Each year, nearly 900,000 Americans die from a preventable cause. Several factors contribute to this statistic – rising costs in healthcare and health insurance plans, busier schedules with less time to shop for and prepare nutritious meals at home, along with a number of other geographic and socioeconomic variables. A 2014 study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) named several leading causes of death in the United States:
- Heart disease
- Chronic lower respiratory disease
Most chronic diseases are preventable. A similar study by the CDC lists the most common, preventable chronic diseases plaguing Americans today:
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
There are approachable steps that can be taken at any age to reduce or prevent your risk from being diagnosed with a chronic or preventable illness.
Stop Before You Start
A 2012 study showed that cigarette smoking accounted for more than 480,000 U.S. deaths in one year. It also noted that daily, 3,200 youth (younger than age 18) smoke their first cigarette. Thankfully, smoking cessation programs are becoming more common in the workplace, and awareness and prevention campaigns target youth across the country more now than ever before.
Excessive use of alcohol was noted in the CDC studies as a contributing factor to cancer, obesity, hypertension and other severe health-related issues. Approximately 88,000 U.S. adults die alcohol-related deaths, more than half of which are due to binge drinking. Drinking in moderation should be a safe practice for most adults. If you have questions about how alcohol relates to your health, don’t be afraid to speak with your physician, or visit AA.org to learn more about healthy drinking habits.
Hypertension and high cholesterol are two other common causes of U.S. adults contracting chronic, often preventable diseases. The risk of stroke increases in adults who have high cholesterol and/or high blood pressure, along with those adults who have heart disease, diabetes, are overweight or do not get enough physical activity. A diet low in sodium and carbohydrates, physical activity of 30 minutes or more daily and regularly monitoring your blood pressure can help greatly reduce these risks.
Tap into Community Resources
The Florida Department of Health in Brevard County has six locations from Melbourne to Titusville, offering affordable to no-cost care for residents. Services and programs offered include, but are not limited to:
- Vital Statistics
- Clinical & Nutrition Services Wellness Programs
- Community Health Planning & Statistics
- Environmental Health
- Emergency Preparedness & Response
- Infectious Disease Services
If you have healthcare questions or concerns that fall outside of the topics listed above, visit Brevard.FloridaHealth.gov, or call (321) 454-7111 for more information.
VNA Can Help
The Visiting Nurse Association of the Space Coast (VNA) is a local, non-profit organization that has been providing home healthcare throughout Brevard for over 16 years. In addition to home health services, the VNA has a team of community wellness nurses who provide no-cost community wellness clinics across the county. Community members are welcomed to no-cost blood pressure and glucose check-ups, provided by a registered nurse who can answer questions on health and nutrition topics, as well as provide education on best health practices to maintain healthy blood pressure and glucose levels.
VNA‘s community wellness nurses also provide ‘Shoo the Flu’ vaccination clinics throughout the county each September through November, offering flu and pneumonia vaccines. Receiving proper vaccinations on an annual basis is a proactive step of preventative care that can greatly reduce your risk of infecting yourself and those around you. VNA’s community wellness nurses are also available to speak to groups on relevant health topics like: hypertension, best wellness practices for preventative care, diabetes care and more. To learn more about VNA Space Coast’s community wellness clinics and programs, please visit VNAtc.com, or call (321) 752-7550.
Take Stock, NOW!
No matter your age or current state of health, it’s a good idea to take stock of your personal health plan and goals, and start thinking about areas where you can improve. This could look like scheduling your annual check-up, incorporating ten more minutes of walking into your day, or making an effort to cut back on food or substances you know aren’t improving your health, but doing the opposite. Small steps can result in big payoffs for your health and quality of life. Take time to identify resources within your community that can help aide in preventative healthcare, and help you achieve your personal health goals.