The Economic Drain of Chronic Disease – Part 2

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In my last entry I wrote about the significant increase in chronic diseases and its relationship to the number of specialists that people sought out for help. This massive increase in prevalence of chronic diseases coincides with the projected economic drain of chronic disease on the United States Healthcare system.

It is estimated that 7 of the top 10 causes of death in 2010 were from chronic diseases. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reported that 86% of all health care spending in 2010 was for people with one or more chronic medical diseases. During this same period heart disease and stroke accounted for $193.4 billion in direct medical costs, while the National Cancer Institute reported cancer care cost of $157 billion and this doesn’t even consider the costs related to nursing home costs and loss work days. In 2012 the American Diabetes Association reported the cost of diabetes was $245 billion of which another $69 billion was the estimated loss in productivity secondary to decreased work days.

ARTHRITIS is one of the most common causes of disability according to Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report and is also one of the most common diagnoses seen by physical therapists. It was estimated that total costs related to arthritis in 2003 was $81 billion of which approximately $47 billion was tied to costs related to lost earnings.

With more people experiencing chronic diseases that cause disability the subsequent decrease in the workforce directly affects our healthcare system. With less people working and paying taxes the staggering healthcare costs will no longer be sustainable. It is the tax on those in the workforce that is holding up the governmental healthcare system. The workforce is also what sustains affordable insurance for the private sector as well. A smaller workforce will promote rising healthcare costs. As physical therapists we must be ready to address these chronic diseases with preventative interventions incorporated into our practice. We can help reduce the economic drain of chronic disease.

The Impact of Chronic Disease – Part 1
The Cause of Chronic Disease – Part 3

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Jeff Gilliam PT PhD, OCS: is a weight loss specialist, who has studied extensively in the areas of health behavior, exercise physiology and nutritional biochemistry at the University of Florida. Jeff has taught a course at the University of Florida called ’Research Applications to Obesity and Weight Loss’. He has also taught courses for the DPT program at UF in Health Promotion and Wellness’ and ‘Evidence Based Practice III’. He has presented on a national level on topics related to diseases related to obesity and changing behavior to facilitate a healthy lifestyle. His PhD research was in the area of effective behavioral interventions for obesity and its associated diseases. He is founder of Physicians’ Choice for Weight Loss, a successful lifestyle/weight loss program, which can be found in over 50 clinics in the eastern US. He currently is clinical director of ReQuest Physical Therapy (Gainesville, Florida) and incorporates his lifestyle/weight loss program into his patients’ physical therapy to help them achieve their healthiest body weight. Jeff Gilliam is an Orthopedic Certified Specialist through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties

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