Medical problems are rated highly as the most worrying alongside economic concerns in America. Americans are spending immensely on health and medical conditions today more than in any other time in history. A huge proportion of family income is dedicated towards medical expenses dealing a debilitating blow to other core sectors. The top medical problems are mostly analyzed by taking into consideration the amount of financial expenditure and number of deaths per year.
1. Heart diseases
For years now heart diseases have dominated as amongst the most serious medical conditions not only in America but also the rest of the world. According to the Forbes Magazine, heart diseases took the biggest chunk of the total amount spent on medical problems in 2011 more than all types of cancers combined.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for every six dollars spent to address health concerns one was consumed by medications towards cardiovascular diseases. This situation is expected to worsen and almost triple in the coming twenty years. Painting a grimmer picture is the report that almost one-third of all deaths recorded in 2011 are as a result of heart related complications. There are several types of heart diseases and all come with debilitating consequences once they bloom.
There is the coronary artery diseases and also the fatal congestive heart failure. Although they may show similar signs they require distinct management. There are several causes associated with heart diseases and the first major one is heredity. Individuals from a family with a history of heart diseases have increased chances of succumbing to a similar condition.
Levels of cholesterol in the body can also determine predisposition. If they are above the recommended healthy level there is a higher risk of getting heart conditions. Others are tobacco, diabetes and alcohol. There are other causes but the ones listed here are the major ones. Prevention of heart diseases revolves around maintaining a healthy lifestyle to avoid the predisposing factors. Exercising, avoiding smoking and excess alcohol and healthy eating are some of the habits that can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
The second most common medical condition in the United States after cardiovascular diseases is cancer. Cancer has become a major burden both to the public, the families of the people diagnosed with cancer and the patients themselves. A look at the existing expenditure reports indicates that the cost of treating and managing cancer has almost tripled in the last few years. According to the American Cancer Society, the annual cost of cancer is more than a quarter of a trillion with this cost being taken up by the medication expenditure and lost productivity as a result of mortality. The most common cancers affecting the largest chunk of the population include lung, breast and prostate cancers. The causes of cancers are varied and some remain unknown. However the existing research has pointed an accusing finger to heredity and lifestyle defects. Lung cancer for instance is caused mostly the exposure to toxic fumes including tobacco smoke. Other types of cancers may be caused by sedentary lifestyles, unhealthy diets, alcohol and exposure to harmful rays amongst others.
According to the existing reports, diabetes is the third commonest medical problem in the United States today. According to the Forbes Magazine, a whooping $34 billion was spent on diabetes in 2011. This does not include the cost of distress and agony inflicted upon the family members in case of mortality or the lost productivity. Diabetes has become a major concern in the recent years with most experts attributing it to poor eating habits and unhealthy lifestyles. There are three categories of diabetes and they differ in symptoms, causes and the level of damages they inflict. The type 1 diabetes affects young people and has been on the rise for the last one decade. Type 2 diabetes is the most common and affects adults or those above the age of forty years. Recent developments however indicate that it is becoming prevalent even amongst people of thirty and twenty years. Its increase in the last years is blamed on poor lifestyles. There is also the gestational diabetes that severely affects pregnant ladies. It is mostly nonfatal and can be controlled through proper diet and exercises. Indeed even type 2 diabetes is preventable through adoption of safe eating habits, avoiding alcohol and engaging in regular exercises.
Over half a million people succumb to stroke annually according to a report published in Oxford Journals. There are close to six million of prevalent cases of stroke reported and more than seven hundred thousand cases of recurrence annually. There is no doubt that this is a serious epidemic that is not related to any particular gender, race of social class. This situation is expected to worsen due to the increase in ageing population increasing the number of daily deaths from stroke. Stroke is caused by the blockage of supply of blood to the brain resulting into death of brain cells. It can be partial where only a small part of the brain is affected or it can be a major case resulting to permanent damage to the brain. The major risk factors include high blood pressure, smoking, excessive drinking and diabetes amongst others. To prevent stroke hence requires a change in lifestyle. It requires reduction of cholesterol by avoiding unhealthy eating habits and exercises. Others would include avoiding smoking and binge drinking.
Osteoarthritis is the term used to represent a number of disorders that affect the joint resulting in joint aches. It is a common disorder in the United States affecting close to 25 million people. It is rated fifth in terms of direct cost of treating it leading to an expenditure of more than $34 billion dollars. It is caused by a number of factors such as trauma, heredity and nutritional factors amongst others. Its huge expenditure is as a result of the cost of joint replacement procedures which are quite costly.
With the increased lifespan, expenditure on health has almost tripled in the recent years. There has also been an increase in diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart diseases in the population with some even afflicting younger people initially considered to be outside the risk bracket. Intense campaigns are indeed required to address the worsening situation especially for preventable diseases whose prevalence can be reduced by a change in lifestyle.
6. Respiratory Diseases
7. Kideny Disease
9. Pneumonia and Influenza
10. Alzheimer’s disease
11. Depression/ Intentional self-harm