In an exclusive interview with CNN, the three American detainees said they were being treated humanely, but that they hoped Washington would soon help them return home.
Kenneth Bae, serving a 15-year sentence for alleged hostile acts to overthrow the North Korean government, said he was doing hard labor eight hours a day, six days a week.
His diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney stones have worsened, having gone back and forth between the hospital and the labor camp for the past 18 months.
Asking the U.S. government to send an envoy to win their release, Bae said his only hope is returning home and seeing his family again.
Matthew Todd Miller, awaiting trial after he ripped up his tourist visa and sought asylum in the North, said Washington, which often promotes its priority of protecting U.S. citizens, wasn't doing enough to help him.
Jeffrey Edward Fowle, soon to stand trial after leaving a Bible at his hotel in the communist state, urged CNN to let the world know more about his predicament.
Having no diplomatic relations with North Korea, the U.S. government's only contact with the men is through the Swedish embassy in Pyongyang.
Stressing there is no greater priority than the welfare and safety of Americans abroad, the State Department urged Pyongyang to grant Kenneth Bae amnesty in light of his poor health.
North Korea's strategic use of the media to seek dialogue with the U.S., is increasing pressure on the Obama administration ahead of the mid-term elections in November.
Now the question is whether Washington will send a former president or a prominent political figure as it has in the past to broker the detainees' release and if that could lead to a resumption of dialogue between the U.S. and the North.
Choi You-sun, Arirang News.