Are you aware of some of the biggest health concerns in America? Here are some of the biggest:

Flesh-eating bacteria! It seems hard to believe such an evil sounding malady exists in this day and age…it seems to belong to the time of the Black Plague, or the Dark Ages. Yet in our day of fluoridated water, clean air standards, and EPA oversight, more than one young person is battling to live; antibiotics, antibacterial agents, skin grafts and amputations are the only weapons, and the fight is long and extremely painful. A casual swim in water that is, unbeknownst to you, polluted; a small open cut you had not noticed on your body; you could be next to face the flesh eating bacteria! Are you scared?

H1N1 and pandemic flu! It begins with patient zero, that one individual who catches the most antibiotic resistant flu to date…that individual goes into the big city and a contagion has begun! People are leaving their homes with surgical masks on and the Purell flows like water. The hospitals college lab report template begin to fill up with sick people, and some of the very old, very young, and those with compromised immune systems die from this new flu. The government is scrambling to make vaccine, but not enough is available so rationing begins. We made it through that first year, but H1N1 is far from eradicated and the flu is known to have shifting antigens, capable of coming back stronger than ever! Are you scared?

Tainted lettuce, melons, peanuts, meat and eggs! In the past two years, America has been almost routinely alerted to the possibility that the food we have bought and may have already consumed has been exposed to salmonella, listeria or e-coli. We are advised that many people have been sickened, some fatally, after eating food from unsanitary and sometimes barbaric farms. The resulting outrage and concern leads to a media frenzy to know what is really in our food supply; arsenic in apple juice! Pink slime in ground beef! And water we are so concerned about, we drink it from a plastic bottle instead of our own tap! Are you scared?

Surprisingly, none of these “panic of the week” illnesses are even one of the biggest health concerns in America. Our most formidable causes of sickness and death are far more familiar, having been around a long time. Here is what should be concerning us:

  • Heart Disease: The number one killer of men and women, heart disease claims more people each  year than all cancers combined. While there are some factors beyond our control, such as age, gender and heredity, there are other factors we can do something about. Staying fit, with moderate exercise…don’t carry any extra weight…eat a sensible diet low in fat and sodium…don’t smoke…don’t drink to excess…and monitor your stress level. Knowing you have some control makes heart disease far less scary!
  • Cancer: While cancer can strike anywhere in the body, lung cancer is by far the most common in both men and women. Men can be stricken with prostate and testicular cancer, and women get ovarian, uterine and cervical cancers; both sexes are at risk for breast cancer. It is true that anyone at any age may develop cancer that sometimes proves fatal, but there are lifestyle choices that can improve your chances. Living a healthy lifestyle with healthy food choices (including antioxidants), keeping a healthy weight, not smoking or drinking to excess, and wearing sunscreen to prevent melanoma are some of the changes you can make to be healthy and far less scared!
  • Stroke:  Also called a cerebrovascular accident, a stroke occurs when a blood vessel ruptures and bleeds in the brain, or when a blood clot anywhere in the body tears loose and travels to the brain. While there are varied causes for blood clots and strokes, the lifestyle choices are again the hedge of control we have against a debilitating or deadly stroke. Healthy diet, exercise, no extra weight, monitored and controlled blood pressure, no smoking or drinking to excess and stress management can keep stroke from becoming one of the biggest health concerns in America.
  • COPD, Type 2 Diabetes, Kidney Disease:  Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also known as emphysema, is directly related to smoking: Type 2 Diabetes in adults is often caused by obesity: Kidney Disease is also related to poor health choices, such as drinking to excess and obesity. Are you scared now?

The remaining causes of chronic pain, disability and death that are of the biggest health concerns in America are injuries from auto accidents and in the home; accidental poisoning; septicemia (also known as blood poisoning) from unclean wound treatment or bad infectious control of a sick room, often leading to death. Alzheimer’s’ Disease is rapidly becoming of concern because of the sheer numbers of Americans that have been diagnosed, and no clear cause is known; there is some link, once again, to heart disease and its risk factors, but also to previous head injuries. The research continues to find a cause and, hopefully, a cure.

It seems the biggest health concern in America are the numbers of citizens who daily make choices that put them in the path of disease, disability and death, instead of using the power knowledge gives them to save their futures and very lives!  Well, America, ARE YOU SCARED?