Statistics – Chronic Illness

  • Nearly 1 in 2 Americans (133 million) has a chronic condition
    Chronic Care in America: A 21st Century Challenge, a study of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation & Partnership for Solutions: Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (September 2004 Update). “Chronic Conditions: Making the Case for Ongoing Care”.
  • That number is projected to increase by more than one percent per year by 2030, resulting in an estimated chronically ill population of 171 million. Chronic Care in America
  • 96% of them live with an illness that is invisible. These people do no use a cane or any assistive device and may look perfectly healthy. 2002 US Census Bureau
  • Sixty percent of the chronically ill are between the ages of 18 and 64.
    Chronic Care in America
  • 90% of seniors have at least one chronic disease and 77% have two or more chronic diseases
    The Growing Burden of Chronic Disease in American, Public Heal Reports / May–June 2004 / Volume 119, Gerard Anderson, PhD
  • 9 million people are cancer survivors with various side effects from treatment
    American Cancer Society
  • The divorce rate among the chronically ill is over 75 percent
    National Health Interview Survey
  • Depression is 15-20% higher for the chronically ill than for the average person
    Rifkin, A. “Depression in Physically Ill Patients,” Postgraduate Medicine (9-92) 147-154.
  • However, the significance of one’s faith has shown to lower one’s risk of depressive symptoms and aid one in better handling a stressful medical event.
    Pressman P., Lyons J.S., Larson D.B., Strain, J.J. “Religious belief, depression, and ambulation status in elderly women with broken hips.” American Journal of Psychiatry 1990; 147(6): 758-760.
  • Various studies have reported that physical illness or uncontrollable physical pain are major factors in up to 70% of suicides Mackenzie TB, Popkin MK: “Suicide in the medical patient.”. Intl J Psych in Med 17:3-22, 1987
  • and more than 50% of these suicidal patients were under 35 years of age
    Michalon M: La psychiatrie de consultation-liaison: une etude prospective en milieu hospitalier general. Can J Psychiatry (In French) 38:168-174,1993
  • About one in four adults suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year;
    Kessler RC, Chiu WT, Demler O, Walters EE. Prevalence, severity, and comorbidity of twelve-month DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R). Archives of General Psychiatry, 2005 Jun;62(6):617-27.
  • and more than 90 percent of people who kill themselves have a diagnosable mental disorder
    Conwell Y, Brent D. Suicide and aging I: patterns of psychiatric diagnosis. International Psychogeriatrics, 1995; 7(2): 149-64.
  • Four in five health care dollars (78%) are spent on behalf of people with chronic conditions
    The Growing Burden of Chronic Disease in American, Public Health Reports, MayJune 2004 Volume 119 Gerard Anderson, PhD
  • Those who use their religious faith to cope are significantly less depressed, even when taking into account the severity of their physical illness. In fact, the clinical effects of religious coping showed the strongest benefit among those with severe physical disability. Some 87 patients hospitalized with serious illness who also then suffered depression were followed over time in another study. The patients with a deep, internalized faith recovered faster from the depression, even when their physical condition wasn’t improving.
    Kendler, K.S., Gardner, C. O., and Prescott, C.A. “Religion, Psychopathology, and Substance Use and Abuse: A Multimeasure, Genetic-Epidemiologic Study,” American Journal of Psychiatry 1997; 154: 322-329. Koenig, Harold G., Larson, David B., and Weaver, Andrew J. “Research on Religion and Serious Mental Illness,” in Spirituality and Religion in Recovery from Mental Illness, ed., Roger Fallott. New Directions for Mental Health Services 1998; (80).
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  1. says

    The depression statistic was interesting. I was reading recently that someone cured themselves of a chronic condition with laughter therapy. She did it by watching a few hours of comedy a day that really made her laugh. I think anecdotally happy poeple get ill less often and this can be backed up with therapies that work with incantations.

  2. Jerry says

    As A person who has had severe chronic pain for 32 years I find it both amazing and satisfying that the incidence of depression is only 15% to 20% higher in persons with a chronic illness. I believe that it shows the resilience of the human spirit. It is heartbreaking though that 75% end in divorce, it just show me how remarkable my wife, of 25 years, and family are to support me all these years. Thanks for listening.

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