The United States is one of the most diverse nations in the world. As different as we may seem, our health issues can be very similar. Health care trends tend to be pretty consistent across large swaths of the population, so it’s important to pay attention when one becomes widespread. Your local AFC can advise you on which conditions should concern you and how to take action to prevent them.
The No. 1 health condition in the U.S. is heart disease. It is one of the leading causes of death, comprising more than a quarter of all deaths annually. It is estimated that someone has a heart attack in the U.S. every 43 seconds. To prevent heart disease, doctors recommend routine physical activity, a diet full of fresh produce and limited alcohol consumption.
Obesity is a huge health concern in the U.S., and it affects more people each year. Staving off weight gain is difficult for many Americans, as they lack the time and resources to easily maintain a healthy lifestyle. In fact, many parts of America are referred to as “food deserts,” meaning that more than a third of the population resides an unreasonable distance away from a well-equipped and affordable grocery store, farmer’s market or other healthy food providers. Often, these same communities are also classified as “play deserts,” meaning they don’t have safe spaces for residents to be active outdoors.
Another problem hospitals all over the country are facing is the growing resistance of some strains of bacteria to antibiotic treatments. Bacteria can evolve very quickly, which means that resistance to antibiotics is presenting an ever-greater challenge to health care providers. MRSA, strep throat and tuberculosis have all been the subjects of research since the early 2000s as antibiotic resistant strains have emerged. Recent epidemics of the diseases, especially in hospital settings, are scary because there are fewer ways to treat them.
A public health issue that has been receiving more attention lately is the impact of stress on mental, physical and emotional health. According to a poll conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, a quarter of Americans say they are under a “high level” of stress. Stress not only contributes to chronic health issues like headaches, muscle pain and sleep problems, but it has also been linked to the worsening of seemingly unrelated health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Experts recommend that people who deal with chronic stress get routine checkups and find effective coping methods.
These are the most common health problems facing the U.S. today. The good news is that preventive care can go a long way in helping people who might be at risk of developing these issues. Your local AFC can take many of these issues and recommend immediate and long-term solutions that will fit your lifestyle, without requiring you to make an appointment. So visit a nearby AFC location, and learn how you can be proactive in getting and keeping yourself healthy.