More Americans are Sick with Multiple Chronic Illnesses

Thursday, January 22, 2009 by: Jo Hartley
Tags: chronic disease, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) A recent study released reveals that more Americans are suffering chronic illnesses today than ever before. In fact, it is common for American people to be burdened by more than three chronic illnesses simultaneously.

This situation has contributed to a significant increase in out-of-pocket medical expenditures for many Americans because prescription drugs are often not completely covered by health insurance policies. The average annual out-of-pocket expense increased from $427 per American in 1996 to $741 in 2005. After adjusting for inflation, this is a 39% increase in this type of spending per person over that period of time.

Unfortunately, these expenditures are significantly higher for the elderly. An elderly person insured through Medicare with three or more chronic illnesses pays an average of $2,588 in out-of-pocket medical expenses.

According to government survey data, 44 percent of Americans had at least one chronic medical condition in 2005. This includes high cholesterol, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, heart disease, and other conditions. In 1996 the percentage was 41.

The study did not examine causes for the increase, but there are several obvious factors that are contributing to the overall decline in the health of Americans.

The sedentary lifestyle and processed-food diets of many Americans and the resulting increase in obesity are becoming more and more prevalent. Obesity is directly related to many chronic illnesses, including diabetes. New diabetes cases have increased among Americans by approximately 90 % over the last ten years.

The most troubling increase, however, was the increase in the number of Americans with three or more chronic diseases. This figure rose from 13 percent in 1996 to 22 percent in 2005 for Americans between the ages of 45 and 64. For Americans ages 65 to 79 the increase rose to 45 percent and for Americans over 80 the figure rose from 38 percent to 54 percent. For all ages combined the figure was 7 percent in 1996 and rose to 13 percent in 2005.

The management of these chronic illnesses in America consumes 75 percent of over $2 trillion spent annually on health care in the United States.

Of note is that the increase in the incidence of chronic illness is not just among the oldest age groups. The middle age and early old age groups have also increased and these figures are not dependent on race, sex, ethnicity, or income levels.

These report results are based on nationally representative surveys of approximately 32,000 Americans in 2005 and approximately 22,000 Americans in 1996.

President-elect Obama has plans to try to solve the rising costs of the flawed US health care system. His efforts will certainly be complicated by the unfortunate declining state of health of many Americans.


About the author

Jo Hartley
Wife, Mother of 8, and Grandmother of 2
Jo is a 41 year old home educator who has always gravitated toward a natural approach to life. She enjoys learning as much as possible about just about anything! - Current Events - Simply Abundant Living

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