6 Major Health Problems Americans Face

4년 전

Americans face two health-related issues among the 10 most important problems facing the U.S.. according to a recent Gallup survey, healthcare in general tipped fourth on the list.

So, what are the actual dreadful health problems that Americans face?

One simple way to answer this paramount question is to look at what drugs are prescribed the most. Based on the most-prescribed drugs in the U.S., Here are the top health problems according to Medscape's analysis of data provided by IMS Health.

Hypothyroidism

Also called underactive thyroid or low thyroid, is a common disorder of the endocrine system in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. It can cause a number of symptoms, such as poor ability to tolerate cold, a feeling of tiredness, constipation, depression, and weight gain. Occasionally there may be swelling of the front part of the neck due to goitre. Untreated hypothyroidism during pregnancy can lead to delays in growth and intellectual development in the baby, which is called cretinism.

The American Thyroid Association estimates that 2%-3% of Americans have pronounced hypothyroidism, while 10%-15% have a mild version of the disease.

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Hypothyroidism occurs more frequently in women, especially women over age 60. Around half of Americans with the condition don't realize that they have hypothyroidism.

High cholesterol and high triglycerides

Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your blood. ... Metabolic syndrome is the combination of high blood pressure, high blood sugar, too much fat around the waist, low HDL ("good") cholesterol, and high triglycerides. Metabolic syndrome increases your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

The buildup can narrow the arteries and make it harder for blood to flow through them. The buildup can also lead to dangerous blood clots and inflammation that can cause heart attacks and strokes. LDL is the "bad" cholesterol. It's the kind that can raise your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

According to the American Heart Association, nearly 99 million Americans age 20 and over have high cholesterol. Elevated cholesterol levels are one of the major risk factors for heart attacks and strokes. The problem is that you won't know if you have high cholesterol unless you get tested -- and around one in three Americans haven't had their cholesterol levels checked in the last five years.

Heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease

Heartburn is a sensation of burning in the chest caused by stomach acid backing up into the esophagus (food pipe). The burning is usually in the upper and central part of the chest, just behind the sternum (breast bone). The burning can worsen or can be brought on by lying flat or on the right side.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic digestive disease. GERD occurs when stomach acid or, occasionally, stomach content, flows back into your food pipe (esophagus). The backwash (reflux) irritates the lining of your esophagus and causes GERD.

Heartburn strikes an estimated 20% of Americans at least once a week according to the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. A lot of people take over-the-counter medications, but that's not enough for many others.

Breathing disorders

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a term used for lung disorders such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and in some cases chronic asthma. People with COPD may have difficulty breathing, chronic cough, fatigue, and chest tightening.

The next two highly prescribed drugs treat breathing disorders. GlaxoSmithKline's (NYSE:GSK) Ventolin HFA is used by asthma patients, while the company's Advair Diskus treats asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. More than 25 million Americans have asthma. Around 7 million of these patients are children. Meanwhile, COPD, which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema, ranks as the third-leading cause of death in the U.S.

High blood pressure (Hypertension)

High blood pressure (hypertension) is defined as high pressure (tension) in the arteries, which are the vessels that carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body. If you have high blood pressure, this higher pressure puts extra strain on your heart and blood vessels. Over time, this extra strain increases your risk of a heart attack or stroke. High blood pressure can also cause heart and kidney disease, and is closely linked to some forms of dementia

Anyone whose blood pressure is 140/90 mmHg or more for a sustained period is said to have high blood pressure, or hypertension. Novartis (NYSE:NVS) claims the next top-prescribed drug with Diovan. The drug treats high blood pressure by relaxing and widening blood vessels, thereby allowing blood to flow more readily.

Around one-third of American adults have high blood pressure. Many don't know that they are affected, because the condition doesn't usually manifest symptoms for a long time. However, high blood pressure can eventually lead to other serious health issues, including heart and kidney problems.

Diabetes

Diabetes, often referred to by doctors as diabetes mellitus, describes a group of metabolic diseases in which the person has high blood glucose (blood sugar), either because insulin production is inadequate, or because the body's cells do not respond properly to insulin, or both.

With type 2 diabetes, the more common type, your body does not make or use insulin well.

The classic symptoms of untreated diabetes are weight loss, polyuria (increased urination), polydipsia (increased thirst), and polyphagia (increased hunger). Symptoms may develop rapidly (weeks or months) in type 1 DM, while they usually develop much more slowly and may be subtle or absent in type 2 DM.

Several highly prescribed drugs combat diabetes, with Sanofi's (NYSE:SNY) Lantus Solostar taking the top spot for the condition. Lantus Solostar is a long-acting basal insulin that is used for type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

So here's how to reduce your risk for disease:

  1. If you smoke, get help to quit. Smoking is the major cause of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and lung cancer.
  2. Find an activity you like and get moving. Your heart is a muscle that needs regular exercise to stay healthy. Exercise will also make it easier to maintain a healthy body weight.
  3. Following a healthy balanced diet can help you to maintain a healthy weight, lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk for disease. Choose high fibre, lower fat foods and 5-10 servings of fruit and vegetables every day.
  4. Being overweight increases your risk for diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. Talk to your healthcare provider to determine your personal healthy weight and work out a plan for achieving or maintaining it.
  5. Drinking too much alcohol can put you at risk for many kinds of cancer. Moderate drinking means an average of one drink for women or two drinks for men per day.Stress can raise your cholesterol level and blood pressure and lead to heart attack and stroke. Stress is also a trigger for mental health problems like depression.Take time to relax.
  6. Report any new signs and symptoms to your healthcare provider.

It's not easy to make a major lifestyle change. It takes time to form new habits.

Stay Healthy!

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