Chronicling Chronic Disease

By Melissa Moore
Monday, August 31, 2015

Learn how illnesses that require long-term management are on the rise — and the impact that is having on healthcare costs.

At Home …

According to the CDC:

  • As of 2012, about half of all American adults, or approximately 117 million people, had chronic health conditions.
  • One in four adults has at least two chronic illnesses.
  • Seven of the top 10 causes of death in 2010 were chronic diseases. Heart disease and cancer accounted for nearly 48 percent of all deaths.

… And Abroad

According to the World Health Organization:

  • Diabetes will be the seventh leading cause of death worldwide in 2030.
  • Asthma affects roughly 235 million people globally.

Risky Business

According to the CDC:

  • In 2011, 52 percent of U.S. adults did not meet the recommendations for physical activity.
  • 76 percent did not meet the guidelines for strengthening exercise.
  • 47 percent of adults have at least one major risk factor for heart disease or stroke.
  • 90 percent of Americans consume too much sodium.

Counting the Cost

Hand Holding Syringe Vector 250Patients diagnosed with chronic heart failure, chronic renal failure and a third condition, including depression, spinal cord injury or ischemic heart disease, require the costliest care, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Patients with these combinations of conditions account for less than 1 percent of all patients, but their care is three times costlier than that of patients who have different combinations of three or more chronic conditions.

Patients with at least three chronic conditions receive care that is five times costlier than do those with no chronic illness. Patients with at least one chronic condition account for 86 percent of all healthcare costs.

In the United States, diabetes alone costs $245 billion annually, and obesity costs an estimated $147 billion.