We all have our share of aches, pains, and assorted ailments. But just how common are your health issues? Here, presented in no particular order, is a list of the 10 most common health issues as compiled by the University of Rochester Medical Center, the NIH, and other sources.
Cancer is a word all too familiar to many families across the United States. While many forms of cancer are treatable (especially when caught early), others are not. There are many types of cancer. All types of cancer involve abnormal cells that divide uncontrollably, with the ability to interfere with and invade other tissues of the body.
People who experience symptoms of cancer – including lumps or thickening under the skin, fatigue, skin changes, unexplained bleeding or bruising, among others – need to see a healthcare professional for a diagnosis right away. While it’s scary to hear a diagnosis of cancer, research is promising. Cancer treatments are better than ever before, and many people go on to live long, healthy lives after successfully battling cancer.
- Overweight and Obesity
Being overweight or obese increases your chances of dying from hypertension, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, respiratory problems, dyslipidemia, and endometrial, breast, prostate, and colon cancers.
Tobacco is the single greatest preventable cause of illness and premature death in the U.S. Tobacco use is now called “Tobacco dependence disease.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that smokers who try to quit are more successful when they have the support of their physician.
- Substance Abuse
Substance abuse usually means drugs and alcohol. But abuse also included “self-medication for physical pain, or emotional stress using legal drugs and alcohol, which can lead to serious health consequences. And if you think drug or alcohol abuse is only a problem for the young, think again. Because of our stereotypes about senior citizens, even medical professionals often fail to see the signs of substance abuse in older Americans.
- Major Depression
Major depression, which frequently goes undiagnosed or untreated, is a mental illness characterized by a constant sense of hopelessness and despair, making it difficult to work, sleep or eat. The condition affects adults, teens, and children.
- Coronary Artery Disease
High blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, and diabetes can all damage or injure the inner layer of coronary arteries. Over time, the damage can worsen and become coronary artery disease, putting you at a much higher risk of a heart attack.
- Type 2 Diabetes
In people with diabetes, blood sugar levels rise higher than normal. Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease, is caused by obesity and lack of physical activity in about 90% of cases in the U.S.
- Environmental Quality
Even though pollution affects all of us, government studies have indicated that low-income, racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to live in areas where they face environmental risks. Compared to the general population, a higher proportion of the elderly are living just over the poverty threshold.
- Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that causes brain cells to shrink and die. 80% of people who have Alzheimer’s disease are age 75 or older. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease may include memory loss, difficulty with reasoning, difficulty making decisions, as well as personality changes (including depression), social withdrawal, loss of inhibition, mood swings, and more. While Alzheimer’s disease gets worse over time, there are steps that family members and other caretakers can take to help someone suffering from the disease live as comfortable a life as possible.
- Physical Activity and Nutrition
Research indicates that staying physically active can help prevent or delay certain diseases, including some cancers, heart disease, and diabetes, and also relieve depression and improve mood. Inactivity is especially a problem as you get older, but it doesn’t have to be. Check with your local churches or synagogues, senior centers, and shopping malls for exercise and walking programs. Like exercise, your eating habits are often not good if you live and eat alone. It’s important for successful aging to eat foods rich in nutrients and avoid the empty calories in candy and sweets.