Health Problems That Can’t Be Ignored
Our doctors, pharmaceutical companies, the government, and the mass media are constantly bombarding us with information about the health concerns resulting from obesity, smoking, and alcohol consumption. It seems like we can’t turn a corner without seeing another poster telling us what happens to our lungs when we smoke. Some cancers are so in the public eye – breast cancer, for example – while some are completely overlooked.
We aren’t necessarily given a balanced picture of what our healthcare priorities should be, so we’re not sufficiently informed about what to keep an eye out for. Coupled with our completely lack of desire to go and visit a healthcare practitioner, many people leave some serious illnesses for too long to seek help, reducing the effectiveness of the treatment process. We are doing a major disservice to ourselves, but we’re not being given the tools to recognize regularly occurring health problems and get the help we need. Here are some health problems which are all too common, but too often overlooked and underfunded.
Mental health issues
Mental health advocates are working tirelessly to rid it of the stigma that is all too common in society. While it’s becoming more acceptable to discuss problems such as depression and anxiety disorders, there is still far too much stigma attached. When one in four American adults are expected to experience some kind of mental health problem throughout their lifetime, why isn’t more being done to reduce the stigma?
A study carried out by the American Psychological Association in 2009 showed that the public is more scared of people with mental health conditions now than ever before. Statistics show that 68% of Americans don’t want someone with mental disorders marrying into their family, and 58% don’t even want them in the workplace.
When one in four Americans are suffering mental health problems, but more than half don’t want to be near them, then the people who desperately need care don’t feel able to seek the help they require.
If you’re suffering from an anxiety disorder, which is commonly characterized by sleeplessness, heart palpitations, and feelings of fear, it’s important to reach out to your medical practitioner, who may recommend therapy or treatments. Similarly, if you feel depressed, with thoughts of suicide, sadness, or a sense of ennui or lack of energy, you too should seek medical help. If anything relating to your mental health is concerning you, reach out for help.
There are plenty of organizations in the United States which offer advice and support, not only to help you get the treatment you need, but also for how to explain your diagnosis to friends, family, and colleagues. The stigma around mental health is slowly being beaten down, but it still requires an element of bravery to reach out for help – just remember that you’re not alone.
Deteriorating brain function
As we age, our memories, problem-solving abilities, and hand-eye coordination all start to deteriorate. A certain level of this is a natural part of the aging process, but fast or excessive deterioration could be indicative of further problems. Just like with mental health, people are embarrassed to admit that their brain function might be suffering.
Aging and the problems that accompany it can be uncomfortable to discuss for some, and the concern that it will lead to a diagnosis of dementia, brain tumors, or something equally scary means many people are put off speaking to a professional until it’s too late. It’s also difficult to quantify reflectively – how are you to know if your memory is suffering if you can’t remember that you were supposed to remember something?
The truth of the matter is that if you’re suffering from a reduced brain function for whatever reason, treatment for any of the above is far more effective when caught early on. Your doctor will be able to tell you if it’s the result of dementia or something quite severe, or if its cause is perfectly treatable, such as a poor diet, too much alcohol, or clinical depression
If you find that your memory has decreased rapidly, your hand-eye coordination is reduced, you’re confused easily, and you seem to lose things a lot, it is worth contacting your clinical practitioner to discuss causes and treatments. If you’re concerned about this in your future, there are many techniques proven to help aid brain function, even as you’re aging.
A healthy diet and exercise regime is a good start, but also keeping smoking and drinking to a minimum, and engaging in activities that act as brain exercise. Puzzles, problem-solving, and even computer games can all help to maintain brain function as you age, and can even help to delay the onset of dementia.
Despite the fact that our skin is the largest organ of our bodies (by weight) it can quite easily be overlooked when we consider our physical health. In actuality, it’s a great indicator of overall health. Many illnesses or physiological problems will exhibit external symptoms, such as skin discoloration, rash, or jaundice. When not accompanied by other symptoms, many people choose to overlook skin concerns and fail to seek medical help.
Isolated skin disorders are also often overlooked – many people are embarrassed that people will consider it a result of their personal cleanliness, or just don’t want to be seen to be causing a fuss. Skin disorders can cause immense pain to sufferers, as well as huge amounts of social discomfort. Adult acne can cause real embarrassment to sufferers, as can any other skin conditions which can’t be covered easily by clothing or makeup.
If you suffer from dry, flaky skin, rashes, adult acne, or anything else that looks problematic or feels uncomfortable, a trip to a well-respected dermatology consultant can be a great way to put your mind at rest, and start treatment. It’s also really important to keep an eye on your moles for any changes, itchiness, or other concerning features, and go straight to see the dermatologist if anything concerns you – they’d sooner you waste their time with something innocuous than not feel about to visit them with a real problem.
There’s something about feet that people just don’t like, and humans are generally pretty terrible at maintaining healthy feet. Athletes foot, for example, can go completely untreated for months because people are reticent to acknowledge that there is an issue. Women regularly cram their feet into ill-fitting or uncomfortable shoes, causing long-term damage to the bones and skin – all for the sake of fashion.[clickToTweet tweet=”Worrying Health Problems That We Need To Start Talking About” quote=”Worrying Health Problems That We Need To Start Talking About” theme=”style3″]
If you suffer from numbness or swelling anywhere on your foot, have discolored or uncomfortable toenails, or pain in your heels, it’s time to see a podiatrist. Don’t just overlook it as something which will go away in its own time, or write it off as spending too much time on your feet if the pain doesn’t ease off within a couple of days – a quick trip to the foot doctors is all it takes for a diagnosis and treatment. Keep your feet in tip top condition by only putting socks on when feet are dry, wearing breathable fabric socks, and only investing in shoes which hold your feet well, and you shouldn’t face many problems in future.
As humans walk on two feet instead of all fours, we are naturally predisposed towards back problems. Sitting at a desk and driving a vehicle both contribute to the back health problems that around eight out of ten Americans will suffer from in their lifetimes. While most people who suffer back issues go to visit their doctor or a chiropractor for treatment, we are rarely taught ways in which we can avoid experiencing problems in the first place.
Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best ways to ensure we don’t suffer health problems, as our backs obviously carry most of the weight of our body. Getting into the habit of maintaining a good posture, and ensuring you use suitable office furniture are also good ways of staving off back problems in the future, but also ease the discomfort of tight shoulders and sore lower backs.
Regular exercise that builds the muscles in your back and core allow your muscles to carry your weight more effectively, and take some of the pressure off your spine, meaning problems like sciatica and herniated disks become less likely. Weight lifting, yoga, and pilates are all great for strengthening your core and ensuring a healthy back going forwards.
So many common health problems in the USA are overlooked, despite the fact that many of us will experience one or another of them in our lifetimes. Understanding symptoms, treatments, and causation is the best way to be prepared if something does happen, but it’s even more important to know how to avoid them. Maintaining a healthy body isn’t just about not smoking, drinking, or eating badly. It’s about taking the time to care for each little bit of our bodies, from our eyes to our feet, our skin and our spines.