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Corporate Wellness – 5 Key Employee Health Issues That Must Not Be Ignored In 2021

The future of an organization majorly depends on its workforce – happy employees grow the business, while unhappy employees deteriorate company growth. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has proved beyond any notion that employee health and wellness is the core to a flourishing business. 

There is enough evidence that the pandemic has affected employee health and mental wellness. Also, many studies show that people with chronic health conditions are more likely to be prone to COVID-19. While there can be a strong correlation between the health issues and the pandemic, the anxiety, stress, lack of physical activity, and other unhealthy habits have raised concerns about the rising health issues.

Chronic Health Conditions and COVID-19

Without a doubt, the COVID-19 has taken up the center stage now, and most health issues seem to be associated in one way or another. People with underlying chronic health conditions like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and high blood pressure are likely to be more susceptible to the viral infection. With the coronavirus affecting the respiratory system, people with chronic health conditions are more prone to having a lower respiratory infection, leading to low oxygen levels and in severe cases, it can also cause pneumonia.

Research says that preventable health conditions caused due to lifestyle factors are the ones making it harder to fight off the viruses, including the coronavirus. The most common underlying health conditions with higher risks of getting affected with the coronavirus include – heart disease, liver disease, diabetes, asthma, HIV/AIDS, and Lupus.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, almost 71% of the Americans who were hospitalized for COVID-19 had some kind of an underlying health issue. 

Common Health Issues To Monitor In American Employees

Although there are many health issues across the globe, the most common ones that can be prevented, but also puts people at a higher risk of acquiring other health conditions and COVID-19 are –

  • Obesity
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Heart Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Lung Disease

Obesity

Probably one of the most expensive and common diseases in America, obesity is a health condition of great concern. It becomes the foundation for many other health issues like cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, and low immunity, which is currently important to stay protected from the coronavirus. According to a Harvard 2020 study, almost 36% of the American population is obese or overweight, making it a common health condition to be addressed by employees, employers, and health plans.

Factors Contributing to Obesity

  • Lack of Physical Activity
  • Unhealthy Food Choices
  • Wrong Eating Habits
  • Social Issues
  • Genetics
  • Medications
  • Certain Health Issues

How to Reduce Obesity Risk?

  • Regular exercise and an active lifestyle
  • Having a healthy and balanced diet
  • Find social help or a support group

High Blood Pressure

Often referred to as the ‘silent killer’, high blood pressure is usually asymptomatic, and so, it calls for regular screening and care. While one out of every three Americans is diagnosed with high blood pressure, nearly two-thirds of them are above the age of 60 years. Studies say that people with high blood pressure are at a higher risk of getting COVID-19, and the associated respiratory infections can impair the cardiovascular system. Furthermore, high blood pressure, when unmanaged, could also lead to other health concerns like stroke, heart diseases, kidney issues, loss of vision, and sexual dysfunction.

Factors Contributing to High Blood Pressure

  • Overweight
  • Physical inactivity
  • Stress
  • Genetics
  • Lifestyle habits
  • Old age
  • Unhealthy eating habits

How to Reduce High Blood Pressure Risk?

  • Reduce Stress
  • Lose Weight
  • Regular Exercise
  • Healthy Eating Habits
  • Quit Smoking
  • Reduce Alcohol Consumption

Heart Disease

Heart disease is usually a broad term used to refer to many health conditions related to the heart. The most common ones include – genetic heart defects, arrhythmias, and coronary heart diseases. According to a CDC study, almost 650,000 people in the US die every year due to heart disease, which is more than any other health condition. Cardiovascular issues lead to a weaker immune system, making people more susceptible to viral infections like COVID-19. Studies show that almost half of the patients admitted with flu or coronavirus had an underlying health condition.

Factors Contributing to Heart Disease

  • Genetics and Family History
  • Age
  • Stress
  • Diabetes
  • Lack of Physical Activity
  • Abnormal Blood Pressure
  • High Cholesterol
How to Reduce High Blood Pressure Risk?
  • Regular exercise
  • Healthy eating
  • Stress management
  • Quit smoking and alcohol
  • Manage other health conditions
  • Get regular flu shots

Diabetes

Diabetes is the 7th top cause of death in the USA. It is also the primary cause of kidney failure, adult blindness, and lower-limb amputations. Pre-diabetes also increases the risk of acquiring type-2 diabetes. CDC says that 88 million US adults have pre-diabetes, and 80% of them are not aware of their condition. This is why regular screenings are vital to prevent or reduce any possible complications. Also, diabetics have higher inflammation levels which make them easily prone to the coronavirus and pneumonia. While there is no cure for diabetes, following a healthy lifestyle with the right habits can prevent it or reduce the associated risks. 

Factors Contributing to Diabetes

How to Reduce Diabetes Risk?

  • Active lifestyle
  • Healthy eating
  • Low-carb diet
  • Quit smoking and alcohol
  • Breathing exercises
  • Managing stress
  • Maintaining healthy body weight

Lung Disease

Lung disease has affected millions across the globe. One of the major causes of lung disease is lifestyle habits like smoking, and no smoking is the best way to prevent or reduce the risks. Lung diseases make the respiratory system and immune system weak, and such individuals are highly susceptible to the coronavirus which affects the respiratory system. The troubled lungs and poor immunity make it easier for viruses like COVID-19 to infect and develop other serious complications.

Factors Contributing to Lung Disease

  • Environmental factors
  • Smoking
  • Second-hand smoke

How to Reduce Lung Disease Risk?

  • Healthy lifestyle
  • Quit smoking
  • Breathing exercises
  • Avoid pollution
  • Avoid exposure to harmful substances
  • Be aware of allergen triggers like pollen

Although it is evident that these health issues are common, most people are not much aware of their causes, symptoms, or prevention. This is where employers must take charge and educate employees about various health conditions and avoiding preventable diseases. Offering corporate wellness programs are an effective way to ensure good employee health and wellness. However, for the employee wellbeing programs to be a success it is crucial to consider various factors like employee wellness requirements, financial budget, workplace culture, and more.

Prioritizing lifestyle changes can bring huge changes to employee health and wellness, thus, preventing most lifestyle-based health disorders. Employers must keep promoting corporate wellness programs, along with offering the right employee benefits plans. The right wellness programs and modules will ensure the employers and employees are actively involved in preventing diseases, thus reducing healthcare costs and improving workplace culture.

Post Author: Admin