Top 10 Facts About America’s Health

Americans don’t receive much good news when it comes to healthcare. While the United States spends more on healthcare than any other high-income country, its citizens rank near the bottom in many key measures of health such as life expectancy and infant mortality rates.

Americans are widely recognized for leading healthcare innovations worldwide. Below are a few important facts about America’s medical system that you should keep in mind:

1. Life Expectancy

Researchers first highlighted an alarming trend 10 years ago: Americans were dying younger and in poorer health than residents of peer countries.

But the situation has only grown more dire. Last year, American life expectancy stood at just 76 years and 10 months – the lowest number seen since 1996.

COVID-19 reports that drug overdoses and suicide were responsible for most of America’s decline, while other factors including lack of access to health care, chronic disease rates, and lower vaccination rates among certain populations all played a part. Therefore, America must address its health challenges head-on if we want to see our population flourish more successfully; starting with state leaders. Longer lives not only benefit individuals and their families, but also our economy as a whole.

2. Infant Mortality

Since 2010, the United States has fallen far short of other high-income nations when it comes to infant mortality and other aspects of healthy lives, such as lifespan and morbidity (disease-related illness). Furthermore, Americans typically live shorter lifespans and suffer higher morbidity (disease related illness) rates compared to people from comparable nations.

According to a 2013 study, Americans with relatively good health behaviors still suffer. Even those exhibiting such behaviors as exercising regularly, not being overweight, and not smoking have poorer outcomes compared to their counterparts abroad, further illustrating that our healthcare system contains serious flaws that negatively impact Americans overall health and their outcomes. Furthermore, disparities exist across racial and economic groups in health coverage that create an ongoing cycle where poorer health and low income go hand-in-hand; leading to even more spending on healthcare expenses in return.

3. Chronic Diseases

American health issues like heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure and diabetes affect everyone nationwide and can have a dramatic impact on life expectancy – but are often not directly attributable to America’s healthcare system. But in Hawaii, the healthiest state in the U.S., those conditions are less prevalent.

Many chronic diseases are preventable through regular physical exercise and diet; yet their prevalence continues to increase as Baby Boomer population ages and disease rates among younger populations rise.

Additionally, different regions of the country exhibit different risk factors for chronic diseases. For example, rural Appalachian counties tend to experience higher mortality rates from cardiovascular issues compared with urban areas, likely as a result of poor lifestyle choices like smoking and lack of physical activity – this trend having an effectful negative influence on health care spending as a whole.

4. Physician Visits

An appointment with your physician can uncover health hazards that are unseen, as well as prevent small issues from turning into bigger ones. For those with family histories of heart disease, diabetes or cancer who would benefit from screening tests to detect and treat these conditions more quickly.

American citizens visit their physicians less often than people from other nations despite having the highest per capita health care spending worldwide.

Visits to your physician can help to reduce medical costs. Regular visits allow your physician to make more accurate diagnoses and manage chronic diseases more effectively, thus decreasing hospital or emergency room visits you have to pay for. A recent study demonstrated that individuals who visit their doctors more often tend to spend less on healthcare costs overall.

5. Cancer Mortality Rates

Cancer deaths have seen a remarkable decline over the last 28 years in the US due to improved screening which has allowed earlier detection, making treatment more effective and saving lives.

Even as cancer mortality rates decrease, some forms still claim many lives each year. Lung cancer remains responsible for most cancer-related deaths followed by colorectal and esophageal cancer.

Blood cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma are another leading cause of death worldwide, taking nearly nine lives every minute.

6. Access to Treatment for Chronic Diseases

Americans are more prone to chronic diseases than people from other nations due to harmful habits like smoking and poor diets combined with age-related health concerns.

However, medical costs can limit access to care. According to recent survey data from Gallup Inc., four out of ten adults reported deferring getting tests or treatments due to cost; this trend was especially evident among rural counties where chronic disease risk is often high.

Many Americans are suffering under medical debt, which can damage credit and make loans for other expenses more difficult to secure. Furthermore, residents in other heavily regulated nations with healthcare systems that are also heavily governed by government bodies also disapprove and want reform to their healthcare systems; some may even serve as models for an overhauled American system.

7. Vaccination Rates

Speedy vaccination of large numbers of people is the key to mitigating current pandemics and warding off future ones, but that alone won’t do. Equal distribution must also be ensured.

TIME examined vaccination data to assess America’s progress toward herd immunity. County-level statistics reveal that more socially vulnerable counties tend to have lower vaccination rates compared with less vulnerable ones.

Vaccination rates among Black and Hispanic people, LGBTQ individuals and rural residents lag far behind those seen nationwide. Grassroot health organizations are working hard to overcome such hurdles; ultimately however, personal preferences and influences play a part in whether someone gets a shot; financial incentives can often help make the decision easier for some individuals.

8. Smoking Rates

Cigarette smoking is one of the leading causes of lung cancer, heart disease and other illnesses. Smokers face increased risks for asthma, emphysema, stroke and aortic dissection – balloon-like bulges in an artery within the chest – in addition to having higher risks of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis and bronchitis.

Though physicians were initially slow to recognize the health risks associated with smoking, many took an aggressive stance against government efforts to implement warning labels or limit advertising (AMA 1964).

Modern strategies exist to both deter people from smoking or help existing smokers quit, such as education regarding risks, laws prohibiting smoking in public places and workplaces, smoking cessation programs, etc. Smokers who opt out have significantly longer life expectancies compared to their counterparts who continue smoking regardless of sex, socioeconomic status or race/ethnicity.

9. Environmental Risks

Tobacco’s entire lifecycle can be detrimental to the environment. Cigarette production causes deforestation and soil contamination with pesticides used during production; secondhand smoke damages both animals and humans alike while it creates massive amounts of trash in its wake – from butts and packaging materials alone!

In 2013, the health care sector was responsible for a substantial share of national emissions and their associated public health burdens, through both direct and indirect activities. These include greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (12%), smog formation (9%) criteria air pollutants (9%) stratospheric ozone depletion (1%) as well as carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic air toxics (1-2%). Impact data are drawn from an Eora life cycle assessment model with links to National Health Expenses as well as other environmental indicators (this data).

10. Elderly Population

With an increasing average age, America is facing increasing challenges that come with an aging population. Elderly Americans frequently require medical and long-term care services provided by geriatric teams composed of doctors, nurses, social workers, and long-term care assistants.

Elderly individuals also have unique needs when it comes to health insurance coverage. Many older adults carry high levels of debt from medical bills not covered by their policy, making it harder for them to obtain credit and loans in the future.

These unheralded facts about America’s health should be considered by those calling for an overhaul of its world-leading healthcare system. Systems held up as models are often disapproved of by their residents – it is time for change!

Post Author: Steve Gonzalez