Chronic Conditions Rise, as Do Gaps in Treatment Plans
Wednesday, August 08, 2012
Posted by: Richard Scott
With the increasing complexity of the healthcare system, there are many reasons for the emergence and growth of patient advocates. There’s also this fact: there is a steadily growing number of Americans over the age of 45 with multiple chronic conditions, making care even more complex.
What’s more, nearly a quarter of these Americans with multiple chronic conditions either did not receive necessary medical care or were forced to delay care due to cost, according to the report from the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics.
Overall, the report found that in the past decade alone the percentage of Americans between the ages of 45 and 64 who have two or more chronic conditions grew to 21 percent from the previous high of 16 percent. For adults over 65 the increase was more dramatic: nearly half, or 45 percent, have multiple chronic conditions, up from 37 percent 10 years ago.
For the study, researchers looked at nine chronic conditions to tally their results. Those conditions are:
- Heart disease.
- Chronic bronchitis.
- Current asthma.
- Kidney disease.
The steady rise in the prevalence of dual chronic conditions "presents a complex challenge to the U.S. healthcare system, both in terms of quality of life and expenditures for an aging population,” according to the report.
Gaps in Care Persist
Despite the rise in chronic conditions, the number of Americans who are going without vital treatment continues to rise, particularly for those taking – or directed to take – prescription drugs.
According to the research, the percentage of people who did not take the recommended prescription drugs grew to 22 percent, up from 14 percent a decade earlier.
The research also noted an increase among individual conditions. In the over-45 population, the prevalence of hypertension rose to 41 percent from 35 percent; diabetes grew to 15 percent from 10 percent; and cancer increased to 11 percent from 9 percent.
For more information, visit the National Center for Health Statistics.