If you’re a generally healthy individual, you may thank your lucky stars that many medical conditions seem to be nothing more than news headlines. In reality, several diseases and illnesses are more common than you might realize. Knowing how to prevent these conditions will help you to steer clear of them and treat them when necessary.
Understanding these conditions will also help you empathize with the people around you. You’ll inevitably meet someone suffering from a disease that may have been due to circumstances out of their control. This could even be a loved one, and understanding their illness can go a long way toward helping them.
Whether you’re trying to remain healthy, want to help another, or are simply curious about all things medical, this list will help you. These five medical conditions are way more common than you might realize:
Sexually transmitted infections, or STIs, are very common and nothing to be ashamed about. The CDC once estimated that one in five Americans had contracted an STI. While being diagnosed with an STI is no fun, there are treatment options. And getting treatment is extremely important.
The first step is learning if you have contracted an STI. This can be done quickly and discreetly with an at-home STI testing kit. You can get your results in as little as a week. A medical professional may even contact you with a prescription and treatment plan if you test positive.
Simple steps go a long way to protect you from STIs and STDs. Simple steps go a long way to protect you from STIs and STDs. STIs are the easiest conditions to prevent on this list. Make an effort to communicate with any sexual partners about the importance of protection and personal hygiene.
Multiple sclerosis, which you might have heard by its shorthand name MS, could easily be the most impactful medical condition on this list. This is because MS affects the central nervous system, one of the most important parts of the body. When someone has MS, their body’s immune system attacks its nerves. This causes severe deterioration to a variety of bodily functions.
Symptoms of MS can range from blurry vision and slurred speech to a lack of motor coordination and bladder function. This multitude of symptoms can make it tough to diagnose at first. Even still, an estimated one million Americans have been diagnosed with MS at any given time.
While treatment plans can help alleviate symptoms, there is currently no cure. Knowing certain risk factors is your best bet to avoid an MS diagnosis. Luckily some factors are within your control. For example, smoking and vitamin D deficiency can increase your risk.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a respiratory illness that makes breathing difficult by blocking airflow. Other symptoms of COPD include coughing and increased mucus production. According to the CDC, almost 16 million Americans have the disease, making this one of the more common medical conditions to fly under the radar.
COPD is a chronic disease, meaning that it’s developed over a prolonged period. People who smoke are especially prone to COPD because of the foreign particles introduced to their lungs. Respiratory diseases like bronchitis and emphysema can also lead to COPD. Getting proper treatment for such diagnoses promptly can help prevent additional cases of COPD.
Some people will complain about feeling tired all the time. In most cases, this is a combination of poor sleep habits, unbalanced diets, and heavy workloads. For some people, even with everything going their way, sleepiness is impossible to fight off. This is the primary sign of narcolepsy.
Nearly 200,000 people have to deal with this troublesome medical condition. Those with narcolepsy have difficulty staying awake for long periods, even in the middle of the day. People with this sleep disorder typically aren’t allowed to carry a driver’s license and require special working conditions that accommodate sudden bouts of unconsciousness.
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder, meaning that it’s passed from parent to child. Your body naturally produces sweat, mucus, and other bodily fluids such as those used for digestion. Bodies with cystic fibrosis produce much thicker mucus and juices, creating various problems, especially respiration.
According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Patient Registry, approximately 1,000 new cases of cystic fibrosis pop up each year. Additionally, the total number of people living with the disorder is close to 30,000 in the United States alone. Individuals diagnosed with cystic fibrosis often have a limited life span. Yet there are treatment plans, which typically consist of antibiotics that help reduce mucus production.
Families can get tested to see if they carry the cystic fibrosis gene. These test results will show you the odds that the gene will be passed to a child and whether or not it will be active. This information can be useful for family planning.
Many serious medical conditions are more common than you realize. Living a healthy lifestyle can lower your chances of contracting these medical conditions. See your doctor when you can, and pay attention to signs from your body. If you experience something out of the ordinary, have it checked out promptly. The sooner you identify what’s ailing you, the sooner you can address it.