Investigates Issues Surrounding the Cost of Chronic Diseases in Their Latest Publication

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Chronic diseases spare no one and cuts across all income and ethnic groups. The latest article published by concludes that American society is literally sick and much of the wealth generated by the nation in decades to come is bound to be spent on mitigating this impending social disaster.

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There is widespread fear that if the current trends persist, the cost of chronic diseases can cripple the economy and bring it crashing down.

The latest article “The Crippling Cost of Chronic Diseases” published by takes an in-depth look at the economic toll of chronic diseases and the disparities in their prevalence among various ethnic groups. Some of the most significant findings revealed include:

  • 7 out of 10 deaths among Americans each year are from chronic diseases. Heart disease, cancer and stroke account for more than 50% of all deaths each year.
  • In 2005, 133 million Americans – almost 1 out of every 2 adults – had at least one chronic illness.
  • Four modifiable health risk behaviors—lack of physical activity, poor nutrition, tobacco use, and excessive alcohol consumption—are responsible for much of the illness, suffering, and early death related to chronic diseases.
  • Health disparities in chronic disease incidence and mortality are widespread among members of racial and ethnic minority populations. For example, cancer death rates are higher among Asians than whites, and diabetes rates are substantially higher among American Indians and Alaska Natives than whites.

The article goes on to investigate in greater detail each of the six chronic diseases identified by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention as having the most impact on the US population.

The top two causes of death are diseases of the heart and malignant neoplasms (cancer) in all ethnic groups. The annual cost of treating heart diseases is expected to triple from $278 billion in 2010 to $800 billion in 2030 – a 287% increase in just 20 years. The cost of treating cancer, on the other hand, rose from about $95.5 billion in 2000 to $124.6 billion in 2010. New drugs and treatments are getting more and more expensive, and medical bills for cancer treatment is a leading cause of bankruptcies.

The article also cites findings for other significant chronic diseases – chronic respiratory illnesses, cerebrovascular diseases, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.

There is widespread fear that if the current trends persist, the cost of chronic diseases can cripple the economy and bring it crashing down. While the cost of treatment is high, the toll because of lost productivity is estimated to be many times higher. One estimate from the Milken Institute, for example, projects lost productivity from chronic illnesses to be $3.3 trillion by 2023.

The full articles is available in “The Crippling Cost of Chronic Diseases” at

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Bartosz Matusiak
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