Five Bigger Health Threats than Ebola to Americans Right Now—And What You Can Do About Them
While we all watch the Ebola outbreak in West Africa with justified concern—and while some observers have even expressed concern about the risk of bringing Americans with the disease home to the US—it’s worth remembering that we already know where Americans who are really worried about health risks should be focusing their concerns if they want to stay healthy: Disease prevention and health screenings, safe driving, and adopting healthy lifestyles.
Inaction is our biggest threat when it comes to preventing disease and serious health threats. According to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, optimal use of nine clinical interventions including colonoscopies, screening and treatment for high blood pressure, and the flu vaccine could prevent up to 100,000 deaths per year in people under 80 years old, and up to 40,000 deaths per year in people under 65. Yet only about a quarter of adults ages 50 to 65 are up to date on recommended immunizations and cancer screening tests, the CDC reports. HealthTap doctors offer more information on health screenings here.
2. Heart disease
This disease kills more Americans than any other disease every year. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease, which causes heart attacks and strokes, kills more people than all forms of cancer combined, and Americans can reduce their risk immediately by quitting smoking, managing high blood pressure, losing excess weight, and adopting a heart-healthy diet. HealthTap doctors weigh in on risk factors here.
Cancer risk can be significantly reduced by lifestyle choices—not smoking, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, using sunscreen and by getting regular cancer screenings recommended by your doctor. For more information about the most common types of cancer, risk factors, tests and tips, visit the Cancer Topic Page on HealthTap.
Stroke is the number three cause of death in women, and the number four cause of death in men and, like heart disease, stroke-related risks can be reduced by making healthy life choices that include not smoking, staying active and exercising more, losing weight, and adopting a heart-healthy diet. Learn about risk factors from our HealthTap doctors here.
5. Traffic Accidents
Traffic Accidents are the leading cause of fatal injuries in both men and women according to the Mayo Clinic and the Centers for Disease Control. By wearing your seat belt, adopting a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to drinking and driving, and putting your cell phone away so you never drive while distracted by phone calls or texts, you’ll be reducing your risk of injury or death on the road.
Keeping health risks in perspective is one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy. Americans concerned about their health can be proactive about preventing and detecting the risks that are the greatest threats to their health.