischemic strokes (involving blood clots) is to introduce aspirin or a tissue plasminogen activator into the patient’s blood stream as soon as possible. These medications will help break down or dislodge the blood clot. The treatment for a hemorrhagic stroke that involves excessive bleeding is surgery to clamp burst blood vessels.
Although cancer remains the second most common fatal health conditions in the U.S., the cancer death rate continues to decline. Much of this success is due to the mounting scientific research and new cancer therapies that bolster survival rates. According to the National Cancer Program, almost 41 percent of all Americans will be diagnosed with some form of cancer at some point in their lives, and almost 21 percent will die from it. Almost 1.7 million Americans were diagnosed with cancer in 2016, and almost 600,000 died from it.
Although one of the major causes of cancer—smoking—is on the decline, another major risk factor—obesity—is on the uptick. More cancer cases are expected to appear in the coming years as the U.S. population ages because cancer rates go up with age.
One of the biggest factors in surviving cancer is early detection. Patients can raise the likelihood of survival to 90 percent or higher if certain types of cancer are detected in its early stages. That is why it is critical to regularly visit a doctor and get screened for cancer on a regular basis. Healthy lifestyle changes like better diet and regular exercise may also significantly lower the risk of cancer.
It may not be possible to avoid all diseases and injuries, but with the right medical team, your chances for a positive outcome go up sharply. The first step in protecting your health is getting on a health plan that gives you regular access to an outstanding team of primary care physicians and medical specialists that will monitor your health, provide reliable advice, and manage an effective treatment program if a major health issue should strike.
At Boost Health Insurance, you will find a wide variety of health plans that will help keep you and your loved ones at peak health.
Find the best plans in Los Angeles, CA
Speak to one of our licensed health insurance agents.