STAT

Opinion: Chronic diseases are taxing our health care system and our economy

Follow the money: we need "targeted" therapies aimed at changing human behaviors to stop the epidemic of chronic diseases.
People receive medical care at the Seattle/King County Clinic in Seattle. Source: JASON REDMOND/AFP/Getty Images

The discussion of the soaring costs of health care in the U.S. often focuses on the high costs of treating diseases, rather than on the potential economic benefits of preventing them. Changes in lifestyle and diet could prevent many of the chronic diseases driving up the nation’s health care costs, improve health, and reduce the need for expensive treatments.

As we write in a , U.S. health care costs for chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease totaled $1.1 trillion in 2016. When lost economic productivity is included, the total economic impact was $3.7 trillion. This

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from STAT

STAT4 min read
Opinion: As The Need For Organ Transplants Grows, The Number Of Transplant Physicians Dwindles
Medical training has been long been characterized as a "grand bargain" in which trainees make personal sacrifices with the expectation of a better life later. But that's a deal many…
STAT2 min read
Alexion Acquiring Achillion To Expand Reach Into Rare, Immune-related Disease
Alexion Pharmaceuticals said that it will acquire Achillion Pharmaceuticals to expand its pipeline of experimental drugs targeting rare diseases of the immune system.
STAT9 min readScience
The ‘Unbelievable Journey’ Of CRISPR, Now On Netflix
"Unnatural Selection," a four-part docuseries debuting today, dissects the stories, science, and ethics behind genome editing.