Heart disease affected 17 million Americans and cost $58 billion to treat in 1997, carrying a higher price tag than any other medical condition, according to new data from the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
However, more people--an estimated 41 million--suffered from pulmonary disease, including asthma. Lung disorders cost the healthcare system $29 billion that year, making it the fifth-costliest condition.
The report is a new analysis of the agency's 1997 Medical Panel Expenditure survey. AHRQ announced the finding this week and is publishing the results in the March/April issue of Health Affairs.
About 9 million people suffered from cancer in 1997, but treatment cost $46 billion, more than any other condition except cardiac disease.
Acute trauma cost $44 billion, or about $1,000 for each of the 44 million affected patients, AHRQ says. At No. 4 in terms of cost was mental illness, which required nearly $30 million in treatment for 20 million sufferers.
The remainder of the 15 costliest conditions on the AHRQ list are:
- Diabetes, $20 billion, 10 million patients
- Hypertension, $18 billion, 27 million patients
- Cerebrovascular disease, $16 billion, 2 million patients
- Osteoarthritis, $16 billion, 16 million patients
- Pneumonia, $16 billion, 4 million patients
- Back problems, $13 billion, 13 million patients
- Kidney disease, $10 billion, 2 million patients
- Endocrine disorders, $10 billion, 18 million patients
- Skin disorders, $9 billion, 20 million patients
- Infectious diseases, $6 billion, 16 million patients