The Financial Cost
The crisis is clear. Chronic diseases are crushing healthcare.
Our healthcare system is good at treating short-term problems, such as broken bones and infections. Medical advances are helping people live longer. But obesity is reaching epidemic proportions. The population is aging. We need to do a much better job managing chronic diseases.
Chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, and Alzheimer’s disease take a heavy toll on health. Chronic conditions also cost vast amounts of money. The trends are going in the wrong direction:
- Obesity increases the risk of developing conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease. The rate of obesity in adults has doubled in the last 20 years. It has almost tripled in kids ages 2-11. It has more than tripled in children ages 12-19.2
- Without big changes, 1 in 3 babies born today will develop diabetes in their lifetime.3
- Average healthcare costs for someone who has one or more chronic conditions is 5 times greater than for someone without any chronic conditions.4
- Chronic diseases account for $3 of every $4 spent on healthcare. That’s nearly $7,900 for every American with a chronic disease.1
These chronic diseases drive healthcare costs at an alarming annual rate:
The Human Cost
The human cost of chronic diseases cannot be ignored:
- Chronic diseases cause 7 out of every 10 deaths.1
- Chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease are the leading causes of disability and death in the US.
- About 25% of people with chronic diseases have some type of activity limitation. This includes difficulty or needing help with personal tasks such as dressing or bathing. It may also mean being restricted from work or attending school.9
- Today, Americans suffering from chronic diseases face rising healthcare costs. They also receive lower quality care and have fewer options.
- Health insurance co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses continue to rise. In many cases, choices and care are limited.
- The disabling and long-term symptoms that often come with chronic diseases add to extended pain and suffering. This decreases the overall quality of life.
We must face the epidemic of chronic diseases. If we don’t, the human costs will continue to soar. We might even face a lack of available or affordable care when it is needed most.
The financial and human costs of chronic diseases can no longer be ignored.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chronic Disease Overview: Costs of Chronic Disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/overview.htm. Accessed July 24, 2007.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overweight and Obesity. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/obesity/trend/index.htm. Accessed July 24, 2007.
- American Diabetes Association. The Dangerous Toll of Diabetes. American Diabetes Association Web site. Available at http://diabetes.org/diabetes-statistics/dangerous-toll.jsp. Accessed May 18, 2007.
- Partnership for Solutions. Chronic Conditions: Making the Case for Ongoing Care, September 2004 Update. Partnership for Solutions Web site. Available at http://www.partnershipforsolutions.org/DMS/files/
chronicbook2004.pdf. Accessed July 24, 2007.
- Mensah G, Brown D. An overview of cardiovascular disease burden in the United States. Health Aff 2007; 26:38-48.
- American Diabetes Association. Direct and Indirect Costs of Diabetes in the United States. American Diabetes Association Web site. Available at http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-statistics/
cost-of-diabetes-in-us.jsp. Accessed September 20, 2007.
- Alzheimer’s Association. Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures 2007. Alzheimer’s Association Web site. Available at http://www.alz.org/national/documents/Report_2007FactsAndFigures.pdf. Accessed April 10, 2007.
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Morbidity and Mortality: 2004 Chart Book on Cardiovascular, Lung, and Blood Diseases. Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, 2004.
- Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease. The Implications for Individuals. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Web site. Available at http://www.fightchronicdisease.org/implications/you.cfm. Accessed July 24, 2007.