Chronic Illness and the Economy

Chronic illnesses, from the common cold to cancer, affect people all over the world.  According to a new study, there are seven serious chronic illnesses that are not only affecting the health of Americans, but the American economy as well.

Common Chronic Illnesses That Affect Americans

According to a new report that the Milken Institute has released, “An Unhealthy America: The Economic Burden of Chronic Disease” the seven most common diseases that afflict Americans are as follows:





Heart disease

Pulmonary conditions Mental illness

Obesity is also a major chronic illness that affects Americans, and is probably one of the illnesses that people have the most control in preventing.

According to this study, eighty percent of the senior citizen population is afflicted with one or more of the above mentioned diseases.  Their lives may be cut short or render them disabled due to these diseases.

Costs of Chronic Diseases

According to the Milken Institute report, chronic illnesses are costing the nation about $1.3 trillion dollars a year.  Of that figure, only $0.2 trillion represents health care costs: the remaining $1.1 trillion is due to low or lost productivity in the workplace.  If the nation’s health status continues at the same rate, the figure will balloon to $6 trillion by mid-century.   The report indicates that obesity is one of the diseases that affects the economy the most.  If obesity rates were to go down (presumably due to better diet and exercise practices) treatment rates would go down $60 billion and the nation would experience $254 billion increased productivity.

What can be done about chronic illnesses?

There are a few things that a person can do to help prevent chronic illnesses from affecting their lives, but it is important to note that while these measures help, they are not ensured preventions or cures.  Some chronic illnesses are genetic, and the causes of some are unknown.  Many of the following are simply practical suggestions for better health and early prevention: both of which do their part to save lives.

Take Better Care of Yourself

Practicing a healthy lifestyle is a big step in preventing or reducing the risk of chronic diseases. Genetics plays a considerate part when it comes to chronic illnesses, but proper nutrition and physical activity are important factors as well.

A Good Health Insurance Plan

For certain diseases, especially cancer, early detection is key for survival and better health despite disease.  People with health insurance policies that over preventative care such as yearly check-ups, mammograms, prostate exams, and other important procedures.

Yes, chronic illnesses are affecting the American economy, and that is something that deserves to be noted.  But even more importantly, chronic illnesses are effecting the quality of life and health of Americans.  Overall health is important both for the individual person and the nation.

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