Chronic health conditions can lead to significant health
problems if left unchecked, and their incidence is rising:
By 2020, 157 million Americans (or nearly half the population)
are expected to suffer from one or more chronic conditions.
The elderly are particularly prone to having multiple chronic
Utilizing a national sample of over 1 million people age
65 or older and enrolled in Medicare in 1999, data were obtained
on chronic conditions including hypertension and diabetes.
Data showed that 82% of the Medicare beneficiaries had at
least one chronic condition, increasing in prevalence with
age to nearly 90% in those 85 and older. On average, there
were more than two chronic conditions per person. Over half
of the subjects had a circulatory system-based chronic condition.
Also, two-thirds of all individuals 65 or older had two or
more chronic conditions; 43% had three or more; and 24% had
four or more.
This study in the Archives of Internal Medicine additionally
found that individuals with four or more chronic conditions
100 times more likely to have been hospitalized for a condition
that could have been averted through proper primary care.
Per-person Medicare expenditure increases coincided with the
number of chronic conditions, from about $200 for seniors
with no chronic conditions to nearly $14,000 for beneficiaries
with four or more.
What does all this information mean to you? Heed these numbers
to avoid major health problems and big bills as you age, by
simply maintaining wellness, through exercise, a good diet
and doing nothing to excess.
Wolff JL, Starfield B, Anderson G. Prevalence, expenditures,
and complications of multiple chronic conditions in the elderly.
Archives of Internal Medicine 2002:162(20), pp. 2269-2276.
For more information on senior health issues, go to http://www.chiroweb.com/tyh/senior.html