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Top ten medical conditions

Why do we go to the doctor? And how do these most common health complaints compare to the list of most expensive medical conditions and the leading causes of death?

by Tony Novak, CPA, MBA, MT, NAHU certified consumer driven health care consultant, originally published 8/28/2011, updated 10/27/2011

When considering the importance of medical insurance, we should consider the most frequently incurred medical conditions that are likely to trigger an insurance claim, the most expensive medical conditions that require managed care over the long run, and - because a substantial potion of our total lifetime medical expenses are incurred in our final year of life- even the leading causes of death. These lists are compiled from various sources including reports by the Mayo Clinic, the U.S. Center of Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Reasons for doctor & medical facility visits

This list of the top ten medical conditions or reasons that individuals seek medical treatment as reported by UnitedHealthcare group, the nation's largest health insurance company.

  1. Breast Cancer Screening
  2. Cervical Cancer Screening
  3. Coronary Artery Disease
  4. Diabetes
  5. Hyperlipidemia
  6. Hypertension
  7. Asthma
  8. Medication Safety Monitoring (ongoing prescription drug use)
  9. Acute Sinusitis (allergies)
  10. Migraine Headache

Leading causes of death

The rankings of top fatal medical conditions are slightly different. In the U.S., according to the Mayo clinic, the top 11 causes of death are:

  1. Heart disease
  2. Cancer
  3. Stroke
  4. Respiratory Diseases (usually from smoking)
  5. Injuries (especially motor vehicle accidents
  6. Diabetes
  7. Alzheimer's Disease
  8. Influenza and Pneumonia
  9. Kidney Disease
  10. Septicemia (blood poisoning, especially for women)
  11. Suicide

Suicide is more common in men, ranking #8 leading cause of death for men but #13 for women. Because of the split ranking, we added it as #11 in this "top ten" list. Unfortunately the suicide rate is rising more rapidly in women, according to a 2008 study. 

Most expensive medical conditions

The United States, as a whole, spends the most on these medical conditions:

  1. Heart disease and related conditions
  2. Trauma
  3. Cancer
  4. Mental disorders, including depression
  5. Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  6. High blood pressure
  7. Type 2 diabetes
  8. Osteoarthritis and other joint diseases
  9. Back problems
  10. Normal childbirth

 

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