Woman seeing her doctor

3 Millennial Health Conditions on the Rise

Individuals born between 1981 and 1996 have their fair share of obstacles. They struggle with stagnant wages, overwhelming debt and a higher cost of living. A recent report also suggests they’re experiencing an increasing number of mental and physical health concerns. To combat this dangerous trend, millennials are encouraged to take preventative measures to decrease the risk of the following disorders:

Major Depression – Major depression is characterized by an overwhelming feeling of sadness or loss. It’s a serious mood disorder that, if left untreated, can dramatically impact one’s quality of life. Individuals become irritable, withdrawn and disinterested in daily activities. They may also have trouble sleeping and experience thoughts of suicide or self-harm.

Common treatments for major depression are psychotherapy, including cognitive, behavioral and psychodynamic, as well as medication (antidepressants). Depending on severity, they can be used individually or together to manage symptoms.

Attention-Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder – This behavioral health condition is diagnosed using three categories. The first, Predominantly Inattentive Presentation, describes those who have trouble organizing their thoughts and processing new information. Predominantly Hyperactive-impulsive Presentation can make individuals feel restless and have limited self-control. Finally, Combined Presentation, can make an individual both hyperactive and unable to concentrate on basic tasks.

Although it primarily affects children, ADHD can persist well into adulthood. Like depression, most doctors may create a treatment plan consisting of behavioral therapy and medication. They can also suggest lifestyle changes such as a modified diet and increased physical activity to channel excess energy.

Type 2 Diabetes – This is the most common form of diabetes. It occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or use available insulin properly. Signs of Type 2 diabetes include increased thirst, hunger, frequent urination, fatigue and blurry vision.

Some individuals can be genetically predisposed to diabetes due to their race, ethnicity, age or medical history. Yet, weight gain is a universal and leading cause of the condition. In fact, a seven percent reduction in body fat could help prevent a future diagnosis. Although there is no cure, Type 2 diabetes can be managed with exercise, diet and medications (if prescribed).

Prevention

Actively monitoring one’s health can stop serious problems before they start. Unfortunately, a growing number of millennials do not visit their primary care physician as often as they should, which puts them at risk. Investing in preventative care is the biggest safeguard against unsuspecting illnesses. Individuals can talk to their doctor to learn about the early detection of chronic health conditions such as adult screenings for depression, diabetes and high blood pressure, as well as diet and obesity counseling.

Preventive care can also help lower health costs by minimizing medical emergencies and the need for maintenance products (i.e. prescriptions and special equipment). Unnecessary emergency room visits account for half of medical spending annually both nationally and in Michigan, so it’s important to utilize all health resources available before hitting the panic button to save time and money.

Want to learn more about millennial health? Read these blogs:

About the author: Dr. Kristyn Gregory, DO, is a medical director of behavioral health at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

Photo credit: Stigur Mar Karlsson/Heimsmyndir

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