Thursday, April 8, 2010

Report On The State of U.S. Health


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issue an annual report on the state of health in the United States. The 33rd edition just came out and has some surprising findings, especially about the use of procedures, tests and medical technology. The life expectancy in the United States is now 77.9 years. Are you over that age? Congratulations, you beat the odds.

Mortality from heart disease, stroke and cancer continue to decline but the leading cause of death for people age 65 and older is still heart disease. The leading cause of death for people age 1-44 is unintentional injuries. I think that includes war, which always takes the young men.

Here are some findings that show how hard it will be to rein in health care costs:
  • The use of MRI, CT and PET imaging soared, especially in physician offices and outpatient departments.
  • Knee replacement surgery for people age 45 and older rose 70% in the last decade. Partial hip replacements increased by 60%
  • Drug-eluting stents were used in 75% of angioplasties. Everyone who has angioplasty seems to get a stent nowdays.
  • Assisted reproduction doubled during the past decade, especially on women over age 40.
  • The use of diabetes drugs for people age 45 and older increased by 50% and statins soared 10-fold.
(Watch Jaimie Oliver's Food Revolution on ABC. This guy is trying to save America.)
  • Out -patient upper endoscopies rose by 90% and colonoscopies tripled.
Mental illness was the 2nd leading chronic condition in adults age 18-44. Since serious mental illness like schizophrenia is not on the rise, could it be that our lifestyles and stress of modern living are affecting our emotions?

If you think about it, lifestyle changes can really impact our lives and our health. Eating healthy, exercising, relaxing, meditating, doing yoga or other fun activities have been proven over and over to be the antidote to modern illness. Stop the wars and put that money into education, school lunches and fun physical education. I know it is utopia but I'd like to see this report in the future if we could accomplish that.

12 comments:

Michael Kirsch, M.D. said...

You highlight a great challenge in your fine post, which takes aim at my own specialty. How can we influence physicians to do less and earn less? How can we persuade patients that less medical care is better medicine?

Michael Kirsch, M.D. said...

Nice post! I think we could easily afford to reform our health care system from the money we all waste on unnecessary care. Of course, what one person defines as 'unnecessary' is another physician's income.

Steph H said...

No surprises really in this report. I think the key is to educate and bring it to the people who have to realize the impact that it really does have on them so they demand changes. Utopia indeed.

steph h
www.livefitandsore.com

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