Students face several health risks

Maryann Kopp

Health risks are one of the many factors that everyone, regardless of age, should take into consideration on a consistent basis.
The question may be what puts different age groups at a greater risk than others and what a person can do to help stay in optimal health.
“We see more hypertension with older students,” said Dr. Michael Farber, the Bakersfield College campus MD.
“Generally, we get students with sore throats, allergies, asthma, urinary tract infections (particularly in female students), and injuries like sprains and strains, usually right after the weekends,” added Farber.
“We also get a lot of students suffering from stress, depression, and anxiety disorders. We are hoping to get a mental health counselor on campus to help students with such problems out, but that has been slow in coming.”
BC nursing student Kathryn Cameron shares that a lot of the younger people she has seen and helped treat are victims of violence and ignorance.
“The greatest risks for college age students is lack of knowledge regarding diseases that are prevalent to us such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease,” explained Cameron.
“The percentage of adolescents and young adults with diabetes is increasing, and I think it is partly due to the fact that they don’t realize or haven’t been taught that diet and exercise can decrease your risks of developing non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM),” said Cameron.
Much like Dr. Farber, Cameron also notes that stress, from both daily life and school pressures, can adversely affect student health.
BC nursing professor Ray Purcell notes that issues with STDs, alcohol, drugs, and violence account for a good deal of dangers that pertain to college age students.
“Nearly two-thirds of all STDs occur in people younger than 25 years of age,” states Purcell.
“Sexually active people today are more likely to have multiple sex partners during their lives and are potentially at risk for developing STDs.
“Of course everyone takes more risks like unprotected sex while under the influence of drugs and alcohol,” said Purcell.
Purcell goes on to point out that “alcohol-related unintentional injury deaths” have increased 6% per the college population from 1998 to 2001.
“During both years, more than 500,000 students were unintentionally injured because of drinking and more than 600,000 were hit/assaulted by another drinking student,” Purcell concludes.
Cameron added, “I have seen many male and female patients admitted due to overdoses, alcohol poisoning or complications related to these like Cirrhosis of the liver and stroke.”
With statistics that showed in 1992, “55% of those arrested for murder” were under the age of 25, Purcell provides.
“The news,” he concluded, “is that early violence prevention programs among school aged children appear to be working based on preliminary data.”
Additional information can be accessed through The National Institute of Health, the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR), and The Harvard School of Public Health.