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What is the Most Costly Health Condition?

Dementia beats heart disease and cancer in U.S. spending.

Dementia affects a growing number of aging adults in the United States. Researchers have recently calculated that the care for this large group cost from $41,000 to $56,000 per year per patient in 2010, making this the most costly health condition. The total expenditure for this type of care was $159-215 billion annually, with predictions that this could increase 80% by 2040.

PositiveTip: Growing evidence strongly suggests a healthy lifestyle lowers the risk of dementia later in life. 

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Smoking Holds Steady in U.S.

1 in 5 still smoke, but they are smoking less.

The percentage of people who smoke in the U.S. remains stable--one out of every five adults. Since 2005 the proportion who smoked 30 or more cigarettes per day decreased by more than 25% (12.6% to 9.1%). Approximately 443,000 U.S. adults die from smoking-related illnesses annually, and smoking costs the U.S. $193 billion each year in direct costs and lost productivity.

PositiveTip: There is no safe level of tobacco smoke. It causes death when used as indicated!

To Drink or Not to Drink? - 3

In the last couple of posts we have been exploring the issue of moderate drinking. Is it really all it is cracked up to be? Alcohol certainly takes a huge toll on society. The case for moderate drinking has a large number of studies to support its benefits, too. Are there alternative explanations? Certainly!

Last month I had the opportunity to attend the Global Health and Lifestyle Conference in Geneva, Switzerland. One of the speakers I heard was David Williams, PhD, MPH who is a Harvard University professor. He postulated several very interesting alternative explanations for alcohol's purported benefits.

To Drink or Not to Drink? - 2

Last week we looked at a summary of the impact of alcohol on society, families and individual health. The data is sobering, indeed. Why then do we hear so much about the health benefits of moderate alcohol use?

In the scientific literature there is overwhelming evidence from prospective, observational studies that individuals who drink 1-2 drinks per day have a lower rate of cardiovascular mortality than heavy drinkers and non-drinkers. More than 100 prospective studies have shown a J-shaped curve between alcohol and coronary heart disease (CHD). The lowest rates of CHD are found among those who consume two drinks of alcohol per day. Moderate alcohol consumption has also been associated with lowered risk of diabetes, dementia, and osteoporosis.