No matter if it is Halloween season or if you are just looking to become better informed, here are some spooky health facts to frighten (and possibly inspire) you:
1. Most Americans don’t spend enough time in the gym
We’ve all been hounded by our doctors or healthcare professionals to improve our lives by exercising or being more active. However, the information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that only a small portion of the population listens to that advice. According to a study conducted in 2018, only 23% of Americans over 18 met the Physical Activity Guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity.
So, what is the guideline? This means that adults should spend at least two and a half hours in moderate exercises such as walking, or 75 minutes of intense exercise such as running every week. If you are reading this now, maybe you can do some mild workout to change this statistic!
2. Youth are still smoking
Most of us have seen videos and messages talking about the dangers of smoking, but that doesn’t change the fact that 2 million U.S. youth currently use e-cigarettes according to a 2021 study by the U.S. Food and Drug and Administration. About 1 in 4 of those youth use e-cigarettes daily.
According to the CDC, there are numerous ill effects of smoking and vaping which include:
- Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine which can harm the developing adolescent brain. The brain keeps developing until about age 25.
- Using nicotine in adolescence can harm the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood and impulse control.
- Using nicotine in adolescence may also increase the risk for future addiction to other drugs.
3. Your skeleton changes
You can literally say that you weren’t the same person you were ten years ago! Your skeleton replaces itself slowly over time but is ultimately replaced every ten years.
According to OrthoInfo, our body’s skeleton forms and grows to its adult size by a process called modeling. It then ‘remodels’ itself about every ten years by removing old pieces of bone and replacing them with new bone tissue. This ensures that the bones stay healthy and strong!
4. You have bacteria in your gut
Right now we all have bacteria in our stomachs! According to Healthline, some researchers estimate that the average person has 1 to 2 pounds of bacteria living in their gut all the time. Although that may sound gross, it’s a very good thing!
Bacteria found naturally inside your gut have a protective barrier effect against other living organisms that enter your body. They help the body prevent harmful bacteria from rapidly growing in your stomach, help you digest food, influence immune health and more. That is why it is so important to support a healthy gut and immune health!
5. Your heart pumps 2,000 gallons of blood a day!
The average person’s heart beats 100,000 times a day and pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood. Although the average human body only has about 1.2 to 1.5 gallons of blood in our system, our heart is busy day and night making sure that it is circulated throughout the entire body.
That sounds like a ton of work for such a complex organ to do, so it is important that people look out for their heart health. The American Heart Association always offers advice and tips on how you can help yourself and others look out for your heart health!
6. 60% of Americans have chronic diseases
It is horrible when you or someone you love is sick, but it is even worse when it could have been prevented. According to the CDC, 60% of American adults have a chronic disease, such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, chronic lung disease or more. While not all diseases are preventable, there are some behaviors we can control—such as tobacco use, poor nutrition, lack of exercise and alcohol use— to help reduce risks to our health.
7. One in five Americans experiences a mental health issue
Mental health problems or issues are more common than most people think. According to MentalHealth.gov, one in five Americans experienced a mental health issue. Our mental health includes our emotional, psychological and well-being. It affects how we think, feel and act. Some ways to help maintain healthy mental health include:
- Getting professional help if you need it
- Connecting with others
- Staying positive
- Getting physically active
- Getting enough sleep
- Developing coping skills
What can you do about this?
Whether you work in healthcare or are just passionate about health, it is important to stay informed. As the old saying goes, knowledge is power!
Here are some things you can do with your new knowledge:
- Manage Your Stress: Don’t let this spooky healthcare knowledge get to you! According to the American Psychological Association (APA), managing your stress can benefit your day-to-day health and also help you strengthen your immune system. Make sure that you practice self-care by looking out for your physical, mental, emotional and social health!
- Be Proactive: Just because you are healthy right now doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be cautious. If you are a healthcare worker or nurse taking care of others, you should be especially diligent to look out for your health by eating healthy, getting enough rest and having a positive support system.
- You Aren’t Alone: Keep in mind that your health journey is not isolating! You have a great support system of people that want what is best for you! There are people and resources that you can reach out to with questions.