July 31, 2012 at 1:09 PM ET
More than one in five middle-aged U.S. adults, and nearly half of adults over age 65, have more than one chronic health condition, such as hypertension and diabetes, according to a new government report.
The report said that in 2010, 21.3 percent of women and 20.1 percent of men between ages 45 and 64 had at least two chronic health conditions. In 2000, the rate among men was 15.2 percent, and among women it was 16.9 percent.
Increases were also seen in adults older than 65, with 49 percent of men and 42.5 percent of women reporting in 2010 that they had at least two chronic health conditions. In 2000, the rates were 39.2 percent of men and 35.8 percent of women.
Treatment for people with multiple chronic conditions is complex, the researchers said. By looking at trends in the rates of people with more than one condition, researchers are better able to make decisions about managing and preventing these diseases, and they can make better predictions about future health-care needs, they said.
The increases were due mainly to rises in three conditions: hypertension, diabetes and cancer, according to the report. These increases may be due to more new cases, or due to people living longer with the conditions because of advances in medical treatments.
The report also said that middle-aged adults with at least two chronic conditions had increasing difficulty, between 2000 and 2010, in getting the care and prescription drugs they needed because of cost. In 2010, 23 percent reported not receiving or delaying the medical care they needed, and 22 percent said they didn't get the prescriptions they needed. In 2000, these rates were 17 percent and 14 percent, respectively.
The CDC does not consider obesity itself to be a health condition; rather, it is a risk factor for other conditions, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. The obesity rate in the U.S. increased in the United States over the past 30 years, but has leveled off in recent years, the report said.
The report is based on data gathered during the National Health Interview Survey, in which participants complete a detailed questionnaire about their health status and health-related behaviors. Participants reported whether a physician has diagnosed them with any of nine chronic health conditions: hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, current asthma and kidney disease.
Copyright 2013 Thomson Reuters.