We hear a lot about it, but many people wonder how bad is the chronic disease crisis really? Should we be concerned? What role do we play in this crisis and how can we prevent it from affecting us? Let’s look at some statistics and facts.
In a Transamerica Center for Health (TCHS) September 2015 survey of 4611 US adults (age 18-64) conducted by Harris Poll, it was determined that “two in three Americans report a chronic health condition (diagnosed by a doctor) most common being overweight, having blood pressure or having high cholesterol.”
According to the HHS, “Chronic conditions are conditions that last a year or more and require ongoing medical attention and/or limit activities of daily living” and their stats show that “approximately one in four Americans have multiple chronic conditions.”
Chronic diseases are the leading cause of death and disability in the U.S. with chronic diseases being responsible for 70% of deaths, as stated by the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease. These conditions also lead to more health risks, a lower quality of life, and higher financial costs.
According to the AARP, “more than 70 million Americans ages 50 and older – four out of five older adults – suffer from at least one chronic condition.” Baby boomers are living longer, but many of them have one or more chronic conditions, which means they are suffering more years with a lower quality of life.
Not only are people suffering from one chronic disease, but multiple chronic diseases are prevalent. This causes a myriad of enhanced issues, such as an increased risk of dying, a further reduced quality of life, increased hospitalizations and a greater reliance on caregivers, plus conflicting advice from numerous healthcare providers.
According to the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, people with chronic diseases “account for 81% of hospital admissions; 91% of all prescriptions filled; and 76% of all physician visits.” We are all paying for these chronic diseases through the increase in health insurance and Medicare costs, which have continually come as a result of a greater demand for healthcare services due to chronic diseases. Patients now face substantial out of pocket expenses that aren’t covered or aren’t fully covered.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “eliminating three risk factors – poor diet, inactivity and smoking – would prevent 80% of heart disease and stroke; 80% of type 2 diabetes; and 40% of cancer.” AARP states that “researchers estimate that obese people have 67 percent more chronic conditions than normal-weight individuals, while smoking increases chronic illness by 25 percent.”
So much of it comes down to the way we eat, work and play. Lifestyle factors, such as smoking, inactivity, eating habits and obesity are the major contributors of chronic diseases.
Another reason for chronic diseases has to do with the longer life expectancy we enjoy today. Chronic diseases are more prevalent as we get older and since we are living longer, most people are living those extra years with one or more chronic diseases. Advances in treatment also play a role because more people are now being diagnosed, whereas in the past, conditions would have gone unrecorded.
Many people these days are aware that taking steps to create a healthy lifestyle has a strong impact on the prevention of chronic diseases. According to the TCHS survey mentioned above, “one in four Americans (28%) say prevention is their top health priority, while another one in four (26%) cite self care as their health priority.”
What can you do to prevent chronic diseases? At CarpeVITA, we base it on our CV4P™ process, which involves Prediction, Prevention, Personalization and Participation. We start with prediction so that we can better target what we need to prevent. Then, we map out prevention strategies that are personalized to our individual needs, and then we are sure to participate in our health and wellness plan to ensure we get the results we desire. Learn more about this CV4P™ process here!