Saturday, November 26, 2022

4 Key Public Health Issues to Overcome

Even though the health sector in the United States is ranked number one in the world, public health is at a crossroads. Whether it’s ensuring access to quality care, preparing for and responding to health emergencies, or promoting healthy lifestyles, the public health system in the United States faces many challenges.

Tackling these challenges requires a concerted effort from everyone involved in the public health system. Government agencies must provide enough funding, healthcare providers and insurers must work together, and communities must engage in making progress.

But what areas need the most attention?

Let’s discover more details about public health issues in the United States.

Who Can Help Address These Issues?

Many organizations and groups are committed to improving public health in the United States. Some crucial members of this effort include:

The Federal Government:

The federal government regulates many aspects of public health and funding. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the primary agency that works to protect public health and prevent disease.

State and Local Governments:

State and local governments look after implementing many programs and policies that affect public health. They also play a role in funding and regulating public health initiatives. It’s important to note that states have significant autonomy in addressing public health issues.

Healthcare Providers:

Healthcare providers play a vital role in promoting and protecting the health of their patients. They can also help to prevent disease by providing vaccinations and screenings. Today, with easy access to online masters in public health degree programs, healthcare professionals can get the training they need to make a difference.

Community Organizations:

Community organizations play an essential role in promoting public health. They can work to increase access to care, promote healthy lifestyles, and advocate for policy changes. Some community organizations working to improve public health include the YMCA, the American Heart Association, and the American Cancer Society.

The Private Sector:

The private sector holds some accountability too. For example, businesses can promote wellness programs and policies, provide access to care, and support community health initiatives. They can also play a role in funding research and developing new technologies.

What Are Some of the Key Public Health Issues?

The United States public health faces certain challenges. Some of the most pressing issues include:

  • Heart Diseases

The leading cause of death in the United States is heart disease, which accounts for about one in every four deaths. The term defines various conditions that affect the heart, including congenital heart defects, coronary artery disease, and heart rhythm problems.

Unlike infectious diseases, heart diseases are largely preventable. There have been impressive strides in preventing and treating heart diseases, but much more needs to be done.

High blood pressure, cholesterol, and smoking are all significant risk factors for heart disease. Therefore, reducing these risk factors can go a long way in reducing the incidence of heart disease.

Public awareness of obesity, smoking, and regular exercise is essential in preventing heart disease. In addition, organizations can encourage heart-healthy lifestyles and provide access to care.

  • HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS is a grave public health issue affecting communities across the United States. According to research, there are about 35,000 new HIV infections yearly.

HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system, making it more difficult to fight off infections and diseases. AIDS is the most perilous stage of HIV infection and can be deadly.

Some activities, like unprotected sex or sharing needles, can put people at risk for HIV. However, many contract HIV without fault through blood transfusions or mother-to-child transmission.

HIV doesn’t have a cure, but early diagnosis and treatment are essential in its management. In addition, procedures like antiretroviral therapy can help people with HIV to live long and healthy lives.

But if we talk about prevention, mass public education is essential. People need to know how HIV is transmitted and how to protect themselves from infection.

  • Antibiotic-Resistant Viruses

Over time, viruses and bacteria have become resistant to the antibiotics we use to manage infections. As a result, it is now more difficult to treat common diseases like pneumonia, influenza, and tuberculosis. This resistance can also negatively affect surgeries and procedures such as chemotherapy. The World Health Organization reports that in 2017, about 600,000 tuberculosis cases showed resistance to the first line of defense against the disease.

Antibiotic-resistant infections are a major public health concern because they can lead to longer hospital stays, higher medical costs, and more deaths.

The only way to combat antibiotic-resistant infections is to prevent them from happening in the first place. Use antibiotics only when necessary and ensure that they are taken as prescribed. Practicing good hygiene and vaccinating against diseases like influenza are also important.

  • Mental Health Issues

Mental health is an integral element of overall health. Mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety, are common in the United States. According to the NIMH, about one in five adults in the United States suffers from a mental health disorder.

Most of the time, be it the taboo around the topic or the lack of resources, people suffering from mental health disorders refuse to get the help they need. It can lead to serious consequences like self-harm, substance abuse, and even suicide.

Therefore, we need to destigmatize mental health problems and provide more resources for people who suffer from mental health disorders. Schools, workplaces, and communities can join this effort by offering support to those who need it. Some practical measures include mental health education, early intervention, and employee assistance programs.

Conclusion:

We have only discussed some of the major public health issues. There’s much more work to be done to ensure everyone has access to quality healthcare and can lead healthy lives. We can make a difference by raising awareness, promoting prevention, and offering support. What are you doing to help improve public health?

If you’re invested in learning more about public health, consider a degree in the field. A Public Health degree can lead to a career in government, nonprofits, healthcare, or education, among other sectors. In addition, you can use your skills and knowledge to make a real difference in the lives of others. We know the world needs more changemakers – will you be one of them?