Chronic diseases rising cost is a major drain of US economy since 86 cents of each dollar spent on healthcare goes to treating chronic disease. It is estimated that there is 133 million Americans with chronic disease and about 45% of population have at least one chronic disease. Chronic diseases also put huge burden on US work force making US less competitive in the global market as nearly one out of two working adults aged( 45-64) having more than one chronic condition to treat and suffer lost productivity.
We can not lower overall healthcare cost without controlling and preventing chronic diseases which are mostly preventable. Higher cost goes with the number of chronic diseases. For one chronic condition, spending is almost 2.5 times that of someone without it, similarly someone with 3 chronic diseases has 6 times more to spend and for someone who has 5 or more chronic conditions, there will be 13.5 times more healthcare dollars to spend.
The list of chronic diseases include hypertension, heart disease, stokes, cancer,type 2 diabetes, obesity , asthma and arthritis.
A close link between Health risk behaviors and the development of chronic diseases is well established with factors such as physical inactivity, tobacco abuse, drinking too much alcohol, poor nutrition. For example, failure to screen common health problems such as hypertension( high blood pressure), high cholesterol, high triglycerides and diabetes which will lead to hardening of the arteries( atherosclerosis) in a diffuse way from head to toe leading to very high rate of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Similarly with cancer screening such as mammograms for breast cancer and colonoscopy for colon cancer, PSA test for prostatic cancer according to established guide lines. This effort also could delay the progression of Alzheimer disease which is another important disease on the list as well.
Poor nutrition, high sugar content, high rate of red meat consumption were related to diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Smoking and high alcohol consumption will cause so many diseases such as liver cell failure, up to 20 different types of cancer and heart failure with cardiac arrhythmias most common of which is atrial fibrillation leading to strokes.
So, the effective solution is early screening and detection of all risk factors and start life-style modification by eating healthy, regular exercise with more physical activity 30 minutes a day , stress management, get rid of bad habits such as smoking and excessive alcohol drinking. Regular check for important parameters such as Body Mass Index ( BMI ) to achieve optimal body weight. Ban artificial flavors, ban artificial trans fats to eliminate toxins from food supply, avoid high calorie low nutrition food . Improve access to quality healthcare that is truly affordable!
Improve doctor-patient relationship and this is exactly what we have done in our Health and Wellness Program which saved each patients thousands of dollars on medications, blood work and diagnostic testing. The Wellness Program improved health outcome, prevented costly hospitalizations and procedures as well as ER visits thus alleviating the stress and burden of the high cost and out of pocket expenses as there is no co payment, no pre authorization and no referral necessary. https://www.facebook.com/Heart-Health-and-Wellness-Program.
We also found patient education, active engagement is important in the successful management of the patient chronic diseases beyond the acute illness management. Motivating Americans to proactively prevent, detect and manage their chronic disease by tracking their own health, learn about their chronic disease condition and treatment will help make significant savings of billions of dollars spent on chronic diseases while improving outcome.