Five Common Health Problems That Can Be Prevented


When it comes to your health, there are a number of steps you can take to stave off illness and infection. Many medical issues can be avoided or minimized in severity by proactively addressing your concern before your health takes a turn for the worse. Even people who live the most active and healthy lifestyles are susceptible to common health ailments, germs and diseases.

One of the best ways to prevent common health problems is by getting checked regularly by a doctor. Whether it’s your routine annual checkup or you notice something that doesn’t seem right, being seen by a professional is tantamount to ensuring your overall health and wellness. Let’s take a look at some of the common health problems that can be prevented by regular checkups with your doctor.


HemorrhoidsHemorrhoids are the cause of discomfort and pain for nearly three out of four adults at some point in their lives. These itchy, sometimes painful nuisances are swollen veins in your anus and lower rectum, with a number of different possible causes. Generally, symptoms start out as itchy or uncomfortable, sometimes escalating to pain and bleeding.

Treatment and Prevention

Most commonly treated with over-the-counter medications like hemorrhoid cream or witch hazel, less severe hemorrhoids can often be taken care of at home. More severe symptoms may require minor surgery, usually out-patient, that will shrink the swollen veins. Hemorrhoids can also be prevented with a high-fiber diet, proper hydration, avoiding long periods of sitting, and exercise.

Skin Cancer

In the United States, more than 9,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every day. That means that more people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year than all other types of cancer combined. Too much sun exposure, indoor tanning, and high-altitude climates may all be to blame for the high amounts of skin cancer the U.S. sees each year, but skin cancer is also one of the most preventable types of cancer, and can be caught early to avoid spreading.

Treatment and Prevention

Applying two tablespoons of SPF 15 or higher sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside can, alone, lower your odds of getting skin cancer. Seeking shade, when possible, can also help your skin from aging, as well as prevent the odds of skin cancer. Never use a tanning bed and be sure to get any suspicious moles or spots examined by a doctor. A head-to-toe self inspection of your body once a month goes a long way to identifying odd spots or bumps that may need to be monitored or removed by a dermatologist.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Gastroesophageal reflux diseaseGERD is a severe form of acid reflux that hospitalized 3.14 million people in the United States alone last year. Symptoms include nausea and vomiting, belching, bad breath, and abdominal pain, among other acid reflux-like symptoms. You may be experiencing GERD if you’re overweight or obese, pregnant, or smoke regularly.

Treatment and Prevention

For less severe symptoms, antacids can keep pain and discomfort caused by GERD at bay. Sometimes, however, symptoms may be more severe and a doctor’s visit is necessary. Especially when symptoms are present for days or weeks at a time, it’s important to consult a doctor to find out what can be done for you. GERD can often be prevented with simple changes in diet and habits: eating smaller meals rather than larger ones can help prevent discomfort, as well as avoiding laying down after eating. Losing weight and quitting smoking can also help prevent GERD if those two issues are contributing to your symptoms.

Diseases Stemming From Obesity

Obesity is one of the most deadly issues Americans are struggling with today. An estimated 300,000 deaths per year are due to the obesity epidemic, and this issue doesn’t appear to be slowing down. Obesity leads to a number of health issues, as your body struggles with the stress of extra weight and fat, making it more susceptible to diseases, heart attacks, and strokes. Though obesity is the cause of many health issues, the core of the problem is extra weight causing damage to your body’s vital organs.

Treatment and Prevention

Often, healthier eating habits and exercise are great contributors to those looking to lose weight and therefore no longer be obese. This plan is not foolproof, however, and every individual should consult a doctor to find the best treatment plan for them. Extreme diets and pushing your body further than what it’s capable of can be unhealthy or even deadly, so speaking with a doctor to formulate the right plan for your body type is the best course of action. Bariatric surgery, in some cases, may be recommended by your doctor, especially for those people that are diabetic or are experiencing major health issues related to their weight. Find out if bariatric surgery or a medical weight loss program is right for you.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancerIn ways that are similar to skin cancer, more than 228,000 people in the US will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year. One of the biggest contributors to this number is smoking, and cigarettes are a major cause of this epidemic. Unhealthy air quality and secondhand smoke may also be to blame, however, so even if you’re not a smoker, avoid areas where air is polluted or secondhand smoke is present.

Treatment and Prevention

For those who do smoke, it’s possible that vaping will decrease your chances of developing lung cancer, though if you’re not a smoker and pick up vaping, your chances may become higher. Avoiding cigarette smoke altogether is one of the best ways to prevent the odds that you develop lung cancer, and avoiding being outside during poor air quality days in major cities can also help keep your lungs healthy.

For all diseases and health problems, no one is more equipped to diagnose and treat medical issues than a doctor. While it’s possible to notice aches, pains, and spots on your own, simply visiting a website to diagnose yourself isn’t a reliable way to handle one of the most important aspects of your life: your health.

If you notice changes in your body that make you feel uncertain or uncomfortable, consult with a doctor today. At West Suburban Medical Center, we provide quality doctors to help you understand the issues you may be experiencing. To find out more and set up a consultation today, give us a call or fill out our online form to be seen by a doctor that fits your schedule.