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More Americans Have at Least 2 Chronic Health Issues: CDC

Number of people with multiple diseases -- including diabetes, high blood pressure -- rose over decade

TUESDAY, July 31 (HealthDay News) -- The number of Americans aged 45 and older with two or more chronic conditions has grown over the past decade, new research estimates, with seniors especially vulnerable to a rising risk of both diabetes and high blood pressure.

Between 1999-2000 and 2009-2010, the percentage of Americans in the 45- to 64-year age group with two or more of the conditions grew from 16 percent to 21 percent, according to survey results. For adults 65 and older, the percentage increased from 37 percent to 45 percent. The survey was compiled by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Released Tuesday, the report from Virginia Freid and colleagues looked at nine chronic conditions: hypertension (high blood pressure), heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, current asthma and kidney disease.

The percentage of Americans aged 65 and older who had both diabetes and high blood pressure grew from 9 percent to 15 percent, the investigators found.

The report also revealed that 23 percent of adults aged 45 to 64 with at least two chronic conditions -- out of the list of nine -- either didn't receive necessary medical care or delayed it because of cost. That's up from 17 percent a decade earlier.

The percentage of people in that group who didn't get necessary prescription drugs due to cost grew from 14 percent to 22 percent over the decade.

Among individual conditions in people aged 45 or older, the prevalence of high blood pressure grew from 35 percent to 41 percent, diabetes from 10 percent to 15 percent, and cancer from 9 percent to 11 percent.

The rise in the number of people with more than one chronic condition "presents a complex challenge to the U.S. health care system, both in terms of quality of life and expenditures for an aging population," the report stated.

The findings are published in the July edition of the NCHS Data Brief.

More information

For more about coping with chronic illness, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCE: July 31, 2012, U.S. National Center for Health Statistics NCHS Data Brief, "Multiple Chronic Conditions Among Adults Aged 45 and Over: Trends Over the Past 10 Years"

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