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‘Chronic Conditions’ — Notice It’s Plural

MANAGED CARE September 2012. © MediMedia USA
News & Commentary

‘Chronic Conditions’ — Notice It’s Plural

The number of Americans age 45–64 suffering from at least two chronic conditions grew from 16 to 21 percent between 2000 and 2010, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

For people age 65+, the number with at least two chronic conditions increased from 37 to 45 percent.

It gets worse, with the study saying that the increases were seen for “both men and women, all racial and ethnic groups examined, and most income groups.” The study looks at nine chronic conditions: kidney disease, asthma, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema.

The percentage of adults age 65+ with both hypertension and diabetes increased from 9 to 15 percent. Hypertension and heart disease increased from 18 to 21 percent, and the combination of hypertension and cancer increased from 8 to 11 percent.

Three conditions are the primary drivers of this trend. The study states that “the prevalence of hypertension increased from 35 percent to 41 percent, diabetes from 10 percent to 15 percent, and cancer from 9 percent to 11 percent, among those aged 45 and over.” Moreover, the percentage of people ages 45–64 with two or more of nine conditions who did not receive or who delayed needed medical care because of cost increased from 17 percent to 23 percent, and the percentage who did not receive needed prescription drugs because of cost increased from 14 to 22 percent.