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Most Common Ailments in America

Most Common Ailments in America

There were about 860.4 million doctor’s office visits in 2018, or about 2.67 visits per person. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 83.4% of adults and 94% of children had a visit with a doctor or health care professional in 2020. Many of these visits were likely prompted by the most common ailments in America.

To identify the most common ailments 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 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. (Here are new recommended ages for important medical screenings.)

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. (Watch out if you live in one of America’s dirtiest cities in 2020.)

After asthma, the second most common category of ailments is mental disorders. According to a report from the Mental Health Million Project by the nonprofit Sapien Labs, 45% of people in the United States who have a clinical-level mental health problem don’t seek professional help. These findings hint that mental health problems may be more widespread than is widely acknowledged.

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31. Influenza
> Number of episodes in 2019: 7.4 million
> Amount spent per person on the condition: $18
> Amount spent per episode of care: $812
> Relative growth in treated prevalence: #20 fastest out of 300+ common conditions

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30. Non-malignant breast disease
> Number of episodes in 2019: 7.6 million
> Amount spent per person on the condition: $30
> Amount spent per episode of care: $1,310
> Relative growth in treated prevalence: #269 fastest out of 300+ common conditions

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29. Cerebrovascular disease
> Number of episodes in 2019: 7.8 million
> Amount spent per person on the condition: $100
> Amount spent per episode of care: $4,180
> Relative growth in treated prevalence: #166 fastest out of 300+ common conditions

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28. Gallbladder, pancreatic, and liver disease
> Number of episodes in 2019: 8.2 million
> Amount spent per person on the condition: $73
> Amount spent per episode of care: $2,894
> Relative growth in treated prevalence: #88 fastest out of 300+ common conditions

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27. Glaucoma
> Number of episodes in 2019: 9.0 million
> Amount spent per person on the condition: $32
> Amount spent per episode of care: $1,157
> Relative growth in treated prevalence: #61 fastest out of 300+ common conditions

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26. Anemia and other deficiencies
> Number of episodes in 2019: 9.4 million
> Amount spent per person on the condition: $42
> Amount spent per episode of care: $1,469
> Relative growth in treated prevalence: #183 fastest out of 300+ common conditions

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25. Complications of pregnancy and birth
> Number of episodes in 2019: 9.8 million
> Amount spent per person on the condition: $75
> Amount spent per episode of care: $2,510
> Relative growth in treated prevalence: #154 fastest out of 300+ common conditions

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24. Headache
> Number of episodes in 2019: 10.8 million
> Amount spent per person on the condition: $44
> Amount spent per episode of care: $1,324
> Relative growth in treated prevalence: #151 fastest out of 300+ common conditions

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23. Male genital disorders
> Number of episodes in 2019: 11.4 million
> Amount spent per person on the condition: $38
> Amount spent per episode of care: $1,095
> Relative growth in treated prevalence: #155 fastest out of 300+ common conditions

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22. Cataract
> Number of episodes in 2019: 11.6 million
> Amount spent per person on the condition: $50
> Amount spent per episode of care: $1,414
> Relative growth in treated prevalence: #171 fastest out of 300+ common conditions

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21. Urinary tract infections
> Number of episodes in 2019: 13.3 million
> Amount spent per person on the condition: $56
> Amount spent per episode of care: $1,364
> Relative growth in treated prevalence: #213 fastest out of 300+ common conditions

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20. Kidney disease
> Number of episodes in 2019: 14.8 million
> Amount spent per person on the condition: $139
> Amount spent per episode of care: $3,081
> Relative growth in treated prevalence: #26 fastest out of 300+ common conditions

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19. Allergic reactions
> Number of episodes in 2019: 16.5 million
> Amount spent per person on the condition: $41
> Amount spent per episode of care: $811
> Relative growth in treated prevalence: #118 fastest out of 300+ common conditions

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18. Thyroid disease
> Number of episodes in 2019: 17.2 million
> Amount spent per person on the condition: $50
> Amount spent per episode of care: $956
> Relative growth in treated prevalence: #76 fastest out of 300+ common conditions

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17. Disorders of the upper GI
> Number of episodes in 2019: 17.3 million
> Amount spent per person on the condition: $71
> Amount spent per episode of care: $1,339
> Relative growth in treated prevalence: #144 fastest out of 300+ common conditions

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16. Non-malignant neoplasm
> Number of episodes in 2019: 21.4 million
> Amount spent per person on the condition: $87
> Amount spent per episode of care: $1,325
> Relative growth in treated prevalence: #94 fastest out of 300+ common conditions

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15. Infectious diseases
> Number of episodes in 2019: 26.5 million
> Amount spent per person on the condition: $261
> Amount spent per episode of care: $3,214
> Relative growth in treated prevalence: #199 fastest out of 300+ common conditions

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14. Female genital disorders, and contraception
> Number of episodes in 2019: 28.9 million
> Amount spent per person on the condition: $102
> Amount spent per episode of care: $1,158
> Relative growth in treated prevalence: #253 fastest out of 300+ common conditions

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13. Hyperlipidemia
> Number of episodes in 2019: 29.3 million
> Amount spent per person on the condition: $63
> Amount spent per episode of care: $708
> Relative growth in treated prevalence: #139 fastest out of 300+ common conditions

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12. Back problems
> Number of episodes in 2019: 32.7 million
> Amount spent per person on the condition: $201
> Amount spent per episode of care: $2,009
> Relative growth in treated prevalence: #95 fastest out of 300+ common conditions

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11. Cancer
> Number of episodes in 2019: 33.3 million
> Amount spent per person on the condition: $432
> Amount spent per episode of care: $4,247
> Relative growth in treated prevalence: #92 fastest out of 300+ common conditions

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10. Systemic lupus and connective tissues disorders
> Number of episodes in 2019: 35.5 million
> Amount spent per person on the condition: $164
> Amount spent per episode of care: $1,515
> Relative growth in treated prevalence: #101 fastest out of 300+ common conditions

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9. Diabetes mellitus
> Number of episodes in 2019: 37.4 million
> Amount spent per person on the condition: $275
> Amount spent per episode of care: $2,407
> Relative growth in treated prevalence: #31 fastest out of 300+ common conditions

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8. Hypertension
> Number of episodes in 2019: 48.8 million
> Amount spent per person on the condition: $209
> Amount spent per episode of care: $1,404
> Relative growth in treated prevalence: #102 fastest out of 300+ common conditions

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7. Osteoarthritis and other non-traumatic joint disorders
> Number of episodes in 2019: 49.5 million
> Amount spent per person on the condition: $300
> Amount spent per episode of care: $1,981
> Relative growth in treated prevalence: #72 fastest out of 300+ common conditions

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6. Acute bronchitis and URI
> Number of episodes in 2019: 55.3 million
> Amount spent per person on the condition: $126
> Amount spent per episode of care: $747
> Relative growth in treated prevalence: #225 fastest out of 300+ common conditions

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5. Skin disorders
> Number of episodes in 2019: 55.5 million
> Amount spent per person on the condition: $208
> Amount spent per episode of care: $1,225
> Relative growth in treated prevalence: #117 fastest out of 300+ common conditions

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4. Trauma-related disorders
> Number of episodes in 2019: 56.4 million
> Amount spent per person on the condition: $347
> Amount spent per episode of care: $2,014
> Relative growth in treated prevalence: #216 fastest out of 300+ common conditions

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3. Heart conditions
> Number of episodes in 2019: 58.3 million
> Amount spent per person on the condition: $452
> Amount spent per episode of care: $2,536
> Relative growth in treated prevalence: #181 fastest out of 300+ common conditions

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2. Mental disorders
> Number of episodes in 2019: 65.6 million
> Amount spent per person on the condition: $411
> Amount spent per episode of care: $2,051
> Relative growth in treated prevalence: #27 fastest out of 300+ common conditions

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1. COPD, asthma
> Number of episodes in 2019: 71.7 million
> Amount spent per person on the condition: $387
> Amount spent per episode of care: $1,763
> Relative growth in treated prevalence: #162 fastest out of 300+ common conditions

Methodology

To identify the most common ailments 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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