Happy 2023! We’re celebrating by taking a look back at our top 10 most-read stories of the past year. Covid-19 no longer tops the list (or fills it completely, as it did in 2020), but a couple of our top stories this year did deal with Covid-19, specifically the virus’s long-term impacts.
Stories on disease prevention (and with it, healthy eating) also drew a lot of readers. But our no. 1 story of the year was writer Cathy Cassata’s first-person account of being at a local amusement park when a shooting took place.
With that in mind, in the coming year, we’ll be looking more at the diseases that create illness not only in individuals, but in society as a whole — and looking at the preventative steps we can take there as well, to heal all of us.
Thanks for reading! We look forward to bringing you even more trusted, Chicago-focused health and medical news in the year to come.
1. I Took My Daughter to an Amusement Park. Then a Shooting Happened
When Chicago Health writer Cathy Cassata took her daughter to Six Flags Great America this past summer, she didn’t expect that they’d end up running for their lives from the park. Cathy and her daughter made it home safely. In this piece, Cathy questions what it means to feel safe, who’s entitled to that feeling, and how we explain violent events to children.
2. Searching for Answers and Finding POTS
A postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) diagnosis evades many, mimicking other conditions and often leaving people feeling exhausted, frustrated, and confused. In online support groups, people diagnosed with POTS frequently share stories of going to physician after physician who didn’t know to look for the condition.
3. Covid-19 Long-Haul Clinics Address Neurologic Symptoms
When people began reporting relentless post-Covid symptoms — brain fog, insomnia, headaches, and more — many physicians didn’t know how to respond. By February 2022, 66 health systems nationwide had post-Covid-19 clinics, with seven in Chicago alone. Here’s a look at why these clinics exist and what they do.
4. Time to Chill
This piece looks at the effects of stress on the heart — from palpitations to heart attack symptoms. Find out what to watch for and the best ways to keep your stress levels down and your heart health in check.
5. Long Covid Alphabet Soup
Long Covid comes with a long list of potential side effects — often in acronym form. There’s DVT, PE, ME/CFS, POTS, CVST, MCAS. What do all of those letters mean?
6. Food as Medicine
Eating well plays a vital role in maintaining good health and preventing disease. But eating healthily is easier said than done. Food deserts — areas severely lacking in grocery stores — abound in Chicago. Healthcare centers, nonprofit groups, and urban farms are stepping in to close the food access gap.
7. Probiotics, Fermented Foods, and Your Gut
Worldwide, people use fermentation to preserve foods and beverages, and to add unique flavors, textures, appearances, functionality, and economic value. Fermentation also increases foods’ nutritional content and reduces some of the problem substances. So what makes it so beneficial to humans?
8. The Beef on Plant-Based Meat Alternatives
As more people cut back on animal products, companies are offering more plant-based foods that mimic the taste of meat. If you’re looking to increase plant-based meat alternatives in your diet, know what to look for — because not all are created equal.
9. Silent Scarring
As many as 30% of Americans over age 15 — more than 80 million people — have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Scientists project that at least 100 million people will be diagnosed by 2030, a number that’s rising right along with America’s obesity rate. Catch nonalcoholic fatty liver disease early, before the damage is irreversible.
10. Preventing Type 2 Diabetes
In type 2 diabetes, the body doesn’t use insulin properly. Some people can control their blood sugar levels with healthy eating and exercise; however, other people may need medication or supplemental insulin to manage it. The earlier you can make the changes, the better.