Americans start to get sick with common ailments when they are young. Some get measles, and others get chickenpox. Most get the common cold, and flu. However, almost all recover from these.
Adults, similarly get colds and the flu. As is true with children, usually these go away. However, some ailments stay with people their entire lives.
To identify the most common ailment in America, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the weighted number of episodes in 51 broad condition categories, including 323 conditions treated in the U.S. in 2019, using data from the Health Care Satellite Account — a set of statistics measuring U.S. health care spending produced by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. To concentrate on specific conditions and diseases, we excluded miscellaneous categories. All other data is from the BEA.
The list we considered includes a host of chronic diseases, mental health problems, various hereditary conditions, infectious diseases, and more. According to the CDC, 6 in 10 adults in the U.S. have a chronic disease, and 4 in 10 have two or more chronic diseases.
People can significantly reduce the risk of some chronic diseases, such as coronary heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain cancers, and with proper care, many chronic conditions are controllable. Preventive care and regular screening are some of the easiest ways to detect problems at early stages, when the chances of successful treatment are highest.
In addition to regularly visiting a doctor and adhering to recommended screenings and tests, a healthy diet and lifestyle – including being physically active, not smoking, and limiting alcohol intake – can help lower the risk of a wide range of diseases. But many of the most common ailments, including trauma-related ailments (like broken bones), allergic reactions, glaucoma, and auto-immune diseases may not be preventable.
Asthma, the No. 1 ailment in the U.S., is not preventable – although a major contributing factor in the development of the condition is air pollution, which is structurally preventable. People who live in urban areas, where the air quality is likely worse, are more likely to have asthma.
To identify the most common ailment in America, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the weighted number of episodes in 51 broad condition categories including 323 conditions treated in the US in 2019 from the Health Care Satellite Account — a set of statistics measuring U.S. health care spending produced by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. We used the BEA’s “Blended Account” database, which blends together data from multiple sources, including large claims databases that cover millions of enrollees and billions of claims.
To concentrate on specific conditions and diseases, we excluded miscellaneous categories such as “Other care and screening” – which was recorded as occurring more frequently than any other condition with an estimated 287,943,223 treatment episodes in 2019. The amounts spent per person, per episode of care, and the relative growth in treated prevalence were also obtained from the BEA.
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