Although the United States is the richest country in the world, huge chunks of the American population suffer from poor health. Many of the country's poorest citizens—those who are already the most vulnerable to significant health problems—live in so-called food deserts where affordable fresh vegetables and other healthy foods are simply not available. A University of North Carolina study found there are five fast-food joints for every grocery store in the country; obesity is at epidemic levels; unhealthy processed foods are staples of the American diet, and pharmaceutical companies make billions of dollars developing drugs that many people need to take indefinitely just to stay alive.
Not all conditions, however, have the same impact on the population. Millions of Americans suffer from mental and physical health ailments that are so prevalent that the most common among them affect double-digit percentages of the public.
Using 2017 data from the BlueCross BlueShield (BCBS) National Health Index, Stacker developed a list of the top 10 medical conditions that have the biggest impact on the health of Americans. According to BCBS, “a condition's impact is the amount it reduces health for a population, accounting for both prevalence and severity. Health conditions drive the gap between optimal health and a health index score for a population.” The conditions are ranked by national impact, and the first two data points in each slide are nationwide statistics while the last point looks only at states that were categorized as “Less Healthy” by the Health Index.
The list is ranked in ascending order from the conditions that have the least impact to those that have the most. The article explains which conditions have the most significant impact and which states have the highest instances of each condition. It also explains the details of the conditions themselves, how to recognize them, and in some cases, how to prevent them or reduce their impact on a person's health.
Read on to learn about the top 10 medical conditions impacting Americans.