It is important to note that many of the biggest health concerns in America are related to each other. Blood pressure affects heart disease and stroke, with affect diabetes, which affect kidney disease. Kidney disease and Alzheimer’s disease may have related influences. Pneumonia can cause chronic respiratory illnesses. The body is a living machine, and everything is connected. This is why it is so important to maintain a healthy diet and receive regular check-ups from your doctor.
Heart disease remains the leading cause of death among Americans, male and female. The American Heart Association reports that heart disease causes more death annually than all forms of cancer combined.
Even though it is often thought of as a “men’s disease,” strokes actually take the lives of more women than men every years, making them the third leading cause of death among women and fourth among men. The risk of having a stroke greatly increases with age.
Diabetes is a condition that affects many Americans. Type 1 diabetes is diagnosed early in life, and while the exact cause of it is unknown, it is mostly thought to be a genetic mutation that causes the body to produce too little insulin resulting in an excess of glucose in the blood. Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, is developed later in life and is caused by years of poor diet. While the body produces an adequate amount of insulin, the individual consumes too much sugar for normal levels of insulin to handle. Diabetes contributes to heart disease, blindness, coma, and eventually death.
Kidney disease is often related to diabetes and/or high blood pressure. Estrogen plays a role in preventing kidney disease which is why men and menopausal and post-menopausal women are more likely to develop kidney disease.
Alzheimer’s disease, like kidney disease, may be related to estrogen levels, as well as heart disease, although the exact cause remains unknown. Nevertheless, Alzheimer’s disease is the 5th leading cause of death in women and the 10th in men.
Of all cancers, lung cancer is the greatest cause of death among both men and women. American insurance companies report receiving the most claims regarding, in order, prostate cancer, skin cancer, and breast cancer. Regular cancer screenings are crucial in catching cancer in its early and most treatable stages.
Asthma is a common respiratory disease, but being very treatable it is unlikely to cause death. However, other kinds of respiratory diseases that fall into a category called chronic obstructed pulmonary diseases (COPD) are quite dangerous. COPD includes ailments such as bronchitis and emphysema. About 80% of COPD cases are caused by cigarette smoke.
Influenza and pneumonia
We think of the flu as being an illness similar to a cold: it is certainly uncomfortable, but will quickly pass without any lasting harm. But as we saw with the outbreak of the H1N1 virus, influenza can be quite serious. Complications with influenza can lead to pneumonia, which can be fatal particularly in people with a compromised immune system, the elderly, and the very young.
The mind has a huge impact on the body, yet many Americans don’t think about stress and mental illness as major health concerns. Reports indicate that over 25% of Americans suffer from some kind of mental illness, ranging from depression to bi-polar disorder.
Health care access
While access to health care is not a diagnosis in and of itself, it certainly affects the outcome of a disease, infection, or injury. It is also a major issue in America right now, with a new universal health care plan currently being debated.
Your health has a direct impact on the amount you pay for term life insurance . Jeff covers these very topics for the Term Life Insurance blog.