Biggest Health Scares of 2016 from The Biggest Health Scares of 2016

The Biggest Health Scares of 2016

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Biggest Health Scares of 2016

Every year we hear news of new health scares and resurgent old ones that shock the worldwide population. The rise of certain diseases and infections call for immediate concern. There are numerous factors that put us at risk, environmental hazards being one of the most prevalent. This includes contaminated water and food, mosquitos that transport illness, and toxic household items.

*Related: The Most Serious Public Health Concerns in the U.S.

The good news is that many of the heath scares on this list can be easily avoided. It’s extremely important to research the destination your traveling to before you go and educate yourself on the possible risks of behaviors here at home.

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ACL Knee Injuries

“ACL injuries are becoming more common as our society has decided to become more physically fit and active in response to both the obesity epidemic and greater education as to the benefits of exercise,” says Dr. Armin Tehrany, orthopedic surgeon and founder of Manhattan Orthopedic Care. “In particular, single sport specialization among children and an increase in time spent on sports has led to a dramatic rise in ACL injuries among the youth.” He says that “this is an alarming trend since success rates with ACL reconstructions with youth is slightly lower than in adults; therefore it is very important to stress ACL prevention programs as well as a decrease in single sport specialization at least until the age of 14.”

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Cholera

“Cholera is an acute enteric infection caused by the ingestion of bacterium Vibrio cholerae present in faecally contaminated water or food,” according to the World Health Organization (WHO). As of April 20, 2016 a total of 24,108 cases, including 378 deaths were reported nationwide, they explain. The majority of these cases were reported from 23 regions in mainland Tanzania.

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Text Neck

“Text neck is becoming a common occurrence due to the facility with which we can obtain cell phones. Even overuse at a large computer screen with bad posture can lead to injuries involving the neck and upper extremities,” Tehrany says. “We as a community need to be self-aware as to the abnormal positions that technology places [on] our bodies.” Physical and occupational therapy, especially exercises that focus on providing the proper balance to our bodies, are critical in preventing injuries from technology advancement including text neck, he adds.

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Asbestos

Your home could be making you sick. Asbestos was commonly used as building and insulation material between 1920 and 1978. If you are living in a home that was made during that time you could be at risk for serious health problems. Asbestos fibers can get trapped in your lungs and cause inflammation which can lead to difficulty breathing and mesothelioma.

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Venous Issues

Venous issues have become more prevalent in 2016. Dr. Luis Navarro, Founder of The Vein Treatment Center in NYC explains that varicose veins is a vascular disease that causes twisted and swollen veins. It “affects up to 35 percent of Americans,” he says.

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Blood Clots Going Unnoticed

Blood clots can be painful and very dangerous,” Navarro says. “The deeper venous system transfers blood from the legs up to the heart so when a clot forms here, blood pools behind the clot, restricting healthy blood flow.” These blood clots can also break off and travel to the lungs or the heart — resulting in a potentially fatal pulmonary embolism.

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Lassa Fever

Between August 2015 and May 2016, the World Health Organization was notified of 273 cases of Lassa fever, including 149 deaths in Nigeria. WHO explains that “the Lassa virus is transmitted to humans via contact with food or household items contaminated with rodent urine or faeces.”

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Super Lice

“Super lice [are] a drug resistant strain that has developed an immunity to OTC drugs and shampoos, making life a little hectic for parents,” Dr. Krista Lauer, medical director of Lice Clinics of America, says. In 2016, Super lice infested 48 states, she adds. “The head-scratcher causes 24 million missed school days for kids, and with the holidays and cold weather in full swing, sharing hats and cozying up at play dates can cause an increase in infestations.”

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HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS has been a worldwide health issue for decades. Luckily the annual number of infections in the U.S. has been reduced since the epidemic in the mid-1980s. However, this health scare is still an issue and was one of the biggest in 2016. “As of June 2016, 18.2 million [16.1 million–19.0 million] people living with HIV were accessing antiretroviral therapy, up from 15.8 million in June 2015 and 7.5 million in 2010,” according to global HIV statistics.

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Zika Virus

The Zika virus has been affecting parts of the world with outbreaks occurring in Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. In the U.S. the Zika virus broke out in Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and American Samoa — and in trendy South Beach in Miami, among other places. “Zika virus is primarily transmitted to people through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. Zika virus can also be transmitted through sex,” WHO explains.

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Mumps

According to a report on Dec. 9, 2016 from The Disease Daily, a mumps outbreak was growing at an alarming rate in Arkansas. As of December 8, the total number of suspected and confirmed cases of mumps in Arkansas was at 1,898. Between 90 percent and 95 percent of school-aged children and 30 percent to 40 percent of adults involved in the outbreak were fully immunized, according to the report.

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Measles

There have been approximately 49 cases of measles outbreaks in the U.S. in 2016, according to research. One of the most afflicted states is Tennessee, with about seven cases in Shelby County and two in Memphis. Other states that have suffered from the outbreak include Florida, Georgia, California, and Texas.

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Yellow Fever

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “The Ministry of Health in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has reported an outbreak of yellow fever.” About 2,269 suspected and confirmed cases were reported since March 2016, including 16 deaths confirmed to have been from yellow fever, they explain.

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Obesity

Research has found that the U.S. obesity epidemic is only getting worse. More than two out of three adults are considered obese or overweight; more than 1 in 20 adults are considered to have extreme obesity; and approximately one-third of children and adolescents ages 6 to 9 are considered overweight or obese, according to research by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Individuals who are obese or overweight are in danger of developing type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers.

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Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease remains the number one threat to our health. Unfortunately, after more than a decade of improvement, the decline in mortality rates from heart disease and stroke in this country has slowed down and nearly leveled out," Dr. James Rippe, Founder and Director of the Rippe Lifestyle Institute, explains. “In the late 90’s, Nobel prize-winning science uncovered the very important role that nitric oxide (NO) has in cardiovascular health. The molecule keeps our arteries elastic, improving blood and oxygen flow – and helps to prevent clots and blockages.” It also helps control blood pressure, which is important considering over one-third of adults in the United States have high blood pressure. “But the practical application of these understandings is just starting to take hold,” Rippe says. “I expect that 2017 will see a greater focus on this particular aspect of heart health, including the effect of diet and exercise on NO.”

The Biggest Health Scares of 2016