Data published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association point to a need for all clinicians to focus on controllable risk factors for disease and mortality. For urgent care clinicians, that may mean being assertive in probing for patient habits that could be contributing factors related to their presenting to you on a given day. The article points out wide differences in the burden of disease from state to state, attributed to key factors related to lifestyle choices—and all warranting “increased attention” from providers. In seeking answers to the question of how risk factors, trends, and burden of disease and injury changed across the U.S. from 1990 to 2016, researchers considered 333 causes and 84 risk factors. They found that specific drug-use disorders, high BMI, and alcohol-use disorders are among the risk factors often associated with adverse outcomes. The effect is so pronounced that the probability of death between ages 20 and 55 years increased more than 10% between 1990 and 2016 in some states. Looking at the country as a whole, disability-adjusted years (DALY) were most affected by ischemic heart disease and lung cancer across the entire study period. The top risk factors in terms of attributable DALYs in 2016 were related to tobacco consumption in 32 states, high BMI in 10 states, and alcohol and drug use in eight states.

New Data Highlight Where Clinicians Can Focus on Controllable Risk Factors
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