The Impact of Chronic Diseases on Healthcare

Most of the medical community has been focused on COVID-19 related issues for nearly the past two years. As a result, individuals may be taking their health more seriously since the term “underlying conditions” has been at the forefront of COVID coverage.

Individuals may or may not be aware that they even have an underlying condition. The pandemic has shown that those with certain illnesses are at an increased risk of a severe COVID-19 infection. These medical conditions are considered chronic diseases.

What Are Chronic Diseases?

A disease is considered chronic when it persists for more than a year and is usually incurable, such as heart disease, asthma, and diabetes. While incurable, they are often avoidable through proper nutrition and exercise, or manageable through early detection and treatment.

One’s lifestyle has a major influence on chronic diseases. Key risks include tobacco use, poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, and excessive alcohol use. Additionally, the risk of developing a chronic disease increases as we age.

Most Common Chronic Diseases

Per the CDC and data from the 2018 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), more than half (51.8 percent) of adults had at least one and 27.2 percent had multiple of the following diagnosed chronic conditions:

  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
  • Coronary Heart Disease
  • Current Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Hepatitis
  • Hypertension
  • Stroke
  • Weak or Failing Kidneys

Chronic diseases are the leading cause of death and disability in the United States.

Economic Impact

The prevalence and cost of chronic disease in the United States have grown and continues to do so each year. According to the American Action Forum, the total cost of chronic disease in the United States reaches $3.7 trillion each year, approximately 19.6 percent of the country’s GDP. An estimated 84 percent of healthcare costs can be attributed to chronic disease treatment.

Patients with chronic diseases not only have to manage their symptoms but also deal with the financial burden of living with the disease. According to the American Diabetes Association, people diagnosed with diabetes incur average medical expenditures of $16,752 per year with nearly $10,000 attributed to diabetes. On average, people diagnosed with diabetes have medical expenditures approximately 2.3 times higher than those without.

Not only is managing diabetes costly for patients, but also for health systems. As of 2018, diagnosed diabetes accounted for $327 billion of healthcare-related costs in the United States, and $1 in $7 healthcare dollars was spent on treating diabetes and its complications, according to Cecilia Health.

Managing Chronic Diseases

Proper testing and diagnosis of individuals who have or are at risk of developing chronic diseases can help prevent or lessen their severity. Clinical tests have been developed to screen for specific ailments and other risk factors (high cholesterol, etc.).

Oftentimes, these tests may not be easily accessible. The My One Medical Source® (MOMS) platform is designed to increase access to testing, empowering patients to take control of their health. We make it easier to access the healthiest version of yourself.

To learn more about MOMS, contact us today.