10 Most Expensive Common Medical Conditions to Treat

1. Heart Disease

Heart disease ranks as the nation’s top costly medical condition with a cost of just over $100 billion per year. More than 1 in 3 adults currently lives with one or more types of cardiovascular disease. Hospitalization, surgery, diagnostic tests, monitoring, specialist doctor visits and medicines all contribute to the cost. As the elderly population grows, so will more costs. To reduce your risk of heart disease, you may need to adjust your lifestyle by maintaining a normal weight, eating a healthy diet, not smoking, and getting regular exercise. Preventing and controlling high blood pressure and high cholesterol also play a significant role in heart health.

2. Injuries & Trauma

Each year, trauma accounts for 37 million emergency department visits and 2.6 million hospital admissions so it's no surprise this comes in as our second largest annual cost at $92 billion. Injuries from motor vehicle crashes, falls, assault, burns, and other accidents occur every day across the country. Men have a higher incidence than women and the elderly consume a larger share of medical resources. More than two‐thirds of all costs are attributable to traffic accidents and falls. Keep safe by wearing a seat belt, staying off your mobile phone and making sure your driver is sober.

3. Cancer

Cancer costs $87 billion and based on the growth and aging U.S. population are predicted to increase. The U.S. has the seventh highest cancer rate in the world, about 300 of every 100,000 Americans will develop cancer each year. New tools for cancer diagnosis, treatment and follow up continue to be more expensive. Highest costs are associated with breast, colorectal, lung, prostate cancers and lymphoma. It’s not all bad news though - the cancer death rate has significantly decreased over the last decade. Factors driving this drop include less tobacco use, sun protection, eating well, regular exercise, earlier detection and better treatments.

4. Mental Illness

Annual U.S. medical cost for mental health care is roughly $83 billion. Around one in four adults, or approximately 61.5 million Americans, experiences mental illness in a given year. One in 17, or about 13.6 million, live with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder. Medicines are expensive and doctors’ visits frequent. Noncompliance can be high in this group of patients, too, adding to the total healthcare dollar.

5. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Asthma

Long term breathing problems including asthma, bronchitis and emphysema make up this group with costs of care totaling almost $76 billion per year. Just over 6% of American adults are living with some form of COPD. Smoking tobacco is the main cause but air pollutants and genetics can also cause COPD. There is no cure for this group and costs incurred are from medications, frequent doctor visits, and in severe cases, hospitalization. For current smokers, smoking cessation is essential for preventing and managing COPD. To control asthma attacks, avoid your triggers, like tobacco smoke, dust mites, and pollution. Take medications as instructed and exercise regularly.

6. Osteoarthritis & Joint Problems

It is estimated that 1 in 2 people will get some form of osteoarthritis (OA) in their lifetime.Estimated annual cost of $74 billion. OA is caused from the gradual wear and tear of the cartilage between the bone causing pain, stiffness and inflammation. This chronic condition is more common as we age and the main reason why patients require a knee or hip replacement. Medications, physical therapy, and hospitalization for surgery all contribute to the cost. Maintaining a healthy body weight and non-weight bearing exercise like swimming or cycling may help to keep the joints mobile without pain.

7. Type 1 & Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes affects just over 8% of Americans with medical expenses totaling around $60 billion per year. In all forms of diabetes there is too much sugar in the blood which can lead to serious health complications including heart and kidney disease, eye problems and nerve damage. Hospital care, anti-diabetic medications and supplies, prescription medicines to treat complications and regular doctor visits all contribute to the burden of cost. Healthy lifestyle choices such as eating a well-balanced diet, exercising regularly and managing your weight may lower your chance of getting diabetes.

8. High Blood Pressure

With 1 in every 3 American adults diagnosed with high blood pressure it’s no wonder the cost for treating patients with this condition totals around $47 billion yearly. Blood pressure is the force of blood against your artery walls as it circulates through your body. It can greatly increase your risk of certain health problems like heart disease and stroke if it remains high for long periods of time. High blood pressure often goes undetected because it usually has no warning signs or symptoms so it is important to get your blood pressure checked regularly.

9. Back Pain & Back Problems

Healthcare costs for this group comes in at around $41 billion annually. This is probably because almost everyone experiences some form of back pain during their lifetime. Back pain usually originates in the spine and the muscles that support it. You could get back pain or a back injury through being out of shape and under stress, or if you have poor posture or strain your back in exercise or activity. To prevent back problems it’s important to keep your back strong and flexible. Exercise regularly, watch posture, lose weight if needed and use caution when lifting heavy items.

10. Childbirth

Childbirth with an estimated cost of around $39 billion per year. Normal vaginal deliveries account for about 7 in 10 deliveries and cesarean sections account for 3 in 10. Cesarean sections are more expensive because they are a major operation that involves anesthesia and longer hospital stays. Frequent doctor visits to monitor mother and baby, hospitalizations and medicines all contribute to the burden of cost.

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Source: drugs.com

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