Everyone wants to take care of his or her health, and if you’re someone who gets a flu shot every year, exercises regularly, and doesn’t smoke, you probably think you’re already doing everything you need to.
While you certainly deserve credit for your current efforts,you still may be at risk of suffering from some common health problems. From noise-induced hearing loss to addiction, here are six common health concerns that most people ignore but everyone—even the healthy set—should be aware of and tend to.
1. Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDOCD), 15 percent of Americans (about 25 million people) between the ages of 20 and 69 have noise-induced hearing loss due to work conditions or leisure activities. Work in industries as diverse as music and construction—if adequate hearing protection isn’t used consistently—can cause avoidable hearing loss over time. Listening to portable music devices with headphones or ear buds that are turned up too loud can cause hearing damage, too. If you suspect you may have hearing damage, it’s important to see an audiologist— click here for one in the New York area — as soon as possible to keep your hearing from getting worse and negatively affecting other aspects of your overall physical and mental health.
Most people believe stress is part of being alive, and while some stress can be beneficial—for instance, exercise puts stress on our bodies, which increases strength—too much, especially is you rarely get a break from it, can lead to increasingly poor health. Whether it’s from overwork, relationship troubles, or financial burdens is immaterial; when your body and brain experience chronic stress, your health will suffer.
High stress levels leads to an increased risk for high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, ulcers, back pain, depression, diabetes, and more. If you experience stress on an ongoing basis, you need to break its hold on you. Whether you choose yoga and meditation or exercise and talk therapy, don’t assume stress isn’t harming you. It is, but you can do something about it.
3. Sleeping Trouble
Who gets enough sleep anymore? Very few people it turns out, and that’s very bad news. While many Americans believe it’s a badge of honor to work, play, and function on too-little sleep, getting less than the recommended seven to eight hours a night can have deleterious effects on your health. Sleeping too little is associated with obesity, heart disease, headaches, diabetes, depression, memory loss, and more.
4. Mental Illness
It’s estimated that roughly one in four Americans suffers from a diagnosable mental illness every year, which amounts to over 60 million people. From depression to eating disorders, mental illness is deceivingly common, and its costs to individuals, families, and communities is substantial. People living with untreated or undiagnosed mental illness face more economic hardship, relationship instability, greater social isolation, and are at an increased risk for other health woes and even suicide.
Whether illegal drugs, alcohol, prescription medication, cigarettes, or other, addiction can wreak havoc in the life of an otherwise healthy and functioning individual. Besides the physical cravings that addiction creates, it can have devastating effects on mental health and overall physical well-being, and, with the exception of nicotine addiction, most other addictions will often accelerate until the individual suffering it is unable to hold a job or maintain relationships, which can lead to homelessness and crime. While there is no cure for addiction, there are many treatment options available, including medication and therapy.
6. High Blood Pressure
A common problem that few people take as seriously as they should, high blood pressure affects 70 million, or as many as one in three, Americans. High blood pressure is a silent problem until the trouble it causes—heart attacks, stroke, and heart disease—surfaces. Brought on by a combination of unlucky genes, unhealthy diet, and a sedentary lifestyle, other factors like stress, age, smoking, and alcohol consumption play a role as well. The fix for high blood pressure can include medication, regular exercise, eating more of a plant-based diet, and refraining from salt, alcohol, and cigarettes.
These six health concerns are deceivingly common across the United States, and even people who seem healthy and exhibit healthy behaviors can suffer from them. Thankfully, every one of them can be addressed, so long as you know what the trouble is and how to respond to it.