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Posted: June 10, 2008

90% of All Elderly Have at Least One Chronic Medical Condition: Report

Ninety percent of all Americans over age 65 have at least one chronic medical condition and three quarters of all of our elderly have at least two chronic health conditions that affect their health on a continuing basis, according to government figures.

In comparison, the general population is not that far behind the seniors. About 6 of every 10 people in the United States age 18 and older have at least one chronic medical condition, according to the latest statistics from the Agency for Healthcare Research ands Quality (AHRQ).

A chronic condition is one that can be expected to last at least one year and result in limitations or the need for ongoing medical care.

For example, in 2005 about 22 million Americans received medical care for osteoarthritis and related conditions, 49 million for asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 17 million for diabetes, 45 million for high blood pressure, and 19 million for heart disease, according to AHRQ.

When AHRQ analyzed chronic conditions as a whole in 2005, it found that: AHRQ is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It was established to find ways to enhance the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care in the United States.

The data in this AHRQ report are taken from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, a detailed source of information on the health services used by Americans, the frequency with which they are used, the cost of those services, and how they are paid. For more information, go to Health Care Expenses for Adults with Chronic Conditions, 2005.

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