Nowadays, many medical marvels can extend our lifespan. However, each day the health problems list gets longer and longer. Though there are a lot of medications and treatments to control the symptoms of these diseases, we often put a lot of effort in to managing them but not on prevention.
In this article, we will explore the top health conditions affecting Americans. What are they? How do they affect us? And, what are the possible solutions?
What Are The Biggest Health Issues In America?
According to the Bloomberg Healthiest Country index, the US has a good ranking health positioning in 35thplace. This index ranks it depending on certain factors like life expectancy, obesity, and water access. While it ranks on top of other countries like Spain or Japan, there are still significant health concerns to consider.
- High Cholesterol
- Coronary Artery Disease
- Type 2 Diabetes
Blood pressure is the pressure from the blood traveling through your arteries. Normal blood pressure should be below 120 mmHg systolic blood pressure, and less than 80 mmHg diastolic blood pressure. A person is considered to have high blood pressure when they have a higher number than those noted above.
According to the CDC, in 2019, more than half of the deaths had hypertension as a primary or contributing cause. Additionally, it is said that only 25% of those that have hypertension have it controlled either through diet or medication.
One of the most common reasons we often see high levels of high blood pressure is salt consumption. The daily recommended sodium intake is 2,300 mg per day or around one teaspoon.
However, the FDA states that Americans often consume more than recommended. The average consumption is 3,400 mg per day. Eating more sodium means that your body retains more water. This leads to more water passing through your arteries which causes an increase in its pressure.
To avoid developing high blood pressure or to help manage the condition. Ensure that you are eating less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. Avoid canned or ultra-processed foods since they are often very high in sodium. If you have packaged food, make sure that it has less than 140 mg of sodium per serving to be classified as low in sodium.
2. Major Depression
Major depression is one of the most common mental illnesses Americans often have. Around 8% of the US population suffers from major depression, affecting more women than men. When left untreated, it can significantly impact your quality of life.
- Feeling sad or in a depressed mood
- Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Thoughts of death or suicide
While you must consult with a doctor, there are some things that you can do to manage or avoid depression.
- Take some sunlight. Daily exposure to sunlight increases your vitamin D, which has been proven to impact your mood.
- It can help you clarify your thoughts and learn how to control stress.
- Do some exercise. Exercise releases serotonin which is the happy hormone.
3. High Cholesterol
According to the CDC, over 12% of the population has high cholesterol levels. High cholesterol levels could lead to having a decrease in your heart health.
The body has a natural mechanism of regulating blood cholesterol. We can either get cholesterol through our diets or by internal production. If we have a higher cholesterol intake, the body compensates by decreasing its production.
However, a high cholesterol diet, large consumption of fried foods, or even genetics can affect your cholesterol levels in some cases.
To avoid or manage high cholesterol levels, ensure that you eat at least 5-6 portions of fruits and vegetables per day. Additionally, make sure that you eat at least 25 g of fiber per day. This can be obtained by consuming superfoods like veggies, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
4. Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary artery disease is a blockage in the arteries that supply the blood to your heart. This happens when there is a lot of cholesterol build-up in the arteries, allowing less blood to pass through them. Without any treatment, it can lead to heart disease, the leading cause of death in the US.
Factors that increase your chances of coronary heart disease are high blood pressure, leading to a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, high cholesterol levels, and unhealthy eating habits.
To prevent coronary artery disease, make sure you lead an active lifestyle. Not only does this mean exercising, but it also means moving more during the day. If you have a desk job where you spend a lot of time sitting, make sure to place alarms or reminders to move every 30 or 60 minutes.
Finally, the is the fifth health condition affecting Americans. It is estimated that over 11% of the population has diabetes, and it is estimated that 23% of adults have it but haven’t been diagnosed. Diabetes is when your sugar levels are higher than usual. Insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas, might not work or isn’t being released. A chronic increase of high sugar in your body could lead to nerve damage, heart disease, and body amputations.
To avoid or treat diabetes, make sure that you consume less than 10% of your total daily calories coming from sugars. This means consuming less than 4-5 teaspoons of sugar per day. Also, prefer whole grains over white or refined grains.
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The Bottom Line
The majority of the health conditions affecting Americans can be treated and even prevented. A correct diet full of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats, and healthy fats can help you achieve good health.
For those with trouble reaching an adequate intake of fruits or veggies, or if you simply want a healthy boost, you can always supplement with high-quality powdered supplements.