Why bother becoming a hypochondriac when there are so many more substantial ailments you can get? A recent Gallup survey finds Americans worried, to varying degrees, about
a whole array of illnesses. Only cancer and heart disease provoke serious fear on the part of a majority of adults, though. Even where cancer is concerned, 17 percent declared themselves "not worried at all"; 22 percent said they're entirely unworried about heart disease. (For each malady, the survey asked respondents to take into account "both your risk of contracting it and the seriousness of the illness.") In the case of arthritis and high blood pressure, 10 percent weren't worried about getting these ailments because they've already got them. Four percent already have diabetes. AIDS had a slightly higher "very worried" score (7 percent) than Alzheimer's (6 percent), hearing loss (5 percent) and emphysema (5 percent). But it also had the highest "not worried at all" vote (66 percent) of any disease covered in the survey. Sensibly enough, people who said they're overweight were more fearful than other respondents of getting heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Smokers were just slightly more likely than non-smokers to say they're somewhat or very worried about getting cancer. But they were significantly more likely than non-smokers to worry about heart disease.