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Top 5 Health Concerns in Northeast Ohio

Posted April 05, 2021 by Bitan Ghosh, M.D.

Top 5 Health Concern infographic

COVID-19 remains one of our region’s top health concerns as we navigate this pandemic. Community spread leading to new cases and unfortunate deaths have affected every one of us.

It’s important, however, that we don’t ignore other health concerns. Resuming care for regular health checkups, health screenings and management of chronic illness is critical to the overall health of our community.

Here are 5 major health concerns in Northeast Ohio that cannot be ignored:

  1. Cardiovascular disease
  2. Mental health needs
  3. The opioid epidemic
  4. Chronic lower respiratory diseases/tobacco-related issues
  5. Low physical activity/eating habits

The mortality rate from cardiovascular disease is higher in Northeastern Ohio than in most of the country. Cardiovascular disease encompasses a large range of conditions that affect the coronary arteries, heart valves and/or the heart itself. While genetics, age and family history do play a role in a person’s risk factors, most high-risk factors can be controlled with lifestyle changes. Making healthy choices and having regular check-ups can lower your risks greatly. More tips for a healthy heart here.

Mental health is an intricate system that can include a variety of conditions and diseases, with symptoms ranging from short-term to long-term. In the U.S., one in five individuals is affected by at least one mental health condition. Individuals can experience a range of issues that can affect mood, behavior, cognitive processing and physical pain. Suicide rates in certain counties of Ohio are two points above the national benchmark. By bringing more awareness and addressing the stigmas surrounding mental health, we can provide resources to those who may be in need.

It is no secret there is an opioid epidemic in the United States. Every day, more than 115 people die after overdosing on opioids. Ohio ranks in the top five highest rates of overdose mortality. At least 20 percent of patients that visit a physician for pain symptoms will receive a prescription for an opioid. At Summa, we offer support to those struggling with addiction through inpatient and outpatient programs, as well as our First Step program on our Akron and Barberton campuses.

Chronic lower respiratory disease is the fourth leading cause of death, behind cancer and heart disease. Chronic lower respiratory disease includes a variety of diseases that affect the lungs, such as chronic obstructed pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema (a type of COPD) and chronic bronchitis. These diseases are most common in smokers--in fact, almost 80 percent of cases are due to cigarette smoking. Even if you quit early, your lungs may have experienced significant damage. If you smoke and want to quit, consider attending one of our free Smoking Cessation classes.

Residents in northeast Ohio lack sufficient physical activity at higher rates than the rest of the country. A well-balanced diet with daily physical activity can significantly reduce the risk of one of our top concerns - cardiovascular disease. Regular exercise is one of the most beneficial (and cost-effective) activities you can do to better your health. If you are looking for ways to introduce moderate exercise into your routine, here are a few tips.

Most of us know that too much sugar is not good for our overall health. But what you may not know is that growing research is showing what’s bad for the body may also be bad for the brain. Processed grains can also contribute to excess weight gain. When we introduce a large number of refined and/or simple carbohydrates to our diet, this can cause some serious health effects. If you are looking for ways to evaluate your diet, consider some of these mindful eating tips.

Summa Health is a patient-centered population health management organization that provides integrated and coordinated care and a superior experience for the people of Northeast Ohio. At Summa, our population health strategy is transforming the way we deliver care to positively impact the health of our community. Summa Health works with each patient, focusing on wellness through regular primary care visits, health screenings, and personalized specialty care. 


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